This has been finished for some time now and it has been waiting and waiting for there to be a still day. I wanted to take it down our lane and hold it so the background of ploughed fields and fresh green crops of spring could shine through. We have had some glorious weather over the past few weeks. However, in East Anglia where I live, in the middle of the country I have found it is always windy - if you use this scarf as a guide to wind. In that respect it is like Shetland but less windy. Always there was a breeze and the scarf wafted horizontally.
So I have given up on that and just draped it over my body duplicate and taken the photos inside.
This scarf is special to me for many reasons, but for two which I will share here.
The first is because it was designed by Kathleen Anderson. I have been fortunate to take a lace class with her in a Shetland Wool Week. I learnt things that I didn’t even know were possible and I so admire her skilled lace knitting and am in awe of the prizes she wins for this. The other is that this is the first scarf since I had eye ‘surgery’ in both eyes (1). I was not sure I could manage to knit fine thread and so choose this as it is slightly thicker than the yarn I spin. (2). I could only knit this for an hour or so a day, before my eyes complained. But that was fine. Our lounge has a large picture window where the light is particularly good for this sort of knitting.
I thought the repeats would be good for me, I love the lozenge columns of stitches separating the main repeats.
The pattern calls for 11 repeats, so 12 in all. Each repeat is a set of 56 rows, I only did 10 repeats. 2 x 25g balls of Shetland Supreme 1 ply were needed and I had one and a bit, so thought I would stop when I thought I was running out of yarn. (3)
I also used a knitting belt and raepin string throughout and know that both contributed to my good tension. On average I was able to knit 14 rows in my allotted time period and I averaged 9 rows an hour.
In all there was a bottom border of 11 rows, a centre of 11 x 56 rows and a final border of 10 rows. You can work out the total and see how many hours I took over knitting this scarf. However two further time frames need adding - taking back rows when I made a mistake and blocking after it was finished.
A close up of the scarf
To help myself I copied the page with the stitch chart on so I could blow it up and help my eyes. I also added the number of plain knit stitches between decrease, yarn overs etc onto the pattern. I placed this chart on a metal board and moved a strip magnet up each time I completed a row. I like to see the rows I have completed so I can check the pattern is working correctly. Yarn markers were used at each side edge and to mark 2 key stitches across the row. (4)
I am a firm believer in using elastic bands with double pointed needles and kept one on each end of the free needle (so no stitches can slip off) and when I leave my knitting I ensure that the ends are either held in rubber bands (5) or a stitch holder. I also kept a couple of finer dpns needles with me at all times, in case they were needed in ‘taking out’. I found they were like an insurance policy. If I could reach them I would not need them, if I had left them in the bag out of reach I would need them!!
This is the stitch holder used, this was bought at The Bod in Lerwick, home of the Shetland Textile Museum. I believe it was made by Britta’s husband. Britta is frequently found on the reception desk of the Bod.
Facts and Figures
Size 2.5mm needles dpns used, length 30 cm
Size during blocking 26cm x 141cm
Size when relaxed after blocking 24cm x 124 cm
Mass 26g (no wonder it finds any slight breeze)
It easily goes through a wedding ring, but that is only to be expected given its small size in Shetland Scarf/Shawl terms.
This is the linen project bag I made to keep it in during the knitting. I have lined, what was an embroidered linen chair back (unused) of my aunt’s with blackout lining to stop any stray needle ends poking though. The bag was large enough to also hold my magnetic board and the pattern.
I love this scarf and will wear it often. The next on my list is the Hinnywaar scarf, designed I think by Unst’s Hazel Laurenson. (post of 15Oct18). I treated myself to this when in Unst last wool week and have 2 balls of J and S cobweb yarn which have been sitting around for a time and so I am going to use them for this.
- Completely out of the blue the optician noticed from the eye pressures test that I was in danger of suffering from acute angle glaucoma, which I understand can happen suddenly. This can usually be prevented by a laser punching a small hole in the iris! I had this procedure in both eyes but unfortunately it did not solve the problem. However, with another attempt, which was more extensive it worked. Unfortunately the advice from the optician was not to get new glasses until the procedure was over. Even more unfortunately I had not gone to the optician even though I knew my vision had worsened. There is a moral here which I hope if you wear glasses and are a fine lace knitter in particular you have worked out!!
- Post of 26 Aug 17 shows some of my fine spun yarn
- J and S Shetland Supreme 1 ply yarn is 400m/25g
- As yarn markers I use a contrasting thread, made into a loop. This weighs very little and does not interfere with my knitting as some commercial yarn markers do.
- I find the rubber bands that come in packs of jam pot covers are an ideal size, and by twisting them I can get a permanent loop to move from one needle to another without having to do lots of twisting all the time.