Monday, April 28, 2008

My fake seaman's scarf ...

Yup, thats right, a fake seaman's scarf, or my fake seaman's scarf. Which is what happens when you head off on a car trip with only a poorly researched/remembered idea of something to knit. Today I'll explain what I knit, and why it is a fake, and what a real one is like, I've scored a really good pair of books for work, and yes - my trip to Christchurch yielded some more fiber for my spinning stash, and possibly an opportunity of a 2 day spinning workshop. Plus its the last days to guess the use of my mystery knitting tool, all guesses before end of April go in a draw to win a skein of Vintage purls sock yarn (or her equally yummy lace yarn if that tickles your fancy), and if any one does guess correctly, well they automatically win a skein.

So, seamen's scarves, as detailed in Myrna Stahmans wonderful book, Shawls and scarves, are the same width from end to end, but appear narrower in the middle because of a 4x4 (or 3x3) center rib section. These scarves are traditionally knit for seagoing folk, and that makes sense. They fit closely to the neck and chest, and appear made to tuck in under a coat and so not fly around and catch in ships equipment. My scarf, has 1/3rd fewer stitches in the middle and a 2x2 ribbing section - so it looks like a seaman's scarf, but is not actually one as is traditionally knit in the 20th Century.

Last Thursday I headed off to Waimate and then on to Christchurch, and then back to home, making it all up a 10hour or more car trip. As a passenger that means lots of knitting time, a vistor in anothers house for 2 days adds even more knitting time. Salto needs more attention and chart ticking off than is easy in a car or another house, and I had just finished spinning this yarn, so was keen to make Bear a scarf. I had once picked up and looked at a book on Seamen's scarves and that seemed a good idea for this yarn. The two stitch patterns I had swatched before I left, Milano stitch and My-So-Called-Scarf didn't work out. Yes they are pretty, but they are pretty on the front not the back. In my muddled state I assumed all scarves needed reversible stitches, or at least my scarves needed reversible stitch patterns. See I was really muddled as both were published as scarf patterns, duh!

I knew it would be 4 days before I had computer access so - just before heading out the door I googled reversible stitch patterns for scarves and found and printed this. A variation on a garter rib. I reversed the workings and knit it as predominantly knit not purl and it looks good, completely reversible. Something I did not appreciate until KathyR loaned me her Stahman book on Friday (half way into the scarf), is that seamen's scarves do not need to be reversible.

Here is the scarf blocked, and smooth and fluffy and soft, I'm happy, given its still a fake. Fake seaman's but not a fake scarf, maybe mock is a better term? Yes, thats it, my mock seaman's scarf.

My happy find while I was away was in Ashburton at a second hand bookshop, a very tidy one, where I found these two treasures. Any one with a knowledge of garment pattern-making will recognise these two as classics. Natalie Bray knows(knew?) her stuff, and these have more interesting variations on hoods and sleeves and other things like collars and pockets than most contemporary books do. I've had these two on my wish list for quite while now, but balked at some of the on line dealers prices. I have always made do with work copies, but now I have my own.

And yes, I have some more sock yarn, Maya, in my stash. Isn't that just the prettiest icy cold blue you ever saw? Poppy, younger bear, was sitting next to me last week, as I knit Salto and wore my Pomatomus socks, and she sighed and said wistfully "How come you get all the pretty socks mum?", its true, Bear and Toby and my Dad get plain socks, ribbed socks, and so does she, whilst I get lace numbers - So this blue is destined for something lacy for my wee bear's back paws, because she noticed lacy socks and wants some. And that to a knitter is often reason enough.

and some dyed in the lock Lincoln, 2 bags full, 400g, in those impossible to resist purple, blue, blood red, olive green mixed together colours I love so much. And the luster is amazing - maybe for a seaman's scarf for me, in lace, perhaps even a real one this time ;-)
Lastly, while away I spotted an advert on a local pin board for a 2 day spinning workshop, so I've rung and put my name down. I'm waiting to see if there is room for me (the person on the phone didn't have the class list at hand), its at the end of July so plenty of time or organise my weekend.

So ... if you haven't guessed do, and keep knitting

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

So much good stuff to comment on! I've already guessed on the contest, so I'll just wait patiently to see how far off-base I was :) The scarf looks wonderful and soft and warm, mock or no. I keep thinking how sad it is that he'll have to wait 'til next winter to wear it, and then remembering that "next winter" is coming up right smart for you! (And then I remember that I'll need to pack some seriously warm gear for our trip!) The dyed wool looks absolutely stunning, what fun to spin -- I can't wait to see what lace pattern you choose for it. And yes, having a daughter notice lace socks pretty much automatically means that she gets a pair (I know that my kids, at least, have figured out that flattery towards my cooking or my knitting pretty much gets them everywhere!)