Friday, January 9, 2009

how to make non-embarassing scarves for the men in your life

I made a scarf for my dad for Christmas, just something he could wear to golf or rake leaves or whatever and not look silly.  Something like the Harry Potter scarves (but fringe-less):  wide stripes, no fancy stitches, vaguely preppy.  To me, this is the platonic ideal of scarfness.

Since my dad is a confirmed wool-hater, I used Berillo Comfort DK in maroon and gray.  I used size 8 needles, which seems huge for the weight of yarn but it was just right (the ribbing keeps things tight enough, and you want the scarf to be drapey anyway, not too firm).  All I did was cast on 54 stitches and work four inches of K2P2 ribbing, then work the rest of the scarf in K1P1 ribbing, alternating colors every four inches until the scarf was long enough (about 60 inches), and then work another four inches of K2P2 ribbing in the same color I started with.  

The only tricky bit was how to address the edges. I feel like generally the edges of anything I knit look sloppy, and I had read that the solution is to slip the first stitch of every row.  But when I did this it looked like crap.  Check out the stitches toward the left here:

Super sloppy.  The stitches toward the right are where I didn't slip a stitch, but just worked the entire row in the normal K1P1 pattern, which is what I wound up doing for the entire scarf, after ripping out the two feet of rows where I had slipped the first stitch (boo).  I'm not sure what I did wrong--is the problem that I was ending each row with a purl stitch?  Who knows.  The scarf turned out pretty damn well, which is good when you spend six weeks knitting something. 

How awesome would it be if I had a picture of the finished product, complete with staticky dog hair?  But I finished the scarf on Christmas eve, too late for photos, and then failed to corner my dad for a photo shoot the next day.

Anyway, this project:
1.  Kept my hands busy for six weeks
2.  Cost about $12, which is pretty great for a gift
3.  Will not embarass my father, which is also pretty unusual for a gift
4.  Does not feature any photographs of Joseph, which is extremely unusual in gifts these days
5.  Is probably machine washable

Hooray for me. 

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