Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring temptation

A trip to the LYS is always dangerous but in the spring, it's even worse. I needed to buy yarn for a donation to Brenda Novak's fundraising auction for juvenile diabetes (the Yarnies donated a fabulous gift bag which I'll post a link to once it's up on the auction site) so I walked in the door. Big mistake! All the spring yarns were in and the colors called to me like sirens. I was bored with the white lace scarf and the Wake Forest scarf and the throw that I've barely knitted three lo-o-ong rows on. I wanted something fun and breezy and fast to work on.

Here it is: a scarf (of course) on No. 17 needles in Colinette Giotto "Fresco #147". I love the fact that the yarn is from Wales.

I've never knitted with a "ribbon" yarn before and wanted to try it out. The Lovely Yarn Lady suggested garter stitch with an occasional row of double-wrapping to give the scarf some funky texture (which I hope you can see in the photo below).

So I cast on 16 stitches (well, actually I cast on 10 first, knitted for about three feet and decided it was way too narrow so I ripped it all out and started over as my DH looked on in disbelief). I do the double-wrap every seven rows. I think it's really fun and funky.

It's a bit of an adjustment to knit with these gigundo needles (which I show beside the cable remote to give you a sense of scale). I find I'm much more loosey-goosey with the ribbon yarn and big needles, a fun contrast to my usual smaller-than-gauge style.

I do have one question for the experts: do you block this sort of yarn? I forgot to ask the Lovely Yarn Lady and I'm afraid to go back into the store for fear of being tempted by another spring project.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL on being afraid to walk through the door ... call her!

And another thought - my LYS owner, who is teaching me to knit, just showed me a ribbon-yarn scarf she finished. She knit the whole thing in garter stitch, and on the final row she knit one, DROPPED one, knit one, DROPPED one, all the way across while binding off.

Then she took the scarf in both hands and PULLED - the alternate stitches ran like spilled milk, all the way back to the beginning, and gave it a lovely texture.

Oh, and she's not gonna block that one, if it helps.


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did have to smile about not wanting to go back into the shop. It's beyond addicting, isn't it?
This scarf is lovely!
I tried ribbon yarn a couple of years ago and actually still have a scarf partially finished. I think I used a #8 or #9 needle. What I didn't like was how it kept slipping on the wooden needles. Maybe I should return to it and finish it up once and for all.
Yours is really pretty! Nice job.

5:04 PM  
Blogger LisaB said...

What beautiful colors! So wrapping means you wrap around the needle two times every seven rows? Anonymous comment that just dropped the stitches and then pulled was fascinating. How long did she knit it and how long was it after she pulled? I am learning so many new things!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Nephele said...

Giotto is a synthetic as well as being a ribbon. This is important. Synthetics tend to go limp if you block them. My advice would be not to block it.

I have a shirt made a Giotto that a (smaller) friend made for herself. Over time the thing grew to the point where she couldn't wear it anymore. Now it's getting a bit big on me!

Remember that when deciding how long to make your scarf. Don't bury the yarn end from the bind off too well. You can always rip back a bit and bind off again if it gets too long.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Cat E. said...

This is crazy but I just finished a dropped stitch scarf using a ribbon yarn, which I had never used before. The only difference between ours is the colors used! I have extra yarn that I think I'm going to use to make a fringe with it. Any ideas if it would look good with a fringe?

Oh as far as the LYS thing, I have the exact same problem! If I walk in, I walk out with a bag of yarn and some needles too.

12:43 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth L in Apex, NC said...

Definitely call the LYS - avoid temptation at all costs! (Unless you need a pick-me-up, then run right over!)

I have a top made from this yarn. I recommend blocking it, sort of. I laid mine out to shape, which took some time as the stitches are slippery, then laid a towel over it and steamed that. Somehow it helped to set the stitches in place better.

Cat E., I don't believe this ribbon would make good fringe. I think the edges are unsightly. Maybe a loop edging instead?

6:54 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

You guys are an absolute treasure trove of good information! Thanks for all the compliments too!

I'm going to avoid blocking, I think (although the steam idea appeals to me since I like things squared off, a terrible character flaw). I hate blocking anyway.

Terri, I have the same problem with the ribbon yarn slipping off the needles--or rather the needles slipping out of the yarn. I kind of prop the needles on my lap so they won't slip out so easily.

LisaB, yes, each stitch you knit, you wrap the yarn twice around the needle. Then on the next row, you knit normally THROUGH JUST ONE LOOP of the doubled stitches and let the rest of the ribbon yarn unwind so you get that looooong expanse of open work.

Nephele, thanks so much for warning me about the stretching issue. I was just looking at the length last night and debating how much farther to knit.

Elizabeth L, please tell us about "loop edging" because I was having the same debate about a fringe. How do you do it?

8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The scarf was about six feet long. Length didn't change, and neither did width. But instead of horizontal open work, she had it vertically. It made sort of a ribbed effect. I wish I'd thought to take a picture...


10:31 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

This is one I wouldn't bother to block--it's not going to curl up on you because it's garter stitch, and most ribbon yarns just don't block in the way that I think of blocking for. You might want to hand wash it and lay it flat to dry, but anything more than that is probably unnecessary.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Lynne W, that scarf sounds very cool, and gutsy!

Okay, Cathy, no blocking for this baby. Can you hear me sighing with relief?

9:41 PM  
Blogger mamakin said...

Your scarf is beautiful. I used to make scarfs like that til I found the pattern "Shape it! Scarf" in Sally Melville's book 1:the knit stitch, from her series "the knitting experience". She's got a ton of great patterns & on pg 46 is the best scarf yet. It's like a 4"wide scarf at the ends, but ~10" in the center. and 66-86" across. It may sound weird, but I've made dozens as gifts & requests from those who have seen it on our mutual friends! It's made with ribbon yarn & Melville recommended, regardless of what label says, to press heavily on both sides with the iron on wool setting. It changed the fabric into something truly amazing,soft & delicious! She noted that if you didn't do this the ribbon "may be a lumpy and unlovely thing". The choice of course is a personal one, but I'd definitely take a peek at her book-she's got it pictured throughout in different yarns.
Happy knitting!

2:40 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

mamakin, sounds right up my alley. I will check it out for sure. Thanks so much for putting me on the trail!

8:56 AM  

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