Saturday, December 01, 2007

Reversible Scarves or Living Inside Out

As I write this in Wisconsin, Mother Nature is giving us good reason to keep on knitting. Snow, wind, sleet, ice coming at us from all directions and encouraging us to sit in front of the fire and knit! Alas, my knitting these days is mind numbingly boring. I long to make beautiful Dale of Norway patterned sweaters-- thick, beautiful and warm. Protection against elements that Mother Nature throws at us periodically.

Unfortunately, in my post-menopausal temperature recalibration, I can no longer wear warm wool sweaters for more than 15 minutes. My body temperature has changed from being constantly cold and blue fingered in my youth to tending toward toasty in my somewhat older years. Wool socks on my feet and a warm, wool scarf around my neck and I can practically trot around nude in winter. Well, not quite, but I can dress comfortably in a cotton turtleneck and jeans without shivvering. A wool sweater does what the word suggests--I sweat!

This means, I've been making a lot of scarves, for myself and for others. I have practiced wearing them in as many ways as possible--wrapped twice around my neck (I have a short stubby neck and I long for the Audrey Hepburn type women who have giraffe like necks that look good in repeated, multiple wraps of wool!) ; folded in half with the ends tucked into the fold a la European style; hanging loosely over my shoulders, dangerously dangling ends that might get caught in revolving machinery; tied over my shoulder with one end in front and one in back.

But, none of these methods guarantees that the pattern side of the lace or cable design will be dazzingly on the "public" side of the scarf, to impress the passers by. I am constantly rearranging the "casual" panache that I try to impart with my dramatic hand made scarves!! The panache goes down a few points when the scarf is obviously inside out! How can I be dashing and daring with an insideout scarf???

Therefore, I've been trying to produce reversible scarves. Two posts ago I displayed a seafoam stitch scarf that has two identical public sides. I've now made about 10 of these scarves for myself, family and friends, out of beautiful handpainted yarns, and I needed to branch out.

Barbara Walker to the rescue. Her seafoam stitch is on page 218 of her Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. Lo and behold, on the opposite page, page 219, is another reversible pattern--the Vertical Drop-Stitch. Fortunately, this reversible stitch gives two equally attractive but different public sides.

OK, here is one of the public sides, with a weird stripped effect from the flash. This is a sideways view.

Here are the two public sides, next to each other. Can you tell the difference? No? Good. It's subtle and will not make the casual observer think you are wearing part of your clothing inside out, as if you don't know what you are doing.
But here, closer up, you can see that there IS actually a difference, noticeable mostly to knitters. The left side of the picture has wavy two-stitch columns. The right side shows wavy one stitch columns.
Still don't see it? Maybe this is better. It's hard to photograph.
The yarn is a hand dyed wool/mohair from a Wisconsin dyer--Joslyn's Fiber Farm, that I purchased this summer at Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp.

Next post, a manly man reversible stitch pattern for my father's scarf!

1 comment:

Anne Dovel said...

Wow. I know this was posted in 2007, but that's a really pretty pattern! And the yarn is incredible. Thanks for sharing.
Anne Dovel