If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see youΒ at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

Red Scarf Part Deux

Dear Ann,
So, how the heck’ve ya been? It’s taken me an entire week to unwind from 2 manic days in San Diego.
Meanwhile, I’ve managed to keep Kay’s Folk Art Factory limping along, with a nice mix of Instant Gratification Projects and Might Be Finished In This Lifetime Projects. The instant gratifiers are a lot more fun. Just saying.
Headed For A Theological Seminary Near You
You know how when you mosey over to Norma’s to see what she’s up to, you sometimes get this feeling that there is a bandwagon about to leave without you, so HURRY UP AND JUMP ON, YA SLACKER! That happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Norma was blogging about a new Red Scarf Project. This is a project to send a handmade Valentine’s Day scarf to a college student who has aged out of foster care. Since I don’t have a nearby Einstein’s Bagels to take my scarf to, I was supposed to mail it out by last Friday. Only trouble was, I didn’t cast on until Saturday. So I mailed it today. Hopefully they’ll still be packing up scarves when they get it tomorrow.
My red yarn inventory consisted of a skein of Manos in tomato red, a half skein of Manos in deep red/magenta variegated, and a skein of wild and wonderful why-did-I-buy-this Noro Kujako in many different colors, including magenta, eggplant, and pink. Here’s what I made:
Is it just me, or is this scarf a little churchy? You could totally wear this in a Gospel Choir, or perhaps to officiate at a baptism. I didn’t notice this until it was all done and too late to secularize.
I cast on this scarf while waiting at Bank Street College for Patricia Polacco to sign a book for Carrie aka Patricia Polacco’s Greatest Fan. Since Patricia Polacco is the author of The Keeping Quilt, I thought it was appropriate to be knitting a little red schmatteh. (A little red schmatteh plays a starring role in The Keeping Quilt–if you quilt, knit, or have ever grieved for a lost loved one, this book is a must.)
Ignore the bluish cast in the previous photo. The true color of the Kujako shows here.
I started with horizontal stripes, since all the stylin’ kids are wearing horizontal stripes this year. But in the past I’ve had this problem of the cast-on edge being tighter than the bound-off edge, causing Curvature of the Stripes. I could have avoided this by casting onto two needles to keep it loose, but have I mentioned I was waiting for Patricia Polacco? I didn’t have another needle. So I cast on normally, knit to approximately the middle of the scarf, bound off, and then picked up stitches along the cast-on edge, and knit the other half of the scarf in the other direction. This straightened out the curve and made me feel Clever and Resourceful.
I didn’t quite know what to do with the Kujako. The stripey portion of the scarf was coming out a bit short. So I log-cabined some Kujako onto one end, knit the second horizontal stripey portion, log-cabinned onto that end some more (stairsteps!), did some fat stripes, and bound off. I still had bits of the two Manos yarns left, and half of the Kujako, so I went to the other end. At this point I was bored with log cabinning (shameful but true), so I went back to my arsenal of Easy Fun Riffs on the Square Shape, and knit two stripey miters. I still had some Kujako so with a mighty effort at an unfamiliar skill, I single-crocheted all the way around.
I hope the recipient likes it, and feels the knitterly luv.
A Small Object
Lookit! I made a pin cushion! I am trying to get back my rusted, busted embroidery chops. In seventh grade home economics class, I embroidered a big piece of green and white gingham with Excessively Cute Animals. It was so cute, in fact, that somebody stole it. (True that! The McMillan Junior High School of the 70s was a hellhole–a kid flaunted gingham at her peril.)
This is from a kit I bought at City Quilter. Kits are a great way to spoon-feed oneself a new skill. Lack of skill, however, did not defeat my inclination, in all crafts, to alter instructions. As I was about to sew the little felt fried-egg flower onto the cushion top, I felt it looked a little too Early American. I remembered reading somewhere about how you could applique a raw-edged piece of fabric by simply turning the edge under as you stitch. I grabbed a snippet of Kaffe Fassett’s ‘Spools’ fabric from my Underutilized Fabric Stash. It seemed so perfect for the fried-egg vibe of this pin cushion. I tried it, and it worked! Buttonhole Stitch is da bomb. Most embroidery stitches are way too free-handy and subject to Operator Error for this knitter’s grid-based mentality. But Buttonhole Stitch is nice and regular. You can get the hang of it. It behaves itself. From here on out, everything that needs sewing down is getting Buttonhole Stitched. (Aw look! It’s a pincushion party!)
Department of Sweaters That Will Never Be Finished
In December I started making Raspy from Denim People. (So those dropped stitches are on purpose. I eliminated the ones in the boobal area. Another of my silly middle-aged phobias–Fear of Flashing the Foundation Garments. I am becoming my mother. If not my grandmother.) I finished the front, which is identical to the back (yawn), on the pilgrimage to and from TNNA, and in other situations where I had absolutely nothing more interesting to knit.
The picture shows the difference that shrinkage makes–the bottom piece has not been washed and dried, the top piece has. A note to People Who Look At Me Funny When I Tell Them Denim Only Shrinks In One Direction: see how the shrinkage is all in the length and not in the width. This is one of the mysteries of the universe. Believe it. When will Raspy be finished? Hopefully while I live and breathe and knit upon this Earth. It’s a long stretch of stockinette is all I’m saying.
Happy Monday!
Love, Kay
PS Hey everybody! We just realized the comments aren’t working right. Leave ’em and we’ll get ’em up on the blog. I just sent Ann down to the basement with a hammer and she’s trying to fix it. I can tell she’s working, by the cussing.
PPS Two of the guests at the Pincushion Party were NOT made by me! I did not mean to claim credit for such masterworks of the pincushiony art. The one I like to call Eat Your Heart Out Cezanne is by Cristina, who not only needle-felted that peach, she threw the teeny bowl it’s resting in. The pointy one is called–get this–“MIddle Earth”. It was made by Cassi of Bella Dia. (Well, I did make those felted balls in the stripey bowl; I think of them as bite-sized pincushions.)



