Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

My So-Called Mini-Tutorial

DANGER! WARNING: IF YOU ARE A NKR (NON-KNITTING READER) OF THIS BLOG (I.E. ANN’S BROTHER-IN-LAW), STOP NOW. SAVE YOURSELF BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. I’M BEGGING YOU. THIS POST CONCERNS A TECHNICAL ASPECT OF KNITTING THAT WILL BE TEDIOUS EVEN TO MOST KNITTERS. WHAT FOLLOWS WILL BE OF INTEREST ONLY TO A VERY SMALL SUBSET OF READERS WHO ACTUALLY KNIT. READING FURTHER THAN THIS WARNING MAY RESULT IN NAUSEA, BOREDOM, AND ANXIETY THAT YOU MAY SOMEDAY ACTUALLY TAKE UP KNITTING AND HAVE TO READ STUFF LIKE THIS.
Dear Ann,
Hi there. Presumably you’re stuck (a) in a long line at Target (b) trying not to watch as kids touch baked goods with their bare hands at a holiday bake sale (c) getting your highlights done to look your best for upcoming seasonal festivities or (d) something equally worthwhile that I am too lazy to be doing and will soon regret not doing. While you’re away, I thought I’d answer a question from the comments from Cynthia, who writes:
I love the look of the stitch in My So-Called Scarf, but I just don’t get how to do it based on the directions. Any chance you could be coaxed into showing some pictures of the stitches in progress?
This we know: I can be coaxed into almost anything. When I first read through these instructions myself, they didn’t make complete sense to me. The thing is, when you actually cast on and try to do it, there will not be many alternatives that present themselves, so try it before sitting through my mini-tutorial. Because sometimes we need a mini-tutorial, but we never really WANT a mini-tutorial. At least that’s the way I am. Reckless and under-tutored.
So here are the instructions and here is how I do it. If I’m doing it wrong, I’m not sure I want to know, because I’m done with the scarf and it looks JUST GREAT to me.
ROW 1
Row 1 instructs us to ” K1, *sl 1, K1, psso but before dropping the slipped stitch from the left needle, knit into the back of it* repeat until there is one stitch left, K1.”
Let’s do it! Knit 1, slip 1 (purlwise), then knit 1. We are all okay so far, right?
socalled1.jpg
Here, we watch as Kay starts to pass that slipped stitch over, but wait!
socalled2.jpg
Before she lets the slipped stitch drop, she wraps another loop around the right needle.
socalled3.jpg
And now–only NOW–she lets that ol’ slipped stitch go. She has 2 new stitches on the right needle, wrapped up in the slipped stitch like a neat little bundle.
That’s all I’ve got to say about Row 1. Try it. If you do it on the subway, and you do it kind of fast (because now you know how to do it), even people who know how to knit will watch you very….carefully…to figure out what you’re doing and why the fabric doesn’t look like regular knitting.
Which brings us to Row 2, on the WS of the fabric. HEY YOU! NON-KNITTING READER! WHAT DID I TELL YOU? GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN! THERE ARE NO JOKES OR VIDEOS OF JACK WHITE COMING! FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE, WE’RE TALKING ABOUT “PURL 2 TOGETHER” HERE!–CAN WE GET A LITTLE KNITTING PRIVACY?
ROW 2
The instructions for Row 2 are: *P2tog, do not slip stitches off the needle, purl the first stitch again, slip both stitches off needle
socalledpurl1.jpg
Here we see Kay purling 2 stitches together (damn she’s good), but she is not slipping them off the left needle. No she’s not! Not just yet, because…
socalledpurl2.jpg
She is going back into the first stitch. (Silence, please. This maneuver is a bit twisty.)
Edited to add: By ‘first stitch’ I mean the first stitch from the LEFT. The other stitch would work okay also, though.
socalledpurl3.jpg
She is pulling a loop through that first stitch, purlwise. Now Kay has TWO LOOPS on her right needle, and she pulls both stitches off the left needle. Sa-weet!
Go crazy, you so-called nuts!
Love, Kay

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54 Comments

54 Comments

  1. Kay- In these days of too many sugarplums dancing in my head…. it is just so good to know there is a wonderful SOMEONE OUT THERE who can be coaxed. Bless you for that. Kim

  2. Now I have no excuse for not starting this, expect that pesky holiday gift knitting that’s not quite done.

  3. Soooooo helpful! I skimmed through the pattern and thought I knew what it meant, but I see now I wasn’t even close. Thanks for the show-n-tell.

