After the triumphant finish to my Fort Tryon Wrap, I was casting about for my next take-along knitting project. I was also yearning, as always, for The Perfect Summer Scarf. Summer scarves are tricky. You want something cotton or linen or otherwise plant-fiberish. Or at least I do. I know many people who wear lightweight wool or cashmere in air-conditioned environments in summer, but I have never been one of them. In summer I cannot take the risk of animal fiber against potentially sweaty skin. Nope nope nope. Ew ew ew.
It’s been hard to find the right scarf. You can’t take any old scarf or wrap that was designed with wool in mind and just knit it up in linen or cotton. I know, because I’ve tried. Some patterns take to the plant fibers and some don’t. So I’ve kept my eyes peeled, and hoped that when my Summer Scarf 2016 came along, my inner voice would whisper at me and I’d know that it was The One.
The inner voice took a while. Julia Farwell-Clay‘s Metronome crescent shawl passed before my eyes several times. I liked it from the first, because: (1) asymmetrical graphics and (2) stripes. In May, I saw it at TNNA, being worn by Julia herself. I liked it even more, and may have been kind of loudly excited about it when we ran into Julia on the street that time, but still, it didn’t dawn until last week that THIS IS MY SUMMER SCARF RIGHT HERE.
The original version of Metronome is knitted in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, a lovely light mixture of wool and alpaca. I am often literal in my thinking, and Ultra Alpaca Light is, to me, strictly a cold-weather yarn. Blinded by alpaca, I didn’t see the summer in this scarf until I found myself wanting to knit something stripy to try out Berroco Indigo, a cotton yarn that is made from 100% recycled fibers. EUREKA! MR. METRONOME COME HERE I WANT TO SEE YOU.
On Sunday morning I cast on Metronome. It’s good fun to knit. There’s the garter stitch, which is a rollicking good time in almost any form. (Personal definitions of “rollicking” and “good time.”) But Metronome is garter stitch with a fun twist: intarsia. I know: I said “intarsia” and “fun” in the same sentence. Julia has schemed up a way of doing intarsia that does not involve using separate lengths of the colors, or bobbins, or any of that mess. Tangle factor: zero. Two balls of yarn and no nonsense. It’s so simple, but thinking of it required the kind of inventive spatial reasoning that got Matt Damon home in The Martian. (Spoiler: The Martian did not involve slipping stitches.) Six stripes in, I still have to look back at the pattern when it’s time for a new stripe, but I’m well in the groove at this point. It’s almost second nature. It’s fun to do something so dang clever, especially if I would never have thought of it myself. Well done, Julia, you brainiac.
(Notice what’s not in this picture? Dangling ends, that’s what. Neat as a pin. Sorcery!)
I’m loving the Berroco Indigo, too. I’m knitting it on the suggested size needle, US 7, which I wouldn’t ordinarily do. Because I’m a loose knitter, the US 7s are yielding a fabric that is more open than I’d want if I were making a sweater or blanket, but is perfect for the beachy scarf I have in mind. It’s smooth and soft, with a pronounced slink. No blue coming off on my hands as with that other denim-style yarn I may have written about elsewhere on this blog. (Rowan Denim: you are crispy as all heck but I can’t quit you.)
I’m going to knit stripes until I run out of the dark blue (“Denim”) and off-white (“Cut-Offs”), and then finish with a big stripe of tweedy blue and gray (“Overall”). (Yes, I chose the colors for their names as much as anything.) It’s going fast. I may have time to knit another one before summer is gone.