January 2011: A few days ago I received an email from a woman back east who is a Girl Scout leader. She thought this scarf would be a good project for some of the girls to then donate to Red Scarf. As I can’t locate my notes (this was the first or second scarf I designed), I’m knitting a new one and writing the pattern down as I go.

Here are the notes I’ve jotted down along wiith the pattern. To the GS leader, I hope you’ll drop back in and let me know how the girls’ scarves are coming along. Happy New Year!

021Over the last six years, I’ve taught dozens of people to knit. Everyone learns in a slightly different way. Ultimately, I think there are a few keys to teaching someone to knit:

First off, I’m a huge fan of knittinghelp.com’s website. The videos show both contentential (yarn controlled in left hand) and english (“throwing” method with yarn controlled in right hand). It was primarily through watching these videos that I taught myself to knit.

Second, I always write out the pattern by row so that I can keep track of the project, row by row, as I go. I check off each completed row. This is a method I picked up from watching my mom knit.

Third, I suggest using 16″ long circular needles and a chunky yarn. I’ve found it’s easier for new knitters to use the circular (fewer stitches slipping off individual needles, etc) and also, the 16″ circular needles can then serve double-duty to knit a beanie (typically the first project I have new knitters make). Chunky yarn masks a new knitter’s inconsistent stitches as they learn how to regulate their tension.

Lastly, mistakes happen and especially in the beginning, the stitches will be uneven.  Move on. It’s key to keep knitting, getting the finger memory down instead of worrying overly about each stitch.

R1 is the set-up row and also the right side of the scarf (RS). Even rows are wrong side (WS). A good rule of thumb for a new knitter— on the WS, knit the knit stitches (look like little Vs) and purl the purl stitches (look like a horizontal piece of rice). Any size needles or yarn weight may be used. The larger the needles, the wider the scarf. The thicker the yarn, the thicker the scarf. I recommend a worsted weight using size US 7, 8, or 9 needles.

For this pattern, the end stitch is knitted—on both sides. By doing so, the scarf will not curl over onto itself and will make blocking easier.

Typically, it should take about 4 skeins (approximately 100 yards per skein) should make a scarf about 5 feet long (recommended length). After row 13 (the large cable’s first twist), the pattern repeats every 18 rows.

CO: Cast on

R1: Row 1

CN: cable needle (I often use a double-point needle in lieu of the specialty CNs. I’ve used a toothpick in a pinch)

CF4: Slip next two K stitches onto the CN, hold in the front of the scarf, knit the next two stitches, then knit the 2 stitches on the CN). See below. Produces a left-leaning cable.
forward CN

CB4: Slip next two K stitches onto the CN, hold in the back of the scarf, knit the next two stitches, then knit the 2 stitches on the CN). See below. Produces a right-leaning cable.

back CN
T4F: Slip next 4 stitches onto CN and hold in the front. P1, K3 and then from the CN K3, P1.

T3B: Slip the next P stitch onto the CN, hold in the back. K3, then P1 from the CN.

T3F: Slip then next 3 K onto the CN, hold in front, P1, and K3 from the CN).

mark upPattern:

CO 42.R2 (WS): k1, p3, k2, p3, k2, p4, k2, p3, k2, p3, k2, p4, k2, p3, k2, p3, k1

r3: repeat row 1
r4: repeat row 2
r5: repeat row 1
r6: repeat row 2

R1 (RS): k1, k3, p2, k3, p2, k4 (small cable left leaning rib), p2, [k3, p2, k3], p2, k4 (small cable right leaning rib), p2, k3, p2, k3, k1

r7: k1, k3, p2, k3, p2, CF4, p2, k3, p2, k3, p2, CB4, p2, k3, p2, k3, k1. This row has the first twist for the small cables.

R8: repeat row 2
R9: repeat row 1
R10: repeat row 2
R11:repeat row 1
R12: repeat row 2

R13: (larger cable set up row) k1, k3, p2, k3, p2, CF4, p2, T4F, p2, CB4, p2, k3, p2, k3, k1. Repeats every 18 rows.
R14: k1, p3, k2, p3, k2, p4, [k3, p6, k3], p4, k2, p3, k2, p3, k1
R15: k1, k3, p2, k3, p2, k4, p2, T3B, T3F, p2, k4, p2, k3, p2, k3, k1.

R16: repeat R2.
R17: repeat R1.
R18: repeat R2.
R19: repeat R7 (twist repeats every six rows)
R20: repeat R2.

R21: repeat R1.
R22: repeat R2.
R23: repeat R1.
R24: repeat R2.
R25: repeat R7 (twist repeats every six rows)
R26: repeat R2.

R27: repeat R1.
R28: repeat R2.
R29: repeat R1.
R30: repeat R2.

R31: repeat R13. (repeats every 18 rows from this point forward)
R32: repeat R14.
R33: repeat R5.

R34: repeat R2.
R35: repeat R1.
R36: repeat R2.
R37: repeat R7 (twist repeats every six rows)
R38: repeat R2.
R39: repeat R1.
R40: repeat R2.
R41: repeat R1.
R42: repeat R2.
R43: repeat R7 (twist repeats every six rows)
R44: repeat R2.
R45: repeat R1.
R46: repeat R2.
R47: repeat R1.
R48: repeat R2.

R49: repeat R13.
R50: repeat R14.
R51: repeat R15.

R52: repeat R2

and so on until the scarf reaches the desired length.
I am very fond of the Red Scarf project AND of course, supporting the Girl Scouts AND fellow knitters. A win-win for me for sure. As I can’t seem to locate red yarn (I know, shocking but i put a moratorium on buying yarn a year ago and hit the reds first), I’m knitting in a deep kelly green. The GS leader asked me to provide some pointers for new knitters. Those (with the pattern) appear below.  Happy New Years. Best from Wildlands. JIG

I stumbled across a project for the Orphan Foundation of America through Interweave Magazine. For the last five years, handmade crochet or knitted scarves have been donated for kids who have aged out of foster care and are now in college. The OFA includes these red scarves in the kids’ Valentine’s Day packages.  For more information on the Red Scarf Project, please see here.

From humble beginnings two weeks ago, the scarf is now finished! I used Paton’s wool which is soft but sturdy. I designed a simple 3k/2p ribbed pattern broken up by simple opposite cables with a larger chain cable down the center. I’m am really happy with it!

I’ll block it tomorrow and then send it off in the post. While it is too late to encourage others to knit one for this year’s submission, I highly encourage everyone to pick up your sticks sometime this year and knit one for submission by mid-December.

And now, I’m on to knitting peace cranes (to be felted) for the www.knitnotwar.com art installation later this year in Portland!