One of my favourite things is, of course, knitting! I have been out of action recently as I had a repetitive strain injury on my right hand and thumb, quite likely caused by too much knitting. I am being very careful on my return to yarn addiction… BUT I am back!
I am a big fan of the “Ravelry” website and made my debut posts there as “Clarinutty” when I first got back into knitting a couple of years ago. I still have my user area but haven’t updated my projects in quite a while. On the site, I spotted a really inspiring project called “My Favourite Things Infinity Scarf” and thought immediately that it was something I must try too. Here is the link: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/my-favourite-things-infinity-scarf
Jill McGee has to get loads of credit for her creation and for sharing it online. She provided some charts she used but mostly encourages us knitters to seek out or make up our own designs. The aim is to make something personal, meaningful and fun. So far, the cute, fluffy sheep seem to be the most popular with lovely comments on my personal Facebook page. They can be found here (again on Ravelry): http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stranded-sheep-scarf
Of course, there are some ideas that are common to many of us knitters and a whole tradition of stranded-knitting to call upon for decorative segments of design. With fellow enthusiasts upholding the old school, but also bringing in the new, it becomes a process that grows and evolves. And with website communities and blogs ike this one the net is spread wider and access to materials is immediate. Even if you borrow a chart, it will always look different depending on the context of where it is and the colours/yarns use. Meanwhile, your own humble creation may turn up, unbeknown to you as the designer, on any kind of garment, anywhere in the world!.
Ravelry is a great site that encourages and facilitates just this kind of online sharing. Linked into Jill McGee’s original project are those projects made by other Ravelry members, even my own now as a “work in progress.” By clicking some of these linked projects, I could see what other knitters had made of this project, how they had made it their own. I found quite a few patterns that would fit my ideal scarf and it also started the creative process for me to draw up my own charts.
Then I found this website where I could draw up my own patterns charts and print: http://www.tricksyknitter.com/knitting-chart-maker/
Again, there are some charts shared freely. First I adapted an existing cat chart by altering its body shape and legs, keeping the head much the same. I drew in a heart (what was only a background colour space) for artistic and practical purposes, in stranded knitting it is always harder to keep winding in the ends behind a long line of the same colour. Once I got used to the chart maker, I started to make my own patterns like notation, as I am musician, and a “fika” idea to illustrate my adopted love of Swedish coffee time. I still have my squared-paper notepad with my designs as I really am a paper and pencil girl when it comes to drawing. I also have the most excellent “bible” of traditional Scandinavian designs by Sheila McGregor. And so the research goes on (sometimes with a Tiger on my lap), and so the knitting continues…
I am slightly alarmed by how much I notice the things around me and think: I know, I could chart that! Like, my Mum’s plates and my bag, or even when I am out and about!
The best thing is this really is a great stash buster. I am on half-term holidays and staying at my parents where I had to leave a fair bit of yarn when I moved to Stockholm and didn’t want to alarm my poor awaiting Swede by arriving with one box too many. Also Mum had some odds and ends of various colours and we realised that, between us, we had lots of yarn that needed using up. My cat, Mina, helped me sort out a delightful array of colours. I am using some acrylic and some wool but all pretty much the same thickness and knitting on 4mm circular needles. My, this is going to be warm will all this stranded knitting!
It will be fun to see how this turns out and how long this scarf will be. The idea is to keep going and then join both ends into a circular “infinity” scarf. I didn’t get on well with the “provisional cast on” so I might actually go with a traditional long wrap and just sew the ends up but not necessarily together in a join. We will see. Certainly “infinity” is a good word as it feels like the possibilities are endless…
Warning: If you are thinking of doing this project, it is highly addictive!
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