  1. I don’t know if I’ve had one too many cups of coffee or what, but this entry had me cracking up from start to finish. Your pincushion is too cute. Where do you get those adorable shrinky-dink pins? Can I find instructions in the archives? I LOVE them and want to have millions in my house.

  2. The internets just ate my comment.
    Funny, funny entry, I’ve been giggling for minutes, I tell you. Minutes.
    Do you have instructions in the archives for making those cute little shrinky-dink pins? I think they are a MUST, like I MUST spend this Saturday making them!

  3. Heh – it does have a bit o’ the vestament look, doesn’t it? Gorgeous anyway! And I think that, beyond Valentines, they do collect stuff for other purposes. So I’m sure your scarf will be received and loved.

  4. That is one, mighty, scarf. Beautiful!

  5. The scarf and Raspy are great. Can you knit the sleeves in the round? Knitting in the round always makes it seem to go faster for me. I dunno why, but it does. Plus you could do a mitred decrease, which knowing how you feel about mitres could be a mighty fine option.
    The pincushion family is adorable. What did you stuff them with?

  6. The pincushion is precious. (As are all of its cousins in the pincushion family photo.) Have you done any more with your foray into needle felting? I’ve been watching carefully to see if you mention it again. I’ve been contemplating ordering myself a kit or something but I haven’t heard much talk of the needle felting in the blog world lately.
    The strange shrinkage of the denim is always a sight to behold. Maybe you could adopt finishing your Raspy as your Knitting Olympics project.

  7. boobal area?? You are a font of neological stuff. Not to mention wacko pincushions that look like ice cream.
    A pleasure, as always, to find out what you are up to!

  8. The pincushion is precious. (As are all of its little cousins in the pincushion family portrait.) Is the pincushion on the far right your needle felting apricot project? I’ve been wondering about your little foray into needle felting.
    The strange shrinkage of the denim is always fascinating to observe. Perhaps you could adopt the finishing of Raspy as your Olympics Knitting…

  9. boobal area? you are a font of neological stuff. Not to mention wacko pincushions that look like ice cream.
    A pleasure, as always, to find out what you are up to!

  10. Okay, this is my third attempt at leaving a message. I’m sure I click Post and not Cancel, by the way…
    Love it all.
    This is a shorter comment than the previous 2, but I’m not hopeful that anyone will ever see it.

  11. phew, the Mason-Dixon withdrawl is over. Had me worried there for a while. Love, Love, Love the scarf.

  12. Kay, A young lady who had aged out of foster care came to speak at our church a couple of years ago. She told us a story that I have never forgotten. She was very smart and had gotten herself into a great college in her home state. During the winter break, the school shut down. She hadn’t anticipated this and ended up sleeping in her car for two weeks because she had no home to go back to. It turns out her last foster mother had told her that the family was going to celebrate Christmas with just their biological children that year. She graduated and now works with college-aged foster kids. I will be happy to make a scarf for the Red Scarf Project. Thanks for telling us about it.

  13. Aw, Kay, you mean you’ve been ackshully productive during this long radio silence? I’ve been sitting in the corner for days now, clutching my freebie skein of Euroflax and occasionally weeping. It was all . . . so . . . beautiful . . .
    And so is all your crafty nutcase craftiness. xoxoxo

  14. White is what we don for Baptism.
    But OH THE RED!
    RED is the color of fire = Holy Spirit.
    Used on special days…Pentecost, Ordination, Anniversaries, Civil observances…here is my favorite part “Because of its intensity, red is most effective when used occasionally rather than continuously for a whole season.” (official Methodist book learning quote leaving out the blood of Jesus parts)
    SO – I’m thinking your scarf is quite liturgically correct for many things….like THE Civic Event coming soon to our LYS
    – MDK Book Signing Parties –
    let us all wear RED for the Spirit of your inspiration that infuses our daily lives through this blog of yours!

