26 November 2009

And now for something Completely Different...

With winter and Christmas fast approaching I've been knitting like a fiend, trying to whip up a few gifts as well as winter wear for myself (hats, mittens, and toasty socks being high on the list of woolen necessities). Pondering my next project, I had a revelation while working on the Floral Carpet in the main conservatory: why not knit a scarf in the floral carpet pattern? As I filled in the edge of the floral design with ivy, my knitting wheels were spinning; what kind of yarn I'd use, what kind of stitch patterns for which color, how on earth I'd go about charting it all out, once I get that figured out how do I write a knitting pattern anyway, how awful would the back look with all those colors carried over and ooooh wouldn't it be a good idea to knit it in the round with the design on both sides! My fingers were itching for the needle jug!

Well, lest anyone accuse me of being all talk, work on the Longwood 2009 Christmas Scarf of Joy is about to commence (I call it the Scarf of Joy because I am just so happy to have survived Christmas changeover and over-joyous that I get to sleep in for the next four days!).

I've never written a knitting pattern so this is all foreign territory. Cables and seed stitch and moss stitch, oh my! I have a general idea of how I want the finished scarf to look, taking into consideration the elements in the Floral Carpet and their textures, I just have to figure out how to do it! Here's what I have so far:

This is the magnificent Floral Carpet - the centerpiece of the conservatory Christmas display. Thanks to the design intern, Josh, I managed to get my hands on a printout of the pattern, which I then transferred to a graph-lined notebook and started making notes.

Then it was time to shop! I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a yarn snob but for the first time out designing a scarf I didn't want to invest all my overtime pay in five hanks of pricey cashmere (even though that would be oh, so nice!). Since it was already after four on Wednesday afternoon and the yarn shop closes at five and it's a holiday weekend and who knows whether the shop will be open on Friday and I'm really, really, really excited about this project and want to get it started RIGHT NOW, I went to Michael's and found some nice acrylic-merino in roughly the colors I originally imagined.

I figured the gold would be tricky to find but then I saw this yarn by in their Country line and the color was called 'Gilded Age'. Perfect! The yarn is soft and has a bit of a shine to it, which I think will give the scarf an elegant look. The red is called 'Claret' so it isn't the blazing holiday red of the Begonias in the floral carpet but I like the combination of yarn colors. They have a slightly muted, vintage tone. Besides, assuming this little project is a screaming success, who's to say I won't make more in other color combinations.

My tired little brain even took this a step further and thought what a great idea it would be to make the pattern available for sale with all the proceeds going toward my PG class's trip to Spain next year!? Not sure what kind of market there would be for a Longwood Christmas Scarf of Joy but one never knows until one tries, right? After a good night's sleep and a good Thanksgiving day meal, I plan to start knitting. It might take a while, what with all the hats, gloves, socks, and two other scarves commissioned by my dad for gifts, but I think it'll turn out great! And it'll be great show and tell for next month's knitting group!

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