Sunday, November 22, 2009

A LOT CAN BE SAID ABOUT A GOOD SCARF.


The inspiration
One of the handiest items you can have in your wardrobe is a good scarf. All kinds of scarves are available in a variety of materials, colors and textures, but you don’t need a bunch of them. You just need a silk or cotton one in summer and a wool flannel or knitted scarf in winter. Choose a neutral color that goes well with almost any other thing you might wear. For even more versatility, you should have four scarves -- one large square and another oblong (rectangular) shaped – two for summer and two for winter. If you have as many as four scarves, one or two of them should be multicolor or otherwise have a pattern that adds more interest.

Even a simple and plain outfit can be made into something interesting with the addition of a scarf. They are handy and look beautiful, and these days, what with our lack of extra cash, we have to make the most of everything in our closets. So, instead of shopping for more clothing, let accessories, like the scarf, update your wardrobe. And, of course, as the really cold weather arrives, your scarves will keep your neck warm.

You need to learn how to tie and fold scarves in various ways. You can loosely tie it around your neck, or use it as a headband or head wrap or drape it like a shawl on your shoulders. Besides the more conventional uses, a scarf can also become a belt, a halter-top or even worn on your waist as a short sarong. Beyond that, to most everyone’s surprise, the square scarf is making a fashion comeback. Remember the classic Marilyn Monroe movie where she wore the white square scarf folded in a triangle on her head – babushka style? The same vintage look is back and it’s as elegant as ever. (Actually, Grandma Susan, as you might imagine, always chooses comfort and warmth over stylishness and never stopped wearing her scarves babushka style.)

Handcrafters find scarf knitting to be an easy opportunity to use their creativity. They can experiment with different threads, primarily cotton, wool and acrylics, along with colors, textures, shapes and sizes and come up with any number of dramatic successes. Lengths for scarves are totally variable. And, as for widths - a sheer scarf may be 3 inches wide, whereas a warm muffler may be up to 8 inches wide.

Some different kinds of scarves
Hand knitted scarves can be made from several different knit patterns. Here are some simple patterns that even beginner knitters can do. They are quick to make and much appreciated as gifts.

Horizontal Stitch Scarf: It is a very easy knitting pattern, which is knit from side to side, using just knit and purl stitches.

Condo Knit Scarf: This pattern uses two different sized needles on two different rows of the same project. Since it produces a light lacy pattern, a condo knit scarf is a perfect accessory for the springtime.

Cabbage Row Stitch Scarf: This is an easy double knit stitch, which adds a lot of texture and warmth. As a variation on the garter stitch, this stitch has the added advantage of looking the same on both sides – front and back - of the knitting.

The pattern
I’ll share with you the pattern for the horizontal stitch scarves that I just made as Christmas presents for my two little granddaughters. (I also made them warm, matching pull-on headbands, using the same yarn and the cabbage row stitch.)

I used size 13 needles and two strands of heavy acrylic and nylon yarn – red and gray for one little girl and brown and green for the other. Because of the big needles and the heavy yarn, this was a super fast project -- each scarf taking just a few hours to complete.

I cast on 11 stitches and used:
Purl 2, knit 1, purl 2, knit 1, purl 2, knit 1, and purl 2 for the front side.
Only purl for the back.

The scarves are 40 inches long (small child-size), not counting the 3-inch fringe on each end. Each scarf took only about 5 ounces of yarn.

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