January 23, 2014

Birthday Infinity Scarves

I have dubbed the year of 2013-2014 "the year of the scarf," in which I design and knit a unique scarf for several friend's birthday gifts. Now that it is halfway through the school year and in the middle of our high-pressure-and-sunny Californian winter, this is a great time to knit some new scarves, even if it is repeatedly 70˚F in January. It also helps that many of my friends have winter birthdays.

Infinity scarves are a trending form of scarf in which the ends are connected into one big loop. These scarves are actually easier to make than the traditional variety because they aren't as long and thus do not require as much yarn, time, or patience. 

After wandering through the realm of the "infinity scarf" search engine section of Ravelry, I found a few patterns that were visually appealing, suitable for chunky yarns, and realistic in difficulty, as each project had a concrete deadline--the recipient's birthday. I have knit three birthday scarves so far, one for a November birthday, one for December, and one for January.

--November, 2013--

I found the pattern for my November scarf of the season on Ravelry. You can find the "Stockholm Scarf" pattern here. While it you can knit this scarf in the round if you prefer, I didn't because I wanted to be in control of the final size of the scarf. The last time I knit a circular scarf in the round, the final size of the scarf was unknown until the end. This can be problematic if the scarf ends up being five feet longer than desired. And then I'd either have to cope with the failure and give an absurdly long scarf to a friend, or start over from scratch and endure a sleepless week as I attempted to still make my deadline. 

The yarn I used, Lion Brand's Homespun in a classic blue, also stretched considerably even after I sewed both ends together.

--December, 2013--

For my December Scarf, I decided to make up my own pattern. I picked out a lacy stitch pattern and chunky yarn to go along with it.

Scattered Eyelets Infinity Scarf Pattern
Yarn: 200 m (2 skeins) of Loops and Threads' Charisma in Lakeside
Needles: 10.5 (6.5 mm)
Other Materials: yarn needle, blocking materials (woolite, towels, pins, heavy textbooks)
Cast on 20 sts. (Pattern can be done in any multiple of four stitches.)
Row 1: K4, *yo twice, k4*; repeat * to *.
Row 2: P2, p2tog, p1, k1, *p2 tog twice, p1, k1*; repeat * to *, ending p2 tog, p2.
Row 3: K2, yo, *k4, yo twice*; repeat * to *, ending k4, yo, k2.
Row 4: P3, *p2tog twice, p1, k1*; repeat * to *, ending p3.
Repeat these four rows to continue pattern until desired length.
Cast off on the wrong side. Knit a stitch from the cast-on row and cast-off row together for each cast-off stitch. Weave in the ends, block, pin, and let dry for at least 24 hours. Because the yarn is 100% acrylic, blocking will not be 100% successful but is still worthwhile. 

I designed the pattern myself but got the stitch idea from:
Sterling Publishing Co.'s Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, p. 209 (2004).

k = knit
p = purl
yo = yarn over
p2tog = purl 2 stitches together

--January, 2014--

And for my January scarf, I picked out another stitch design, chose a yarn, and began the process again. I chose a stitch involving both lace and cabling because I want to be more experienced with cables but still love the lace look in scarves. I also knit this scarf width-wise, but in two segments because I wasn't sure how wide it should be at first. I had intended to make it all with two skeins, but I had to make multiple visits to the yarn store to order and buy a third because I didn't quite size it correctly. The pattern below will only use two skeins, though; I figured out what I did wrong!

 Cables & Lace Infinity Scarf Pattern
Yarn: 200 m (2 skeins) of Loops & Threads' Charisma in Dark Purple
Needles: 10.5 (6.5 mm) I used circular needles and knitted as if they were straight needles, but regular single-pointed needles work, too. 
Other materials: Cable needle, yarn needle, stitch marker (optional), blocking materials (Woolite, towels, pins, heavy textbooks)
Cast on 161 stitches to knit in one section width-wise. (You can knit in the round or not, but if you decide to do so, mark the beginning of a row with a stitch marker. If you want to knit lengthwise, cast on a multiple of 11 stitches + 7.)
Rows 1 & 5: K1, * yo, sl 1, k1, psso, k1, k2tog, yo, k6 * repeat * to *, ending k1.
Row 2 (all evens): P all.
Row 3: K2 * yo, double dec, yo, k1, 6st crossover, k1 * repeat * to *, ending k2.
Row 7: K2 *yo, double dec, yo, k8 * repeat * to *, ending k2. 
Repeat Rows 1-8 four times. 
Cast off, block, pin, and let dry for 24-48 hours. As yarn is 100%, blocking may not be 100% successful, but is still worth a try. Sew together two sides and if did not knit in round, and weave in yarn ends.

I designed the pattern myself but got the stitch idea from:
Sterling Publishing Co.'s Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, p. 209 (2004).

k = knit
p = purl
yo = yarn over
k2tog = knit two stitches together
psso = pass slipped stitch over knit stich
sl 1 = slip 1 as if to knit
double dec = double decrease (sl 1, k2tog, psso)
6st crossover = 6-stitch crossover (sl 3 to cable needle and hold in back of work, k3, k3 from cable needle)

More crafty projects to come! Thanks for tuning in. 

Happy Crafting,