Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

That Runcible Woman

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Dear Ann,
Oh, that runcible woman, that Mrs. Lear! How heedlessly she tosses out blithe and beautiful ideas. Ideas that come to her every minute of every day, and that bump me out of orbit faster than you can say “Jason Bateman.” While Mrs. Lear gaily moves on to fermenting kitchen wine, re-weaving rope seats for Swedish chairs, or creating bespoke children’s coats, I’m left 6 ideas behind, knitting 8-10 skeins of yarn into a fabulous Frankenstein scarf. Which one can buy, in a lesser, non-handknit, but perfectly acceptable version, at the Gap, but that’s not how I roll.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this. As soon as I saw it, I got that Puff Daddy tingle. That Make.It.Now frisson.
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This sweet slide of self-deception was made that much easier by telling myself what a “fabulous stash-buster” this scarf would be. Here you can see that I have started off virtuous as hell, striping a long-neglected skein of Noro Cash Iroha in lime green with a forlorn and forgotten skein of Noro Silk Garden, which is usually self-striping, but in this case is self-pitying. Shade #252 has mournful gradations of midnight blue, charcoal, and black, with one little wisp of lime at the end, when I started striping it with a leftover skein of Rowan Magpie in Berry.
Observant observers will note that I used a provisional cast-on. This is just one side of the scarf. When I’m done with the second skein of Noro Silk Garden striped with the Magpie, I’ll work an Elizabeth Zimmermann Phony Seam down the middle stitch of this piece, and leave the live stitches on a holder. Then, provided that Runcible woman hasn’t got me painting the living room floor by then, I’ll knit a second stripey piece, in different yarns (still from stash–yeah right) and in a different stripe pattern. Again with the provisional cast-on, again with the Phony Seam, and again with leaving the stitches live. THEN, the 2 pieces are seamed together. Two seams, down the middle of the front and back of the scarf. Now I will knit, in yet MORE stash yarns (cough)(hey, if you just bought it, it’s in your stash NOW, am I right?), ribbed “cuffs” down from the live stitches at the end of the 2 pieces. These will be knitted in the round. Then, unzip the provisional cast-ons at the other end, knit another “cuff” in the round. Anybody still with me? Is this a worthwhile thing to do? Too Gap-like? Only wearable by Jason Bateman?
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For now, I’m calling it the Runcible Sleeve Scarf. I have in mind to give it to a dashing pal who is not afraid to be stylish or eccentric or handmade in his attire. I hope he is reading and wondering if it is he. (I promise he will not look like this.)
Love,
Kay

48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. So I gather the take-home point is . . . Jason Bateman is hot.

  2. I am very confused.

  3. I’m not sure out this scarf idea, but right now the words are just flowing and percolating.
    What I want to make is a double knit scarf that is a cotton or other non-allergenic yarn on one side and a nice wool on the other. Most of the people I know who have allergies to wool can’t wear it without something in between (one claims that she can wear a wool skirt provided it is lined or she is wearing a slip), so this will allow them to be really warm without discomfort.

  4. I, too, am knitting a scarf with Noro Silk Garden #252… a simple K1P1 affair… striping it with #268, which is turquoise with some lo-o-o-o-ng stretches of gray.
    Very pretty, each of them, but together, sadly looking like something left in the fridge too long.
    Your pic inspires me to frog this baby and find something bright to add to the mix.
    Cheers!

  5. I’m not sure I’ve wrapped my head properly around the mechanics of the scarf, but I am sure it’s going to be beautiful.
    I think I’ll go look at that picture of Jason Bateman again.

  6. Poor Dwight he gets no love. Not even in a Gap Model I am not this character way. Sigh.

  7. I saw that scarf a couple of days ago on Mrs. Runcible’s blog. The photo of Bateman in said scarf is surprisingly hot. I wanted to know how the scarf was done (as well as how to get Jason’s phone number).
    After reading your description, I am filled with admiration for your superior intelligence, but still do not understand how to knit the scarf. I am a Bear of Very Little Brain. Can you spell it out some more for the Spatially Impaired?

  8. How can the same scarf look so awesome on Jason Bateman, but so weird on that other dude?
    Sigh. I miss Arrested Development.

  9. I’m thinking this is one for the knitting machine. I like the idea though!

  10. So, you’re doing the scarf, only better. I noticed in the pic with Dwight, that it is not a double-sided scarf.
    I too would like Jason Bateman to go with the scarf.

  11. I wonder if my college age son would like this? Nevermind that he is 6’3″ and would need a loooong scarf and I only have how long until Christmas?? Perhaps I’ll just buy one and ask Santa for Jason Bateman? OMG I am probably old enough to be his mother….is that as wrong as it sounds???? :)

  12. Ummmm, I think I’m still with ya, but I really want to see it! Sounds like fun, and I’ll ahve to explore it as a stash busting idea.

