Another dear friend of mine just celebrated her birthday. She is one of the kindest, sweetest, women I know. She has done so much for us.
In her younger years, she collected goats. She moved a very large herd (at least 150 head) from San Clemente Island (off the coast of California) to Central Oregon. I didn’t know her then, but I know for a fact that she loved her goats very much.
Whenever something causes us to have to leave the farm for a few days, she always steps right up and offers to take care of our critters and our crops. Of course, she absolutely loves my goats. But, really, who doesn’t???
At any rate… She is getting older – I believe she is on the upside of 70 now. Years of hard work have taken its toll on her. She lives a mountain-woman lifestyle and it has been very physically demanding. It’s beginning to show. A stubborn woman (well, she is a Capricorn!) she refuses to let us help her with any of the things she needs to get done around her homestead.
I had to try to think of something for her birthday… Something that really showed how much I care for her. It had to be something that she couldn’t refuse and she couldn’t give back. Therefore, I knew it had to be handmade.
My friend has the most beautiful eyes. They are large, round, and a lovely, dove grey. I’ve never known anyone with grey eyes before. Time has given her lovely silver hair, which one can tell was once very dark.
I found some lovely grey yarn, at Knit Picks. It is part of their Swish line, which is 100% superwash Merino wool. The color I chose matches her eyes. It’s called Dove Heather. Once I decided on the yarn, I started hunting for a pattern.
It took me a few months to find the right pattern for her. I knew that I wanted to make something for her to wear. It needed to be something to help her stay warm. I thought about hats and scarves and gloves and cowls. I just had a heck of a time settling on something!
Finally, while perusing Ravelry, I found it. The perfect pattern! The Lacy Hooded Scarf seemed like the perfect thing! It had enough solid parts to keep her hair dry and enough lace to keep it feminine. Despite her rough lifestyle, she is very much, 100% feminine.
I ordered the yarn and ordered the pattern.
I really thought that it would only take me about a week to make this scarf. The pattern was simple enough. I really thought it was going to be a breeze. I thought wrong! I gave myself one month of lead time, before her birthday. Working on this, day and night, it took me 24 days. There were a few days that I seriously didn’t think I would get it finished in time.
The pattern is a 16-row repeat. As such, it was too long for me to memorize. Also, it’s worked from the bottom up – so it gets wider, the further along you go. You work the two halves separately and then sew them together.
I knit this using a 4.5mm knook. The yarn is a DK weight yarn. It took a scant few yards shy of 5 balls of yarn for this project. I was terrified that I would run out of yarn. I didn’t have enough time to order, receive and knit another ball before the big day arrived.
In addition to this being the most complicated lace pattern that I’ve ever knit, I had another first with this pattern. I learned the Russian join, for joining yarn ends. I must say, I really like that join! It takes a bit more yarn than I care for; but it is a nice, secure join and there are no ends to weave in! In the future, when I am joining ends without changing colors, I am definitely going to use that join.
For the most part, I’m very happy with how this scarf turned out. There are a few things that I’m not entirely happy with though…
I wish that I had added a few more garter stitches on the sides than was called for in the pattern. There aren’t enough and because it’s stockinette, it curls. Though, in retrospect, if I had done that, I would have surely run out of yarn.
Also, I’ve never worked with superwash Merino before. When researching how to block it, I learned that it should be machine washed and dried. I did this and it pilled significantly. Thankfully, it didn’t felt.
The pattern calls for using a visible seam, on the outside of the scarf. So, I did a crochet slip stitch seam. It’s a heavier seam than I like.
Lastly, I hit a snag near the end of the pattern itself. Thankfully, I was able to wing it and finish up.
Even with all the (minor) things that I’m not happy with… The recipient cried when she received it.
And to me, that makes it all worth it.