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(Predominantly) Red Scarf Project

Dear Ann,
Yoo-hoo! Just a short shout to show off my 2009 contribution to the Red Scarf Project. The deadline is approaching (December 15), and I almost didn’t get it together this year. But this is such a good cause, so positive and life-affirming, so we-all-been-there-or-somewhere-like-it.
So it seemed like fate when our charity-minded London pal Juliet lobbed me, out of the blue and across the Atlantic, a lovely hank of Scrumptious DK by Fyberspates, a beautiful glowy-red silk and merino blend. It goes just great (or so I think) when combined in 2-row stripes with some chunks of Noro Silk Garden I already had.
Now, the folks at Red Scarf have tightened up their requirements this year, and I’m worried that some of us are a little discouraged by that. I understand and applaud the idea that we knitters should knit what is needed, and not view charity knitting campaigns as a dump-ortunity for yarn that nobody has loved since the Great Eyelash Yarn Craze of 1996. (I think Ken Burns is doing a documentary on that era, by the way.) But the guidelines actually are making me nervous about my ability to hit all the marks for a sufficiently hi-kwalidy scarf. For example, I think I might get into trouble on that requirement about not using colors that the “general public” might not like. (I think I pretty much ONLY use colors that the general public is not crazy about. I mean, this is sort of what I like about knitting!) I also wonder why they are so strict about not using heavier yarns. [Edited to add: I have been EDUCATED in the comments–there is a very good reason having to do with the size of the box they have to fit in.] I had 4 hanks of Misti Alpaca Chunky, in a perfect, unisex wine-red, but I was scared to use it! When I see all the chunky scarves in the windows of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, I don’t get why it would be so bad to knit a scarf with a chunky yarn, especially something as yummy-yummy-yummy-I-got-love-in-my-tummy as Misti Alpaca. But I understand that I am not driving this bus, and I want to do what is wanted and needed for this great project. So I’ll think of something else for the fat-gauge Misti. Bless my heart, you know? Just trying to matter!




  1. Maybe they don’t want heavier yarns because not all “chunky” yarns knit up as nice as “Misti”. That said, I have never not liked any of the colors on any of the projects that you have shown us.
    Thanks for the reminder about the deadline.

  2. well that is so silly, if it is in a unisex color what does it matter that it happens to be a little on the chunky side, i say make it any way and if they don’t like it keep it for yourself

  3. I have read that they have a donated standard size shipping box for the red scarf care packages and if you make it to the requested size but out of chunky or bulky yarn it simply won’t fit in the box.

  4. I heard that about the boxes, too. Although you could squash an alpaca chunky scarf, one would think…

  5. That is the issue — the size of the boxes which are so generously donated by FedEx (and shipped by them, gratis, as well! FedEx has my vote if they should run for anything in the next general election) are just a tad too small to accommodate a bulky scarf without truly squishing it and having it arrive to the recipient looking less like a gift and more like a… I don’t know what. It’s not at all that the boxes are stingy in size, but that there are also lots of other donated goodies such as Otis Spunkmeier (sp?) cookies and school supplies that get stuck in those packages, as well, and the idea is truly that when received on the other side, it is meant to be received as a nice lovely gift presentation and not, “Oh heeeeere. We sent you some STUFF.”
    ๐Ÿ™‚ So there you go. I know that those tightened requirements really have curbed some people’s enthusiasm or paralyzed them into inaction, but they really are not as draconian as they sound. Just knit and send! They will be LOVED and cherished and appreciated by all involved — I promise you.
    And p.s. I could tell you stories. But this is the nice version. You know. Heh.

  6. Oh, p.s.: Here’s my REALLY UNOFFICIAL cheerleader/spokesperson’s advice on chunky: Knit it, but keep it on the narrower side of the requirements, i.e., 5 inches. Then it will fit in the box and all will be happy.
    And about the colors: Creativity and uniqueness is ENCOURAGED and WELCOMED! Except if it’s clear that nobody could love it except the most select few: like the hunter’s orange fugly yarn that was on sale for 10 cents a skein at Hunter’s Emporium. And believe me…..aw, never mind. I think you get my drift.

  7. The actual Red Scarf Project page is not quite as dire about the requirements, and has more pattern ideas. http://orphan.org/index.php?id=40
    Personally? I really do understand why they want the scarves to not take up too much room, but I live in Minnesota. A DK-weight scarf is worthless here for actual warmth.

  8. i knit for red scarf and have for a few years
    i do not knit wool and recipents may not wear
    wool so i used berroco comfort in teaberry
    and wild beet harlots one row scarf pattern
    i tried them in a box and fit quite nicely
    silky and pretty other charities have come
    up with real guide lines this year also
    i was nervous makeing mine hopeing i got it right

  9. Yours looks alot like the one I knit. Except mine has some black. And, a bit more gray.
    Ok, so maybe the only thing in common is that they are striped and knit with love!

