Tuesday, August 16, 2011

new all knit 2-color scarf pattern - Update - Pattern Available

We are coming down to the finish line for the Super Scarves project (creating over 8,000 handmade knit, crochet, and woven scarves to be worn by the volunteers for the 2012 Super Bowl hosted by the City of Indianapolis).  Over 7500 have been turned in - and we are going to keep going through the end of Nov.  I continue to teach knitting 101 at local libraries to help even more people get engaged in this effort.  I've gotten a real kick out of those classes!  So much fun to see the point where each knitter finds success. 
Many of these new knitters are choosing to knit garter stitch scarves - beautiful, non-rolling, reversible fabric that is generally color blocked in some manner to use the blue and white colors that have been selected for the Super Scarves.

Garter Stitch - "public" side
But I continue to want to offer some of the more adventurous knitters other options for easy 2-color patterns.  I've explored mosaics, which result in beautiful, complex designs on the right side.  The one down side is that the designs aren't reversible.  Many people really prefer their scarves to be reversible.  But even a color blocked or striped garter stitch scarf isn't reversible.  Look at this swatch - the right side shows garter stitch (knit every row) with the color changed every two rows to create narrow stripes.  I've used red and cream cause I'm working on a scarf for a soon to be freshman at IU (and everyone needs a break from blue and white eventually).
Garter Stitch - "non-public"side 
Like all garter stitch, this fabric is non-rolling - a plus for a scarf.  And changing colors every 2 rows means both colors can be carried up the edge of the scarf  - so no need to cut and weave in ends (a real plus for me). But as you can see, there is a difference between side 1 and side 2.  There's no way to avoid the variegated rows on side 2.  It's the nature of the beast when changing colors.

But what if we could make that little variegation work for us instead of against us.  By just introducing one slight change, we can make an entirely different pattern.  Take a look at this next swatch - both sides are exactly the same.  (here I've used some super bulky yarns so the stitch definition shows up, and I'm letting my Michigan side show through!)

And the fabric remains non-rolling.  What was the one little change?  Just knit 1 row of each color at a time instead of 2.  So the pattern goes like this.  Cast on in blue, knit 1 row yellow, knit 1 row blue, knit 1 row yellow, knit 1 row blue... you get the picture.  Fascinating no?  This creates those lovely little 2-color raised ribbons on a stockinette background.

Cool, sure, but if I only knit one row of each color at a time, won't I have to cut and rejoin the yarn every row????  That's way too many ends to weave in, and a huge waste of yarn.  Here's the trick:  use a double point needle or a circular needle instead of typical straights.   I vote for the circular if you have to go purchase some 'cause they are so versatile.  Everything you can do on straights, you can do on a circular needle, but you can do so much more on a circular. 

Now for the trick - after you've knit the first row - do not turn your work to knit the next row.  Instead, slide all the stitches back to the other end of the needle, and the other color of yarn should be waiting there for you.  Knit across with that color, and now both colors should now be at the same end of the needle.  Now you can turn and work each color back across, one color at a time, in the same order as established on the previous row.

What ever color you knit first across the row will form the outside bumps on the raised "ribbon".  In this swatch, the blue was knit first, followed by the yellow.  An entirely different look is created.

Have fun with this technique - I'll be writing up a pattern for a Super Scarf using this technique shortly.   UPDATE -  The pattern is available over on the right hand side of the blog under the complimentary patterns section - look for "The Trick Play Scarf."


  1. Sarah, this is something I can handle, lol! Great idea!