Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kids Scarves for November and Free Scarf Patterns!

November's Madison Knitters Guild Charity Knit-Along Challenge is scarves for kids. Photos from the October meeting's donations showed that some members already were in the spirit for knitting scarves. The donated scarves showed what I wanted to suggest--that knitting scarves is a good time to try different stitch patterns from your favorite knit-stitch book. Don't forget, these scarves are for children, and they can be shorter than adult scarves. Also, use some soft yarn that will feel cuddly and warm on a child's neck.

You can make a scarf by simply casting on about 6-8 inches of stitches and work in garter stitch until the scarf seems long enough. Hundreds of thousands of these scarves have been knit over the ages, I am sure, and have been worn happily and warmly by hundreds of thousands of recipients. (If you are looking for the Ascot scarf pattern, scroll down.)

One donated scarf from October was a bright red garter-stitch zig-zag, the pattern for which can be found by clicking here. It is an easy pattern or increasing or decreasing at the beginning or ending of rows, and then reversing the increases and decreases for the"zags".

Another donated scarf (in brick red) was an optical illusion of waves, through a simple knit and purl pattern. The scarf looks as if it undulates, but it is actually a rectangle! You can find that pattern by clicking here.

Knitty.com has lots of interesting scarf patterns. Click here. So does MagKnits. Click here and look in their archives. The famous Multidirectional Scarf is a great pattern to try with self-striping yarn. The pattern is free at various yarn shops, and you can find it by clicking here.

Don't forget, every month is "knitters choice." If love to knit hats, sweaters, mittens, shawls, blankets, etc., please go with your heart. Make whatever you want for local charities. Make sure the yarn for chemo and baby hats is as soft as possible. Bare heads are very, very sensitive. Please wash the item before donating it to make sure that kitty, cat, dog, and other house animal hair is removed--some recipients have allergies.

At the October meeting, I showed a short ascot style scarf that I made. My mother, in the 1950's, knit two of these scarves, one pink and one red. As far as I can recall, this was the last knitting she ever did! She was a fantastic seamstress who dislike making clothing stitch by stitch. All five of us kids wore these scarves, including the boys when they were young. A few years ago, when teaching knitting to elementary school kids, I wanted to find a pattern for a scarf that the kids would actually finish! To a beginning knitter, a scarf is the favorite item to make but the least likely to be finished. So, I "unvented" the pattern from my memory of wearing the pink and red scarves. Here it is. Be sure to use cozy yarn because this scarf snugs up against the neck and chin!

My Mom’s Cozy Ascot Scarf
The directions are understandable if you keep a picture of the scarf in mind. You begin at one end, increase at the beginning of every row, then separate the stitches to make a pass through, then work even, then separate the stitches to make a pass through, then decrease at the beginning of every row and bind off!!
Here's a close up of the almost-triangle/heart/spade shaped end.
Here's a close up of the pass through, made by separating the stitches.

Use needles appropriate to yarn you are using
Stitch holder or extra needle of same size or approximately the same size

I—First “Almost triangle” End
Work in Garter Stitch:
Cast on 3-4 stitches
Increase one stitch at beginning of each row (knit in front and back of first stitch)
Increase until you have the desired width of the scarf, end with even # of stitches
Work even for one inch

II—First pass through

Put half the stitches on a stitch holder or separate needle in an alternating fashion as follows:
*K 1 stitch,
Put next stitch on holder or separate needle in back of work (do NOT work this stitch)
P 1 stitch,
Add next stitch to the holder or separate needle in back of work*
Repeat between *’s, moving alternate stitches to the holder or separate needle, to end of row.

Leave stitches on holder or separate needle hanging in back of the work.

Work first ribbing strip of the pass through in 1 x 1 ribbing for 2.5 inches. (make about 3 inches if your scarf is wide) Break yarn, leaving tail to weave in later. Leave stitches on needle, hanging in front of the work, and try to ignore them for a while.

Put stitches from holder on separate needle and start new yarn.
Work second ribbing strip in 1 x 1 ribbing for same length as first strip.

You now have stitches on two needles, the first ribbing strip and the second ribbing strip.
Hold the needles parallel, one in front of the other, with points facing right.
Work stitches alternating one from each needle as follows:
With third needle knit one stitch from the front needle, then one stitch from the back needle until you have all stitches on one needle.

III—“Round the neck” segment
Work in garter stitch:

Work in garter stitch until the scarf is long enough to go around the neck and meet the pass through in front, without strangling the wearer.

IV—Second pass through

Same as Step II

V—Second “almost triangle” end

Work 1 inch in garter stitch

Then, knit two together at beginning of each row until you have 3 or 4 stitches left. Bind off and weave in end.

I love this pattern because it reminds me of snowy Wisconsin winter days, long hours spent sledding and skating and the fact that my mother made the scarf for me. My teen-age daughter does not love this pattern. She thinks it looks dorky. She's not into the retro-1950's look. But for kids who don't like long scarf ends flying around them and coming untied, the pattern is great. I even have one that I wear, but then, I've been known to be very, very dorky.

Knit well!

p.s. here are some scarf thoughts from Judy:

Hi, here's a link to a list of reversible stitch patterns from the
Barbara Walker books-
It comes in handy for scarves. I used the Seaweed pattern (p. 10 2nd
Treasury) for one of my donated scarves and the Moss Diamond and
Lozenge Pattern (p.13 2nd Treasury) also makes a nice scarf- see the
Asherton scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2006/09/asherton-reversible-scarf.html -
which is just a couple of repeats of that pattern.
The Tilting Block
pattern (p. 263 2nd Treasury) is what was used in several of the shrugs
last night and was also used for the Midwest Moonlight scarf (3 repeats
across) from Scarf Styles (the rose colored scarf that I showed last



Anonymous said...

Thank you for the ascot scarf pattern. My kids had them when they were young (and felt the same way your daughter did about them) and now that they are all grown up they suddenly are asking for them for their own little ones. I had lost my pattern(the kids probably threw it away!) Thank you, thankyou!

debra said...

Thanks for sharing the pattern. My husband's grandmother showed me one of these scarves tonight and asked if I would be able to make one like it. I wondered to myself, and decided to search before reverse engineering.

Linda said...

OH MY GOODNESS! While surfing for children knitting patterns. I was looking the the pattern of the Baby Surprise Sweater.....I came across your pattern for this scarf. I purchased this pattern in Norway last year and have been looking for a translation. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
I bought it for my mother to translate but she has become too old to do so.
So I am so happy that I found this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the pattern. Got some yarn for Christx and wanted to make this, but couldn't find my pattern.