  4. Heh. When I first read the instructions I thought the pattern writer was on crack. Once I started it, I discovered you needed to BE on crack to knit a whole damn scarf in that stitch.
    In the decorative bowl on my coffeetable it remains.

  5. Ahh, ya gotta love a post that is coaxed, starts with a warning, has a lot of close-ups, and -BONUS- has Starsky and Hutch (the originals!) in the corner! Thanks Kay.

  6. I’m officially nuts, or on crack. I saw that scarf, ran down to the LYS and bought not one, but two, balls of multicolor CASHMERE and cast on.
    I must buy gifts, wrap gifts, bake cookies, wrap cookies, send cards–you know the drill. But NO! Kay showed me this blasted thing and Christmas is done for.

  7. Dear Kay, thanks for reminding me how desperately I need a haircut at a moment when I was free to make an appointment with the salon. Now I can look my best next week too!
    Also, great job on the tutorial.

  8. Wow, outstanding pictures! So clear, so specific, so obsessed! (We love that!) Thanks so much!

  9. That photo of “(p2tog and then) go back into the first stitch and p1″ – are you going back into the first stitch that is first like it would be first if you were just gonna purl ‘em 1, 2? Or are you going back into the first stitch like the stitch that is first if you were reading from left to right, the stitch that would be second if you were just gonna purl ‘em 1, 2?
    Simply put – the additional p1 is going into the left stitch or the right stitch of the p2tog?
    This is not a yes or no question.
    But you already have bonus points for using such a marvelously mottled yarn that we can clearly see what up wit dem which how what stitches.
    Thank you, and I hope I don’t make you regret starting this whole tutorial in the first place.

  10. Hey! I tried it and it worked. It’s true that you have to have yarn and needles in hand to understand it. The pictures helped alot. Thanks!

  11. Ohh, that mini-tutorial was quite helpful. I too read the pattern and had to stop and scratch my head. Thanks!

  12. Wow Kay, that is great. I love that scarf and now may even try it with some stash.
    Happy Holidays!!!!

  13. I find my parochial elem. school upbringing has prepared me for most knitting patterns. (“Follow directions, and DON’T think, just DO it!” Gotta love the 1950’s) I am not sure about this pattern but once the 4 UFOs become FOs, I will give it a whirl because it is so lovely. And just in case… I will save the tutorial.
    Thanks, Kay!

  14. Same question as Amber!!

  15. I am greatly comforted to know that I am not the only one who felt a little uneasy with this pattern at first. I made this scarf – gosh, almost two years ago now – and the first few rows, I followed the directions but I was full convinced the whole time that I was probably doing something wrong. It just feels so wonky to do. The results are really are worth it, though. The knitting masses everywhere should be thankful, once again, for Mason-Dixon Kay! :)

  16. I love you for doing this tutorial Kay! I get at least a couple emails every week regarding this scarf…so this is going to be a huge help to me and everyone that is confused by the instructions. (and they really are a little confusing!!) Thank you, thank you!!!

  17. Isn’t the first stitch usually the one on the right? As in the first one you would work? How come it isn’t in this pattern, or what?

  18. excellent– Kay, your post reminds me of the Sesame Street Grover (the old-school SS) book: “There’s a monster at the end of this book.” (how many times can i say ‘old school without being just ridiculous?) thanks for the extreme close-up tutorial– obviously you’ve helped a lot of people! Our lady of the Scarfiness!

  19. Oh wow! I hafta go get yarn to make this scarf tomorrow!! Thank you so much for the tutorial! Ahh! Love it!

  20. *laugh* This scarf stumps so many people. I had a similar conversation about it with another blog friend. Neither one of us was convinced either of us was right. I’ll have to sit down and see if I do it the Kay way (I admit I gave up on it because I wasn’t sure if the stitch was right.)