  13. Man. That model guy is too weird. Who dressed him? Bomber hat. Orange T. Red argyle. And a frankenscarf. Guys like that give good knits a bad name. I’m pretty sure his socks are white.
    Now Jason? Jason Bateman, c’mon down. I’ve got your scarf right here.

  14. Ouch- my brain hurts, but I think I have the general idea. Hmmm- this may become the new Noro 2 stripe scarf sensation (you know- the one the Harlot finally got hooked on).

  15. I think I’m with you on the construction! Yes. Love the scarf idea, esp the circulars for the ribbing. And Jason Bateman? Very yummy indeed.

  16. is 2009 going to be the year of the scarf
    little narrow scarfs out of silk ribbon
    are great to wear perhaps my goal for 2009
    lots of pretty narrow long scarfs
    baby yarn is ever so soft and nonwool
    softie and not with the sparkie through it

  17. I’m a big fan of you and Ann and Rainn Wilson, so I feel the need to defend your character here, despite your tiny lapse in judgment. You’re jumping through a lot of crazy hoops for a rectangular scarf, and Rainn put on a bunch of goofy clothing to sell Gap wear. Insert a little sense of humor, and we can all just stay in love with both of you.
    Keep on rockin’!

  18. Virtuous as hell. Me too.

  19. Virtuous as hell. Me too.

  20. Oh yes, Mrs. Lear is the quintessential woman indeed. Always making me feel simultaneously inferior and as if I could create anything. She’s the peaches! Your scarf is wonderful and I’m sure Mr. Bateman would look very handsome in it.

  21. I miss you guys when you don’t post for so long! I’m doing a Delia’s inspired scarf for the lovely 11 year old daughter…big, fat roving-like yarn on big fat needles so it will stretch and look slouchier. Of course, it is costing me more to knit it than to buy the dratted thing, but…it’s the thought that counts.

  22. out of all that I’m still thinking about jason bateman. ahhhh

  23. whew, Jason Bateman does want to make you knit doesn’t he? *sigh*
    I love the line about not buying a gap scarf… thats not how I roll. I just saw the mittens I’ve been knitting at Target for about 6.99.

  24. This is going to be fabulous! Good for you using the stash yarns! I think only men who do not take themselves too seriously can wear a striped scarf, don’t you?

  25. …bespoke coats for children. Are you a Neal Stephenson fan? Love the scarf, and also admire Mr. Bateman. yum.

  26. And did you notice that The Gap has named it the “Crochet Scarf?”

  27. Gosh
    Who’d have thought Jason Bateman would still be dishy after all these years, I mean I saw on TV back in the dark ages. (Remember “Silver Spoons?”)As to the scarf, geez, I am still trying to finish my first Noro Striped scarf a la Brooklyn Tweed,—- you AND the Runcible woman are way out of my league.

  28. Oh! The Crocheeet Scarf! NOW, I get it!…
    …Listen. Kay.–I’m not sure I remember this “phony seam” business from EZ (especially since the Runcible blog talks about doing a purl st. down the middle), but I’m with you all the way. It’s going to be a g-r-e-a-t scarf! I like your idea of doing the end ribbing in the round, especially as the blog picture does not appear to have this nicety.
    One thing, though, I prefer the Stahlman type of construction, if I’m going to do a provisional cast-on. I did the “knit 2 sides of scarf separately, then graft together” thing a few years ago, and almost ruined the scarf when I was sewing it together. To this day, I can’t explain what happened. One minute the seam was nasty looking, and the next, beautiful (good thing , too, as I had just enough time to finish the scarf, wrap it up, and rush on over to the birthday party…). With Stahlman, there would be no seam; but, for this “Gap” scarf I would not be using the ribbing at the neck that Stahlman’s scarves have, either,
    The scarf is going to be beautiful; and, Jason’s a honey. Thanks for stimulating our imaginations with both!
    LoveDiane

  29. Read through three times and am still going “huh?” Could you explain a little more for those of us with post-menopausal brains?

  30. Beware the two row stripe. It is addictive.

  31. I saw Rainn Wilson on the back of my Entertainment Weekly magazine and analyzed it a great deal. I wonder: If I look like as much as a ragamuffin as he does when I go out all “woolled-up” (I do) then can I pose for Gap?
    Credit for “woolled up” goes to needled.wordpress.com.

  32. I didn’t even catch that was Rainn. . .don’t be dissing the Rainn-man, he’s a high school colleague of mine (even if, since there were over 1000 other colleagues, I highly doubt he remembers me).
    And don’t be tempting me with any more creative ways to use self-striping yarns, young lady. (I write this sitting in my Noro Kureyon version of the Lopi Lace scarf from Weekend Knitting and knitting on an entrelac scarf out of the same sadly discontinued colorway #124).

