Friday, November 30, 2007

Backyard Mama

Backyard Leaves Scarf
Rebootyall, because I'm worth it. (insert hair flip here)

Stick a fork(ed end) in it, it's done! Despite that minor... ahem... setback at the beginning, the Backyard Leaves Scarf was a sweet, smooth, sailin' ride.

Freedom, ooohhh freedom, yeaah freedom, yeees freedom!
This pattern was SO much fun to knit. Of course, I may just be saying that because I was trapped in ribbing hell for what seemed like forever and a day and you know, give a starving girl a cracker and she'll think it's filet mignon. But who the hell cares, it was all fun and good times!

Okay, maybe not the reboot part, but once I started anew, the scarf went by very smoothly. I haven't had much experience knitting with a big ass chart like this one, but it only took a repeat or so to get the swing of it. Of course, it helped that I enlarged chart on a photocopier. And marked all the wrong-side rows with a red arrow. And numbered any blank-box sequences that were longer than 5 stitches. But hey, whatever works, right? (I for one think charts should just have one symbol for any given stitch no matter what side it's on, but maybe I'm just picky that way.)
Backyard Leaves Scarf

No rollin', rollin', rollin', my slip stitch keeps from rollin'...

I didn't memorize the chart but it's fairly intuitive, so after a couple of repeats, a glance a row was all I needed to confirm where I was going. It really is a fantastic design - the leaves are gorgeous and that slip stitch edging is genius! It adds some nice depth and dimension to the sides and I love how it keeps the edges from rolling. Plus, it's a great place to hide those woven-in ends. (
Mine is a little bit looser on the right side than the left side, but it's not something a civilian would notice.)

Blocking really brings out the beauty of the leaves and turns this scarf into a gorgeous, elegant piece. Not to mention long! Mine... er, my mom's... ended up a whopping 92" long and 5" wide once finished. Enough to wrap around twice and tie in front - perfect for the bone-chilling winters of her climate.

Cast away
Of course, like Jell-o, there's always room for improvement. First, it might have been wise for the pattern to say that all cast-ons need to be fairly loose. This gives the seamed edges enough stretch while blocking to blend in better with the rest of the scarf. (If you cast on too tightly, it will be much more obvious where the two halves are joined together.)

Second, the pattern also should have noted that the set-up row is a wrong side row. If you didn't know this, you'd be totally screwed later. Luckily, I'd read about both of these issues on the blogosphere and was able to avoid them.

Third, you're supposed to cast on 5 additional stitches at the end of Row 3. Of course, you could do the backwards loop thing, but I found it was easier to cast on those stitches at the beginning of Row 4 via knitting on instead. (Since that cast-on is hidden by the seam, it doesn't matter that they're knitted on the wrong side.)

To do this, simply
turn your work after the knit stitches at the end of Row 3, cast-on five stitches by knitting on, then follow the chart from the beginning of Row 4 as written (so pretend you casted on those stitches at the end of Row 3).
Backyard Leaves Scarf
I'm curvy, baby.

Seam what I mean?
Fourth, the seaming thing. Like those who have come before me, I felt this was probably the easiest way to get the two halves to mirror each other, but definitely not the best.

As written, the two halves meet up
in a rather disjointed way. The instructions tell you to sew them together and match up the bases of the flowers. The problem is, you really can't (at least I couldn't), because, what with the two sides being mirrored and all, the leaves start in different places. Also, the rest of the scarf has more of a transition between each set of leaves, with stems that form prior to the petal. The halves, however, are joined right at the bases.

It seems (ha!) to me that the set-up rows could have been designed in a more fluid way to make that transition and the seaming less awkward. But hey, everyone's a better driver from the passenger seat!
Backyard Leaves Scarf
She's got some junk in the trunk, but it all feels the same in the dark.

After a few flubbed attempts, I ended up mattress stitching the halves together in an "S" formation, sometimes going to the stitches in the row above the cast-on row to ensure a sturdier, more seamless join. It's a little bulkier on the inside, but worth it.
Besides, and I promise you this, you can't even feel it once the scarf is on (what, you didn't think I was going to send it to her without a quality assurance test, did you?). If you plan to knit this as written, don't worry about matching up the flowers - just make sure the edges line up and you'll be in good shape.

Despite a couple of minor flaws, it's a fabulous pattern, one I will definitely knit for myself someday! (Although, in a somewhat shorter version.) Maybe then I'll have time to tinker with it and see if there's a better way to go about joining the two halves.
Backyard Leaves Scarf
She's no Lorna, but not bad for a Dream.

