Friday, November 18, 2005

The Kidsilk Scarf

This is the first year since... oh, I don't know... 1980-something that I haven't had a black winter coat. I've got a closet full of colourful and interesting scarves. Which are now redundant.

I decided to try Rowan's legendary Kidsilk Haze for a scarf.

They call it CrackSilk Haze for a reason. Yes, the finished product is addictive. But I thought I was going to crack during the knitting process.

The yarn is very fine, hairy, and sticky. It's impossible to undo if you make a mistake, and it's very easy to drop a stitch if you're not paying attention. Argh.

I started by casting on 60 stitches on a 4mm circular needle. (I like using circulars for straight knitting because I can't lose a needle.) I worked a few inches in garter stitch. I wasn't thrilled with the results. It wasn't very interesting and was wider than I wanted. So I tried to rip it back. After fighting for a bit, getting tangled and snagging and breaking the yarn, I abandoned it. (I hate abandoning yarn. And this stuff isn't cheap.)

I started again. I cast on 50 stitches -- using the knitted cast on because I couldn't bear the thought of running out of yarn midway through a long tailed cast on and having to rip it back. Please note that this is the only time in the last 10 or so years that I've used that cast-on. I hate it. It's ugly and slow.

I decided to work in biased garter stitch. It was slow, it was painstaking, it was difficult. This is yarn that's very easy to make mistakes with, and yet is impossible to undo. Working on it required good light, and a serene atmosphere. Part of the problem was the choice of colour -- a lighter colour would have been easier to work with, I'm sure.

But yes, they're right, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the result. It's light and warm and chic and just the thing for my new coat.

And I bow my head in respect to people who knit lace shawls with this stuff. You are better knitters than I.

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