Friday, February 25, 2011

Next Super Scarf Pattern - Dash to the Finish

I have been multi-tasking with my knitting pattern development lately, by joining the Super Scarves effort with the Project Yarnway finals over on Ravelry.  For PY, we've had 3 months to design, knit, and style a 5 piece "collection" that has to be posted up on the runway thread by midnight Feb 28.  I had some grand ideas about a brioche collection initially, but my Super Scarf commitments were becoming serious competition for the time that I would have needed to design and knit up 5 brioche pieces.  So I decided that my "collection" would be 5 Super Scarf designs.  I have been working with a lot of new knitters in conjunction with numerous super scarves events, and they became my inspiration.

The rules for these scarf designs were fairly simple.  Each pattern has to be easy enough that a person with basic knitting skills (knit, purl, cast on, bind off) could complete their scarf with confidence.  That meant no cables, twisted stitches, entrelac, intarsia, or stranded knitting.  Now I'm not saying that new knitters can't accomplish these techniques, because of course they can  - but I have found that some of these techniques can be a bit intimidating.  I wanted to design patterns that new knitters could easily tackle and would yield spectacular looking results. 

My go to for inspiration has been slipped stitches. So simple, yet so powerful in two-color knitting.  It sure looks like you have to knit with both colors at the same time, but in reality, it's one color knit for two rows at a time.  I did allow some purling, if the rows were simple enough, but in all cases a knit could be substituted for the purl if the knitter was just more comfortable that way.

Here's my 4th design for the runway:  Dash for the Finish - the pattern is available for download over on the right hand side of the blog under the Complimentary Pattern section .

 This is cast on for the long side for a couple of reasons: 1) I kept getting requests and questions like Why do you have to knit from the short end up?  2) I thought it might be faster - and it was, although I don't have scientific evidence to support this, and 3) new knitters often add stitches at the beginning of the row, which can really make a scarf go all wonky pretty darn quick at the beginning, and then they are stuck, with no good fix 'cept frogging the hole darn thing, and 4) every new knitter needs to practice casting on!  I've included instructions for a modified long tail cast on method that gives the speed of the long tail method minus the angst over how long to make the tail.

While the pattern is written as a 12 row repeat, there are really only 2 rows with any action other than knit.  So, it can be quickly memorized.  The result is a textured, non-rolling fabric with a fairly attractive reverse side.  The stitch pattern is adapted from the Windowpane Stripe pattern presented in Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, Schoolhouse Press, 1998, p. 58.

I hope you enjoy this pattern.  And be sure to visit the Project Yarnway Finals over on Ravely and vote for your favorites.  (search in Groups for Project Yarnway).

Right Side Detail

Reverse Side Detail - not altogether unattractive if not a truely reversible design.