Back in July my local yarn shop had a big sale and I bought an excessive amount of sock yarn for someone who doesn't knit socks. But it was all just so PRETTY and such a great price. I'm not the kind of knitter with a huge stash. I like to have projects lined up for my yarn and I like to move things through so that I can buy more yarn. I've got a few "too special to just knit any-old-thing" yarns, but these sock yarns didn't fall into that category, so I needed to find patterns that used just one skein of sock yarn. I searched online for patterns, but didn't really come up with anything. Then I thought of the old standby - Feather and Fan or Old Shale. There are a lot of Feather and Fan haters out there, but it's a great basic lace pattern which will teach the beginner some solid skills or for the more advanced (or lazy) it's an easy to memorize television watching project that turns out looking more complicated than it is. I think it looks best in variegated yarns and in the fine gauge of sock yarn I think it's very elegent. My finished scarf is about 6 feet long and about 6 inches wide and the colours and pattern together make me think of sun dappling through autumn leaves. In the photo it's wound around many times and what looks like pooling in the yarn is just shadows. I was lucky enough to find a charming model, although she was a little shy about posing. I don't claim to have invented this scarf pattern, I'm sure it's been done by generations of knitters before me, so we'll just call this a scarf recipe.
Feather and Fan Sock Yarn Scarf
You Need : one skein Fleece Artist Merino 2/6, or sock yarn of your choice.
: one pair straight needles, I used 3.25 mm.
Gauge: it's a scarf
Cast on 42 stitches
Knit 5 rows
From this point on the first and last 3 stitches of every row will be knit to form a border. The 36 stitches in the middle are your Feather and Fan. Feather and Fan is knit in multiples of 18, so if you would like your scarf to be wider and shorter you can add 18 stitches to this pattern and no less. You will still have your 3 stitch border on each side and your lace in the middle.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit 3, *[K2 tog] 3 times, [yo, k1] 6 times, [k2 tog] 3 times, rep from * to last 3 stitches, Knit 3
Row 4: Knit
Continue these 4 rows until you're almost out of yarn. End with 5 knit rows, cast off, block and there's your scarf! Do take the time to block it. It will stop the curling, even out the stitches and just make it look so much better.
I finally talked David into taking a little time off, and although we did nothing much except stay up late, sleep in late, eat chips and enjoy each others company, it was a glorious 9 days. We talked about a trip to the big city, but decided on the frugal fun of a thriftaganza instead. A thriftaganza happens about once every 2 years or so. We hit the road early and drive from south to north, visiting as many thrift stores as we can before they close at 5. It involves 5 different cities, so there's strategy involved as you can't get to them all. Once the stores are closed we have dinner somewhere tasty and head home. Really, it's fun. Honest. Our thriftaganza partner this year was our friend Glen, who found some fine treasures. My haul was moderate, but it's about the journey, not the stuff, ultimately. I might forget what I bought this trip but I will never, ever forget that terrifying candle at the Salvation Army. NEVER. So what did I get? Well, there was a big stack of fabrics, including a huge piece of amazingly eye-popping vintage seventies floral and a whole lot of navy blue corduroy. I bought a lot of old children's books. Many of them are in really rough shape but some of them were as cheap as a nickel! I've seen some fabulous work out there using images cut *shudder* from books, but I'm just not there yet. Just the thought of taking a pair of scissors to a book makes me feel oogy. But maybe I'll get over it, and if I do , I've got some great materials. I Guess my big find of the day was the classic tweety bird cage that is perfectly rusty and will make some fine garden art. This isn't the right spot for it, but I liked the way the autumn sun was lighting it up. I don't know whether to hang it from a tree or find a spot to tuck it in amongst the plants.
