As we wrap up our first month of A Year of Techniques, I’m feeling rewarded for going outside my comfort zone and learning a new technique that I didn’t think I needed to know.
You know how I’m always looking for the Elusive Summer Scarf? Well, in the process of learning how to make helical stripes in A Year of Techniques, I didn’t find the perfect summer scarf: I made one up.
Summer Scarf: A One-Bowl Recipe
• 120-200 yards summer-appropriate yarn of your choice, in 2 or more colors (for striped version)
• circular needle one or two sizes larger than you’d ordinarily use for the yarn
(I used a size US 8.)
• stitch marker
Using first color, cast on 220 stitches, or to taste. (22o yields a long scarf that you can loop twice loosely around your neck.)
Place marker and join to work in the round.
Knit 2 rounds. Change to second color and knit one round.
Purl one round in first color. Now, using Jen Arnall-Culliford’s helical stripe technique, alternate knit rounds (in second color), and purl rounds (in first color). The trick: never let the round you’re working catch up to where you left the yarn on the previous round, always stop a few stitches short, then pick up the next yarn and continue working in knit or purl, as appropriate. You will always knit with one color and purl with the other.
Continue until scarf is the width you want. Work 2 more rounds in first color and bind off.
Weave in ends. Hide it so your daughter doesn’t steal it.
Why am I so happy about this scarf? A lot of it has to do with the Berocco Indigo yarn, which is cottony and a bit nubbly, and light and airy when worked loosely. Every summer, when I’m sitting in air conditioning, wearing a t-shirt, I wish I had a scarf, loosely knit in a nice cotton or linen, that would keep me from clammy neck chills—especially in cars, which have a tendency to point cold air at your neck—but not feel hot and icky when I went back out into the actual weather.
This is not a Glow-up for a Summer Wedding Scarf. This is just a regular old Look Cute While Going About Your Business scarf. I wanted a scarf that did not require arrangement, adjustment or tying, hence the circular shape of this one. (You can’t really call it a cowl at this narrow width, can you? And “summer cowl” just sounds kind of wrong to me.)
I think it’s a plus if a summer scarf is blue and white, for nauticalness. This could be from my childhood in a landlocked state, raised by a woman who to this day favors navy with white top stitching, anchor appliqués, and labels like Sag Harbor and Cos Cob. (When I went to Sag Harbor for the first time, I was disappointed: all those boats, and no topstitching.) But of course, you could do this scarf in any combination of colors, a solid or a speckle.
My big girl really did snag this scarf for herself, a compliment I savored. Luckily I still had another skein-and-change of leftover Berroco Indigo, which is already on the needles for Summer Scarf the Second.
People Get Ready
The next installment of A Year of Techniques drops next Tuesday, April 3. Who knows what adventure awaits, what long-simmering problems we will solve? Well, actually we do know, and it’s gonna be fun.