For pity’s sake, I thought I was going to be making a striped scarf. But the mysteries of multicolored yarn have taken me on a little odyssey this weekend.
First of all. To all who have jumped on the Colorwash Scarf Superfast Springtime Knitalong, welcome! (Details here.) It’s a quick trip, I’m finding, but it’s like going to Mammoth Cave, just an hour up the road from Nashville, only to discover vast caverns of surprise lurking right under my nose.
How long have we been working on Field Guide No. 3? Since the Carter era? The Roaring ’20s? I feel like Kirsten Kapur’s Colorwash Scarf has been a part of my life for a very long time. But I’ve waited to make it because it’s more fun to make things with fellow knitters.
A couple of things about this Colorwash Scarf are such a surprise.
Surprise No. 1: Color
I’m making the two-color version of the scarf, using the Pewter and Marsh Lily colorway from our Colorwash Scarf kits.
Marsh Lily swatch. ZING!
I was dazzled by the color of this swatch, and happy to see the way Kirsten’s cluster stitch pattern turns the color shifts into a tweed effect. Of course, I knew this was what would happen, given that we’ve been staring at this scarf since padded shoulders roamed the Earth.
Still. It’s one thing to look at a pattern and another thing to make it yourself.
I started knitting the pattern in my earnest way, spending a tender moment winding the second color, Pewter, which is definitely a yarn I would put on my shortlist of Most Beautiful Yarns. Pale gray. What is there not to love about pale gray?
Pewter. AKA pale gray.
I looked forward to seeing the two-row stripes emerge once I got a few rows done.
Well. It became clear really fast that adding the Pewter to the Marsh Lily was not going to result in any kind of recognizable two-row stripe pattern.
See the stripes here? Yeah, me neither.
Of course, none of this occurred to me before I started this thing—even though I have seen a finished version in this colorway. Not paying attention, clearly. Delirious. Too much maple syrup in my diet. I don’t know what to think.
Ann Weaver’s recent MDK article, “Color: A Cheerful Guide for Knitters, Part 3” explains all about value, which is what’s at work here. Similar values mean low contrast, which means the stripes are not going to be obvious. It’s all blending into a tweedy fabric that is a muted version of the Marsh Lily that I swatched.
The curve of the pattern, combined with an openwork stitch pattern and two yarns that have similar values, means it’s just a big ol’ color party.
Stripes or not, isn’t it pretty?
Surprise No. 2: Curviness
Maybe it’s because I’m not a frequent knitter of the curvy scarves, the crescents, the swooshes, the non-linear neckwear that everybody else in the universe has made a million times.
It’s just such a surprise, the curviness.
It’s not a complicated thing: a crescent shape happens when you decrease at one edge of a scarf, then increase at the other edge. One edge pinches slowly, the other releases, slowly.
It makes for a lovely shape as I knit, and it’s going to be especially fun to block it and to see the stitch pattern open up.
I just can’t get over the curviness. Look at that thing! It’s all, you know, curvy.