  21. Sweet! I was also confused, but pressed on and it looked okay… very nice to see (with my eyes!) that I had figured it out decently! Thank you!!!

  22. THANK YOU. I was having problems with that pattern too. I set it aside (ripped it out), and wondered if I should write and ask for clarification. Way to go Cynthia. And thanks Kay, I’ll be trying this again tomorrow, with your instructions by my side.

  23. THANK YOU. I was having problems with that pattern too. I set it aside (ripped it out), and wondered if I should write and ask for clarification. Way to go Cynthia. And thanks Kay, I’ll be trying this again tomorrow, with your instructions by my side.

  24. Too funny and what a great tutorial. My friend Twig in the comments is right. I thought I knew how to do the stitch and when I thought I could help her I discovered I don’t know squat. I’ve got it now and the fabric it makes is wonderful. Thanks for being coaxable!!! And thanks Twig for reminding me again of my folly LOL.

  25. Easy as pie, especially after your visual aid! Now I’m going to run out and by some yarn! Won’t my hubby-doo be pleased!!!! :)

  26. But, Kay, what big needles you have!
    The better to tutorialize you with, my dear…

  27. I have the same confused question. It looks as though you are going into the second stitch of the two that have been purled together, counting from the right, not the first. Is that what it is?
    Thanks for the tutorial, it dragged me out of my lurkdom.

  28. NOW it makes sense! Thanks for the tutorial and the pictures. I didn’t get it from reading the pattern.

  29. thanks! Had yarn and needles out for this scarf but was a-skeert. Now I’m brave.

  30. Thank you, thank you! I tried to cast on for this last night, in hopes that I could finish something by Saturday evening for my best friend, but it got thrown in the corner because the instructions weren’t making sense. ‘Course, it could have been the fact that it was 1 AM and I couldn’t see straight, much less figure out the “purl 2 tog” etc.

  31. Kay: You have no idea how honored I am to make it into the warning section and indeed, per your suggestion, I skipped right down here to the comments.
    (long pause)
    Um, so here I am.
    (long pause)
    Except I have nothing to comment on, since I didn’t read the article… again, per your suggestion. Although reading the other comments suggests to me that it was quite helpful if you are an actual knitter, which, given the subject matter of this blog, I imagine most of your readers are. In fact, it’s nice of all you to tolerate non-knitting civilians like m’self, who have nothing to contribute.
    (long pause)
    Unless, of course, there’s another entry about food. Then I’m good to go.
    (sigh)
    I need to learn how to knit.

  32. Thank you! Being currently scarf obsessed, I had noted the reference to this scarf, been to the site and copied the pattern. Last night I even ordered some Manos del Uruguay to make it from. I have to say though that I was thinking that the pattern instructions seemed a little….odd. And now here you are with an extremely clear tutorial which has made me so much more confident about attempting what looks like a very pretty scarf. Now I only have to wait for the yarn to arrive, although I think I may well have a go at the pattern on some spare stuff in the meantime. (Although like everyone else, I should really be doing other stuff – I have all the ingredients waiting for a cake….)
    Thanks again and Merry Christmas from England (where it is wet, grey and unseasonably WARM! Bah!)

  33. Okay, the mini-tutorial was great but where is the picture of the scarf?

  34. Glad you could be coaxed into the tutorial. I was having trouble wrapping my little brain around that myself.

  35. Well, thank goodness that i’m not the only one who looked up that pattern & said … “oh? ”
    it didn’t make sense to me either. Must admit that i have not sat down with needles to actually try it out. I haven’t even finished writing my Christmas
    cards for that matter. And there is not yet one gift wrapped. So the scarf is waiting, like a carrot for me.
    Thanks for the tutorial. You’re great.

  36. Kay, your tutorial is so beautiful. Love those humungous needles, they remind me of the fat crayons you get to use when you can’t handle the skinny ones yet. Props to Cynthia for having the guts to raise the question of how, eggzactly, the stitches should work. I looked at the pattern and kind of went “huh?” and then figured that I was the only one who didn’t get it.