  15. I’m so in love with your whack-craftiness. Can I move in with you? I want to visit Dear Aunt Kay’s Whack Kraft Kamp for a few days. Just to make a pincushion or two.
    I just made a red scarf me own self after being sucked in by that Norma’s infectious enthusiasm. I always knew I’d catch something from her. I just didn’t know it would be the desire to construct pseudo-vestments out of scrap yarn.
    So glad you’re back. Missed ya!

  16. dynamite scarfie, kay! quilting ladies rejoice!

  17. That story by Judy is something that no one thinks of, and it’s one of the most heartbreaking aspects of having aged out of foster care.
    That scarf is an artistic wonder. I love you for it. LOVE. I guarantee you they’ll be accepting scarves (well, “guarantee” is a bit strong, but..) for a few days after a deadline, at least. You know how when you plan a wedding or bar mitzvah, you give an RSVP date, but you know there’s always a grace period built in!
    Thank you. I’ve already planned on getting red(ish) yarns whenever I see them on sale. I can use them for other charity knitting throughout the year, but then I’ll always have some red for this project when it rolls around again.

  18. Methinks you are purposely distracting us with other sweaters to divert our attentions from the fact that there is still no Bestest Sweater Ever!! pattern.
    I’m still not knitting it πŸ™‚

  19. The scarf is beautiful. You’ve definately found you’re form of artistic expression,and have a unique and talented ‘voice’. I’m not just saying that because I love you !
    I want your pincushion. What do you mean,make my own ? :0)

  20. I’m a little depressed. Those pincushions look like they’re having a better time than I do at my knitting group. Maybe I’ll try putting a pointy cap on this week and see what happens.

  21. I finished mine today…mailing tomorrow. Love yours. Mine is a real bore in comparison!

  22. Dude, I must be becoming your grandmother and mother. I’m eliminating those stupidly misplaced drops too…my momma taught me well. She always made sure that any polka dotted outfit didn’t have dots in the wrong places.

  23. Love the pin cushions! (Tho when I saw the Middle Earth one, I immediately thought “Madonna is missing some bra parts”). My 5yo just wandered in (to find out why I’m still looking at the computer and not in the kitchen fixing her a bagel- btw, they have Einstein’s here in Colorado Springs where I went for the first time Saturday a.m. to drop off the finished red scarves and they actually have NY bagels. Chewy on the outside and soft on the inside so they get all crispy in the toaster. Ahhh.). Anywho, the 5 yo loves your “tiny rose pillow” and would like me to make her one just like it, but after I “put some plain cream cheese on the sesame bagel and cut it into 2 pieces on a ZooPal plate, please”. Ann, she also wants “the pretty pink and purple blanket with the holes in it”. πŸ™‚

  24. Beautiful work Kay! My what a lovely pincushion collection you have πŸ™‚
    I do hope you finish Raspy- boobage flashes or not. I do want to knit it one day myself.. hopefully before the deconstructed look of dropped stitches are completely “OUT”.

  25. Love the pin-cushion-city photo! Completely brilliant! Oh, and of course the scarf and denim too… but those pin cushions – WOW!

  26. Raspy is looking good. Finish that thing already so you can start on Saffy!

  27. I absolutely LOVE that scarf.I’s say more Gees bend than churcgarb. What is Log Cabining ? Is it picking up stitches and then mitreing? Did I just turn 2 nouns into verbs? Need more coffee.
    Thanks for Red Scarfing (that’s 3).

  28. I really like the pin cushions kay…v. pretty…what is next? aprons? kayandann living on hg tv?

  29. Is buttonhole stitch the same as blanket stitch?
    your pincushion is adorable.

  30. Work of art! Your pincusion and the scarf, lovely.

  31. That is one lovely pin-cusion, and somebody is going to think it’s their birthday when they get that scarf…

  32. love the shot of your pincushion party —- now you have me wanting to make them.
    was this your plan all along?
    1. flash shots of cute pincushions
    2. invite Ann into the city to make said pincushions
    3. start a cottage industry and amass a fortune
    4. buy beach house …..
    oh, wait ….. I’m getting mixed up.

  33. Yay, pincushions! I’ve been meaning to make some up and embroider them. Now I’ve gotten that kick in the pants I needed. πŸ˜‰

  34. 1. The scarf is beautiful and reminds me of stained glass windows. It will be much loved and appreciated. I missed the deadline all together.
    2. Patricia Polacco is fabulous, and that is a great use of time.
    3. San Diego was wonderful yet exhausting. Hope it was a good market for you.

  35. lady raspy, in progress. i love the internet. and the scarf: obviously a pleaser!


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