  10. As a former red scarf sorter, I could add to Norma’s stories – I may even be the source of some of them. Trust me, Kay, your scarf is a pearl among scarves and will be greatly appreciated. No one should be fretting about this! This is not kindergarten, no one is going into the time-out corner! Make a pretty scarf of reasonable dimensions! Send it in! Make a student happy!

  11. I agree with you that those darn requirements kind of squashed my enthusiasm about the whole thing. I’m using an Kathmandu Aran and just hope that falls into the heavy worsted category. I love your colors and it looks very unisex to me!

  12. You do matter!!! And your scarf is lovely!! I would wear it ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. That is a lovely scarf, for an excellent charity.
    I’d love to contribute, but I only just found out about it, and I’m a slow-(ahem) knitter.

  14. I have a reversible woven cable scarf that I knit for red scarf back in the spring because I wanted to try out the pattern with no looming deadline. There is no way this is going to fit. I’ve been knitting up a storm for Christmas with a hat and a ??? (keep flip flipping among, hat, scarf or mittens)left to go. The ??? yarn is a nice burgundy color so I think I will turn that yarn into a red scarf and give that person the cabley one. Now if I can just find the time to finish by the deadline.

  15. OMG Kay. I’m calling Ken to ask him about the series, STAT.

  16. Well, no one has offered to help you with that Misti Alpace, so…just send it to me!
    I’m on red scarf number three. There is a very big world of options that fit the requirements. Would that all the requirements of my life were that board. fewer requirements than knitting for my mom or the DH!
    Maybe it’s because my neck originated in Chicago, but if I wad enough DK around it, it is toasty here in Minne! I’ve always been told my head was thick but maybe it is my neck…

  17. I did a stripe-y one, too. For a while there, my daughter was hoping it wouldn’t make the grade in terms of color (hoping she would be an alternate recipient). But it got Norma’s stamp of approval. It’s in the mail now!

  18. Here’s a random idea if you still want to knit another scarf after the current project – one could knit the chunky alpaca scarf and give it to a women’s shelter or other worthy charity nearby.
    I wonder if there is a Canadian equivalent of the Red Scarf project?

  19. Spooky. I just happened upon your post when I was on my way to check your striped mistake-rib scarves of two years ago (as in, did you block them severely width-wise or did you let them contract as they pleased?)…I knitted two scarves for the Red Scarf project this time, but I am deeming one of two possibly too feminine, so I’ll send in just one in gorgeous, deep red Berroco Peruvia.
    Volunteering for a4A has taught me that guidelines are there for a good reason even when the website doesn’t have the space to spell them out. So I can’t use stash. So I need to buy (more)yarn. The horror!

  20. red heart yarn has a fine project
    knitting red scarfs for women with
    heart disease warming hearts is a partner
    guide lines even kits nice project
    to think about, nice for we women

  21. That scarf is beautiful! Not a worry about it.It’s a toughie really, the people worrying about the guidelines from Red Scarf are the ones who shouldn’t be fretting, it’s the people who send gar-bahjj they wouldn’t dream of ever wearing themselves and think it’s just fine to donate that were being asked to amend their ways.
    Same with the misti alpaca dilemma. If it can squoosh way down, go for it!

  22. Oh, you matter. 110%!
    My conscious thought: Caring Matters.

  23. Beautiful! Both in spirit and actuality….

  24. Hello Kay, You do matter! Here is a question a little off the topic. Perhaps it can be answered by the Problem Ladies. My friend loved the Misti Alpaca one skein scarf I knit for her. It was so cozy and warm, yet light enough to wear indoors in Minnesota where it can be very drafty in the winter. Then she threw it in the wash. She felted it! I think she told me about it because she is hinting for another. Would you knit her another Mista Alpaca scarf?

  25. You matter. Lots.
    Also, that log cabin next to the scarf matters. Did we miss that? I can’t remember my middle name these days, but I didn’t think I was hard up for remembering ANY of the log cabins.

  26. I’m motoring on my second scarf, and am just trying to decide if I’m going to finish off the ends with tassels or something similar. Finishing red scarves feels good!

  27. I think that window caption was written by a man and really only refers to men. (just kidding. NOT!)

  28. Perhaps the skateboard boy is looking for a Jayne hat? (from Firefly?)
    Look here:
    (granted you don’t have to do pink/orange)

  29. well rats! This is the first I’ve heard about the Red Scarf Project this year and it’s now 2 days past the deadline.


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