Yarn Thoughts
This is Dream in Color Classy Worsted in In Vino Veritas. I had about 85 grams left over from the two skeins combined, so a big thumbs up on the yardage! It's also beautifully dyed with gorgeous variations of color and the stitch definition is great.

Looks aside, it was soft and lovely to knit with. It also passed the swatch test, roaming around on various areas of my person for a day with no itchies to speak of. That being said, it's not
roll-around-in-it-nekkid soft like my all-time favorite, LL Shepherd Worsted. This yarn is slightly thinner and looks to have a tighter twist, which might have something to do with it.
Backyard Leaves Scarf
Ooo, drapey. Preeetty.

Post-soak there was only a minor tint in the water (expected with red), but it appeared to have molted - there were fibers ALL over the sink and my hands. That was surprising and somewhat alarming. Luckily, it held up nicely once dry with no fading and minimal pilling. Still, you may want to avoid doing the initial soak and spin in your washer - based on everything you read about felting, too many of those little fibers can party down and cause hose problems down the road.

That's a wrap
I'm really pleased with how this scarf turned out! It is definitely Mom-worthy and I think she'll really like it.
Now that the scarf and socks are done, I can ship them off to the 'rents and hope they make it overseas in time for Christmas!
Backyard Leaves Scarf
Backyard Leaves Scarf
Pattern: Scarf Style
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy in In Vino Veritas (~1.5 skeins)
Needles: H&S size 7, 31"
Final measurements: 92" long x 5" wide
Mods: Switched the end-of-row cast-on to the beginning of the next row, mattress stitched the two halves together


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's lovely! The color is so rich and deep. But I think I always enjoy your photo captions the most in every post.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Becca said...

Whoops, I wasn't trying to be anonymous, but Blogger must be trying to protect my identity.

Becca from

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Alice @ said...

This in an insanely gorgeous scarf! Thanks for all your tips, I've been so intimidated by this pattern a bit but your info is so helpful!

I love the color variation in that yarn... wow...

6:36 PM  
Blogger SJ said...

It's gorgeous! I really appreciate all the notes and tips. This is a pattern I've long wanted to knit, but the first time I tried I couldn't make heads or tails of it. I think the set up row was part of the problem (I must've assumed it was supposed to be a right-side row).

8:00 PM  
Blogger Zonda said...

Oh that is gorgeous!!

8:38 PM  
Blogger Eden said...

Delurking to say that's just stunningly beautiful.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Bezzie said...

Oh lord, I hope it doesn't get lost overseas in the mail. I've lost too many packages that way! Make sure you spring for tracking if you can--it's too pretty to have some postal imp wear instead of your mom!

5:22 AM  
Blogger Batty said...

It's stunning, I love the color. You had to do quite a bit of legwork to get around those instructions, but it was so worth it!

11:06 AM  
Blogger The_Add_Knitter said...

Love it, Dream in Color is such a winner, isn't it? And I also always enlarge charts with a copier, it's the only way to go. Nice work!

4:30 PM  
Blogger cpurl17 said...

Lovely, just lovely!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

Beautiful - the color is just gorgeous. I've seen this pattern before, but after seeing yours, I think I'll put it on the list...great job! Your mom is going to love it.

3:39 AM  
Blogger turtlegirl76 said...

It's absolutely gorgeous! I don't know how you can bring yourself to give that away, even if it is to your mom. It's beautiful.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Bobbi said...

Wow that's stunning! I really love the color you used. It looks great.

I started this about a year ago and I'm going to pick it back up after xmas I'm gonna have to frog since I knit much looser now. I'll be keeping your tips in mind!

9:09 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Completely gorgeous! I especially love the color. Since it is a "leaves" scarf I'd only think of it in green. But certainly you've changed my mind!

11:36 AM  
Blogger chemgrrl said...

Purdy! Hope your mommy loves it.

2:02 PM  
Blogger Sourire11 said...

Delurking to say that the scarf is BEAUTIFUL!!! Your mom will be very happy.

8:22 AM  
Blogger knottygnome said...

wow, that came out great! i love the color, so rich and gorgeous. a fabulous gift.

8:28 AM  
Blogger chemgrrl said...

Hey! You added stuff!

Commenting again to say that those Viking hats are frickin hilarious! Love them.

5:51 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home