  37. Let me join the crowd of commenters — I tried it and it was confusing. I’d even resorted to pestering bloggers who had knit the scarf for help. They ignored me. Thank you for this mini-tute! Now I know why I read your blog–great pictures (and interesting chatter, of course).

  38. Kay —
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I must be a visual learner – I got it completely when I saw your pictures, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out from the directions. You are a GODDESS!!
    Peace,
    Chris.

  39. Thanks for the editorial clarification on which stitch is “first” in your p2tog. I think I would use the other first, I think I’ve done it that way in other stitches before. And then I thought “Wow – I bet it’s a totally different stitch than I would make.” And then I thought, “It probably hardly matters which one you use as the first stitch.” And then I thought “There’s only one way to find out.”
    Results to be blogged shortly.

  40. I have to admit that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a tutorial and IMMEDIATELY scoured the internet to find the yarn. I must try this as soon as possible… that yarn had better get here soon!

  41. First stitch from the LEFT? Wha? Why? Glad to hear that the other would work as well, ’cause that’s what I would have reached for.
    Thanks for this. The scarf’s (way down there) on my to-do list.

  42. Thank you for the tutorial. I would have pulled all of my hair out. The pattern is perfect for my brother-in-law’s scarf, doubled fingerling weight dark grey alpaca! So soft!

  43. Thank you for the tutorial! I could not figure out the instructions, but now it’s clear. Now I can try this scarf. Yay!
    Non-knitting readers should take up knitting. ;)

  44. The Manos arrived in record time, esp considering Christmas post &c. The tutorial is excellent and I really think I’m doing the stitches as shown BUT the purl row is leaving me with big loops which no other So Called Scarf on the net appears to have. Indeed most are exceptionally neat. Any idea what I’m doing wrong? Any help gratefully received.

  45. Same here, AlisonK. I had started the scarf before Kay’s tutorial, but I was slipping knitwise and purling into the first stitch on the left–so I promptly started doing it Kay’s way and ended up with those awful loops and a much looser scarf than before. So I ripped it out and went back to my original way. I may be doing something wrong, but my scarf looks more like the photo at Sheep in the City this way.

  46. Thanks Bet. With thanks and apologies to Kay, I’ll try that. Is it “really” 6.20am where you are? It’s “really” 11.30 am here – much more civilised for a Sunday morning!

  47. It *really* is! My puppy dog woke me early. So here I sit knitting. At least it’s constructive. :) Good luck with yours.

  48. thanks for reminding me of this pattern, it’s turned out to be just the thing for the Kathmandu yarn i couldn’t find the right thing for! wonder what the name of that stitch is? made tiny with string it would make a great purse, too.

  49. You have videos of Jack White coming?
    Heh.

  50. Ohmygod am I grateful for the person who asked that question. I just KNEW, the way you KNOW there is an olive left somewhere in the fridge when you want a martini and there ARE no olives left in the fridge that you’ll be able to make DO with a lemon peel, but the dried up yellow thing in the drawer looks a little iffy…that, well you know, it will all work itself out because you really WANT that martini, that I’d figure that stitch out sooner or later. Bless you for making it sooner, Kay. Bring on the minis!!

  51. My very first FO was MSCS. In handspun. It’s gorgeous, I wear it all da time. It’s a nice pattern, suited to a great number of yarns and needle sizes. It do curl a great deal, tho.

  52. There’s also a demonstration video of these stitches out on YouTube, here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKpuUxVbQtc&NR

  53. Thank you!
    I’ve been sitting here for a while trying to figure out if I was doing it right or not. I hate it when patterns don’t tell you which way to slip a stitch.

  54. A million thanks for this tutorial!!! i am not a novice knitter and most always can figure out written instructions but this ‘simple to everyone else but me’ 2 line pattern stitch had me tearing my hair out, frogging on row 2 repeatedly, and searching the internet for almost 3 hours for some kind of guidance on comprehending this (elusive to me) pattern stitch!!! you guys are the best! and thanks again!
    p.s. now I hope i like the results when I try it out. hehe.