When someone special asks for something special knitted for them it’s difficult for me to say no. Instead I say “yes” followed by deferral tactics…
“Here’s my current list, your request is going at the bottom and the list is subject to change or re-prioritisation.”
Then I put the list into perspective for them.
“I only complete 2 or 3 knitted items per year because I’m slow at knitting.”
Adding, only if I really don’t want to do it “you provide the yarn” because they won’t know what yarn to get.
It’s not that I don’t want to make things for other people, quite the opposite in fact. I want to make them something they will love and they will use for a long time. When you live with the person making the request there are a number of advantages: you know they are very aware of the time invested in hand-knitted items, you know them well enough that their request has been carefully thought out, you know that they’ve asked for something that they will cherish and that the design inspiration is something they hold close to their heart.
And you know they’ll wait patiently if it takes 2 years to start the project and a further 3 months to complete it.
The request was a stripped scarf in specific colours. Finding an exact colour match was a little tricky but together we managed to find the right pairing with a reasonable yarn weight (I really did not want to knit a gentleman’s scarf in fingering weight yarn). Cascade yarns superwash (aran weight) in Navy (2 skeins) and Ruby (1 skein) was purchased from Deramores (<— refer a friend link).
A few crude design diagrams easily solved the horizontal or vertical stripe debacle and online images provided an idea of possible variations of ribbing (other non-curling stitch patterns were shunned by the requester due to stripe disruption). We settled on 3 x 3 ribbing which is nicely balanced by the three stripes. I have typed up the pattern at the end of this post. Although it’s only a basic beginner level pattern, I have already been asked for it by a relative who saw me knitting it and I know (from not so long ago) that it’s nice if you are new to knitting to have instructions for basic patterns.
Desperate to try inject some interest in this project (let’s face it, 3 x 3 ribbing is hardly exciting) I cast on and off in ribbing. I like the look of this visually blending well with the pattern and it’s practical too because the edges have the same amount of stretch as the main body of work.I also used Ysolda’s tips for avoiding ears when casting off the last stitch. There is no reason why a boring pattern shouldn’t be treated with care to give a perfect finish.
I decided that 1.5m was a minimum length for a men’s scarf and exceeded this target to use up all the yarn. The red ran out first, navy could have gone another two rows!
Final scarf statistics were 16cm x 168cm, 72 stitches per row (24 per colour stripe) and 388 rows. That’s 27,936 stitches knitted with love on 4.5mm needles.
3 x 3 Rib Horizontal Stripe Scarf
Cast on 72 stitches (24 stitches of each colour) in 3 x 3 ribbing – cast on *3 knitwise, 3 purlwise, repeat from *
The three stripes will not be connected at this stage.
Knit 3 x 3 ribbing:
For every row *knit 3, purl 3, repeat from * to end of the row.
To change to a new colour:
Take both the old and new colour yarn to the back of the work through the gap in the needles.
Pick up the new working yarn from underneath the old working yarn.
Begin knitting with the new working yarn (the old yarn can stay at the back of the work).
Pull the working yarn after the first stitch to snug up the stitches and prevent holes.
Continue in 3 x 3 ribbing.
Cast off in 3 x 3 ribbing – knit 2 pass the first knit stitch over the second.
*Knit 1, pass the previous stitch over this new knit stitch.
Purl 1, pass the previous knit stitch over this purl stitch.
Purl 1, pass the previous purl stitch over this purl stitch.
Purl 1 pass the previous purl stitch over this purl stitch.
Knit 1, pass the previous purl stitch over this knit stitch.
Knit 1, pass the previous knit stitch over this knit stitch.
Repeat from * until one stitch remains on the needle.
Cut the yarn and pull through.
Weave in ends.