  33. Hey, we love Silk Garden color 252 ’round these parts! We call it “Starry Night”, because it looks like the Van Gogh painting. But I agree that the alternating-colorway Noro scarves look best when the two colorways contrast strongly.

  34. Jumped on the k1p1 stripey scarf bandwagon myself, but mine is in Berroco Foliage for a lovely slightly-nubbly texture. Plus it was in the stash already. Not sure the color numbers (what? ball bands?), but went for a juicy/blah contrast inspired by all y’alls that is working well.
    Stripey scarves are HAWT. Also Jason Bateman.

  35. No, not to Gappy… positively wonderful. Now I know what I’m casting on for tonight, but I think I’ll knit the whole blasted thing in the round, like a giant, 2-cuffed scarfy sleeve ;)

  36. I don’t know what you’re talking about but I can’t wait to see it!

  37. Is it weird that before I read this post, I saw the Gap ad and took a double-take, because I thought Dwight looked…well, kinda cute. Then I saw Jason and thought he looked very hot. Now I’m thinking that it’s the scarf. Does it have “kiss the frog” magic?

  38. Say what? Start from the beginning. S-L-O-W-L-Y P-L-E-A-S-E! I got the silk garden part…

  39. Say what? Start from the beginning. S-L-O-W-L-Y P-L-E-A-S-E! I got the silk garden part…

  40. The Gap scarf in the ad curls at the edges, which makes me not like it. Yours, although I do not fully understand your plan, will not, I am sure. You are Above The Curl, as you should be.

  41. So so glad I am not the only one who didn’t grasp the scarf instruction. But the picture of Jason Bateman did take my mind off my ineptitude. I will stay tuned for a clearer explanation … if there is one coming?

  42. Totally thought you were joking about the Jason Bateman ad …until I clicked on the link. There he was, in all his Jason Batemanesque glory. Hmmmm.

  43. HI! This is my first comment and I never thought I would be doing this but I was so excited to try to win yarn! I have one grand daughter, Piper and she is a size 3 so I really think I could do this! Okay, she has two cats, Tiger and Chloe and a new puppy named Savannah, a rescue from Georgia!
    I love your first book and have made many projects from it and it makes me feel so competent when I actually complete them! I first tried the potholder rug and it was so cool! I really am a basket weaver but after your book I now find knitting encroaching on my weaving time! There are never enough hours!
    Anyway I just came on line to get some new dishcloth patterns that I’m making for Christmas gifts and saw the beautiful yarns and so please put me into the great drawing! Thanks so much!
    Mary

  44. I would love the yarn you are offering. I have a little girl in mind that loves dresses and her name is Anna Les. She is my niece and she has no pets but she has a zoo of stuffed animals. Her favorite is her hippo named hortense. Thank you for including me in the drawing. I also wanted to tell you I too caught the Noro striped scarf virus and had to knit it. I ended up using 4 different color ways to get the sequence of colors I wanted. It was so fun, I may have to knit another. Oh, no I’m a Noro striped scarf addict!

  45. love your scarf: Have you ever seen a wrap, tommy bahama made: 3 really large buttons, and knit. My daughter wants one.. I can’t find a picture, daughter says its 18″ wide x 72 long. HELP

  46. Hello – it’s 1am and I’m coming up for air having just knitted for several hours on my first attempt at a poncho for my 5 year old. I’ve fallen in love with circular needles but it’s hard to find a stopping point (maybe when it’s done – but who needs sleep anyway?). I’m excited to read about your yarn giveaway. I have two girlies to knit for – Sophie who is 5 and Caitlin Rose who is 2. Both have much beloved dogs though only of the stuffed variety to date. Sophie’s dog is called Sally (or Dog) and Caitlin’s is called Candy (or Puppy). Incidentally, Caitlin’s dog is the same dog as Sophies (it’s the one we bought in case the original dog got lost – though it’s more likely to fall apart I think!). My girls like to match. Not sure if you have yarn to give away for both girls – I’d be grateful for any to knit one cute, hip Emma Peel dress. Thank you for the opportunity. By the way, I love love love your blog and books. Didn’t mean that so seem like I’m sucking up – but I did want to share that anyway as I really enjoy your style – words, humor and knitting! Best, Rachel

  47. Please enter me in your Emma Peel dress yarn contest. I’d make a dress for my 3yr. old granddaughter named Sadie. She’s absolutely beautiful…but of course! And she has two cats named Fred and Ethel. Enjoy your blog!

  48. OOPSY! My little honey Jenna has three kitties, they are ‘smudgey’ , ‘specky’ and ‘miss kitty’ and a dog ‘daisy’.