Maybe it skips a couple of generations? My Mom certainly doesn't sew - not even a button. I think the last thing she sewed was a clown costume for me when I was very little. She accomplished that by having me lay down on the doubled fabric and then she traced around me in a clown costume-y type shape and sewed the two pieces together. This is where I would put in the photo of the ultra-cute preschooler me in the clown costume if we were the kind of family that took a lot of photos. The clown costume was a success, but after that, although I had some great imaginative Halloween costumes, they were never really sewn, always more assembled. My two Grandmothers were both crafty and I learned many things from them - embroidery, knitting, crocheting and the basics of hand sewing, but neither of them really sewed. Now my Great-Grandmother not only sewed, but she fed her family on the money she made making clothes for people, she drafted all her own patterns and made all their bedding, including pillows, and her 10 children were always beautifully dressed in the latest fashions. No one would know that these clothes had often been re-made from things like discarded men's coats. When you see the photos of my Nanny and her sisters and brothers you would never guess that they were a family just making ends meet in the depression. The clothes were fabulous and the workmanship, style and attention to detail is obvious. I had my first real exposure to machine sewing in Grade 8 Home Ec, where I made some terribly put together, hideous, ill-fitting things, hated every moment of it and swore I would never sew again. But for some reason I signed up to take it again in Grade 9, where I continued to swear and cry through every project. Why do they make beginning sewers have to make something that is supposed to fit? Did anyone in that class end up with something they could wear? I still break out in a sweat when I think about having to ever sew a pointed collar again. Sewing? Not for me. I thought I was done, but then I headed off to study theatre at university and all the first years had to put in their time in the costume shop and I found myself in front of a sewing machine again. Oh it was still often frustrating, but for some reason I seemed to be okay at it. And I managed to fool people that I was much better than I was and I actually even got paid a few summers to make costumes when I really didn't think I could do much of anything. I couldn't draft a pattern, put in a zipper, make a buttonhole or thread the serger, but I managed to keep my job. My trick was to take on the tedious hand sewing jobs that no one else wanted to do. 300 feet of hand sewn hems on all the period dresses? No problem. Beading a bodice? Just my thing. Millinery? My specialty. Oh and ruffles. I was the queen of ruffles. And ironing. I did a lot of ironing. I was there in that linty, creative atmosphere day after day and over time I learned a few tings, although I still couldn't put in a zipper or make a buttonhole or draft a pattern . I put away sewing for a long time, thinking that it was too stressful for me and that I wasn't any good at it. Then a few years ago I started re-connecting with my crafty self. It all started with me taking up knitting for stress relief, but soon I found myself online, looking at all the great sewn stuff you all make and I wondered if I could sew something? A softie maybe? I still had a sewing machine - the same old Kenmore my Mom made my clown costume on - so I pulled it out and discovered that I could sew. It was...strange...almost magical. Was it just matured logical thinking skills that all of a sudden the mysteries of sewing made sense to me? For the first time I could follow directions and think things through and figure out the steps of a project. Was it those summers spent in the costume shop? Was it all the Project Runway I watched? Zippers? No problem. Buttonholes? Still a pain, but I can manage. Pattern drafting and making something that fits? This book changed my world. All of a sudden I understood darts. And ease. And I started making softies and skirts and zippered pouches and pillows and there was no crying! No swearing! I actually enjoyed it! So I guess now I can declare that I really do sew. Although I'm still not ready to even think about anything with a collar...
The food processor wasn't the only new toy that entered our house recently. Yes, I'm going to use it for sewing and to occasionally iron a tablecloth, but this beauty is really for David. My hardworking man has to dress up for work, so he irons almost every single day. I HATE ironing clothes, so David is the official ironer in this family. Previously we've had nearly disposable irons that would work okay for awhile and then start leaking or spewing scrungy stuff all over the clothes. We wouldn't replace them, and it would make David's life miserable for months on end until we finally shelled out for another cheapo iron. If it's going to be used every day, we thought we'd go for a quality product that hopefully will last a lot longer than our other iron purchases and maybe will be a little easier to use. I haven't had a chance to iron with it yet, but it does seem to have a massive amount of steam and it has a pleasant heft in my hand. I like a nice heavy iron so I don't have to push down too hard. Having the new iron hasn't made me want to take over ironing David's shirts for work, but it does make me eager to get sewing!
Sometimes I don't think it's safe to send David out shopping by himself. He was supposed to just be helping a friend buy a camera, but instead he came home with this ultra-shiny food processor for me and I didn't even have to wait until Christmas to enjoy it! If I'd been there I'm sure I would have talked him out of it as we've got lots of other things we should be spending our money on, but David knows it's something I've always wanted and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it. I'm kind of reluctant to use it, as it's just so nice and NEW and BRIGHT right now and I know it won't be for long once it's put to work. I've named her Maria after the robot in Metropolis. Certainly I'm not the only person who names my appliances, am I?