High hopes we have for the future
It’s taken me a week to decompress from the Ravelympics madness. There were medals to hand out every night of the Games — hundreds as the closing ceremonies approached. The pressure of the mitts and the medals overwhelmed every thought. Once the final winners stepped off the podium clutching their Bobicus ravatar and their precious badges, I turned my attention to some easier knitting and some neglected relaxation.
Another ballband dishcloth in reverse colors from the Ravelympic competitor (dubbed “Code of the Amateur” in homage to John Gielgud’s patrician gentleman in Chariots of Fire) is nearing completion, and I’ve hit the second to the last stripe on the final pocket hat of my planned trio (Rav link), which was only a headband a week ago. Time to knit for somebody other than myself.
Last year I donated my Moguls scarf to the Red Scarf Project, a popular program run by the Orphan Foundation of America on behalf of college-age foster children. These kids don’t have parents to send them care packages and all the handmade love that goes with them. So knitters and crocheters around the country send in scarves along with collegiate-type goodies as fall approaches, and the packages are distributed as Valentine’s Day treats.
There are always more fantastic, irresistible scarves to knit than there are people in one’s life who need scarves. So it’s a gift to the knitter, really — an excuse to create a scarf or two a year that go to worthy recipients we don’t have to scrounge up out of our own friends and acquaintances.
Now it’s the Red Scarf Project for Valentine’s Day, of course, but also to signify that the scarves are meant to be appropriate for men or women — red being a unisex color. The scarves don’t have to be red, but they shouldn’t be delicate wisps of pastel lace suitable only for draping around the neck of Clara Bow. Red just happens to be my favorite color, though, and as I browse yarn sales and chain store bins and online inventories, it’s very difficult not to tip a few skeins of red worsted into my shopping basket with the offhand thought that I could make a Red Scarf out of them.
I had a yarn or two in mind as I browsed scarf patterns this afternoon, but when I went back to the stash nook and actually pulled out the drawers, I saw one of those impulse purchases — a bamboo yarn I bought at Hobby Lobby this summer. I don’t have too much Yarn Bee (Hobby Lobby’s store brand) in my collection — it’s mostly acrylic, and there’s not that much call for acrylic in my knitting these days — but I did enjoy making Cady Gray’s rainbow scarf out of their chenille, and when I see something different like this bamboo, it’s hard to resist sampling. Especially when it’s red, and that perennial shopping excuse pops unbidden to mind: “I could make a Red Scarf with it.”
The yarn is called Bamboo Spun, and I haven’t noticed it on the shelves since the visit when I bought it. It’s not in the Ravelry database, either; I need to visit the Hobby Lobby group and see if anybody else managed to snag one, or if it was some experimental release that I just happened upon. It’s worsted weight as far as I can tell; a fuzzy, slubby single-ply made of 77% bamboo and 23% polyamide. The label lists the suggested needle size as “5mm (US 5, UK 5),” which of course is ridiculous; 5 mm is a #8 needle in the U.S. system. I started with a #9 wooden needle (metal would probably be better, but I have a habit of working gift scarves on handmade wooden needles — it’s a love thing), and the fabric is quite drapey but not excessively loose. Having never worked with bamboo before, I don’t know whether its hand is unusual or typical; it’s very unelastic, but not squeaky or abrasive.
The pattern is the Scrunchable Scarf, an extremely simple stitch pattern that produces a reversible faux-rib effect. Its ease of memorization (k2 p1 on both sides, with a selvedge stitch that’s slipped wyif at the beginning and knit at the end) means that it will make perfect movie and class knitting. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful examples with tight-twist, high-sheen yarns that create sharp, distinct stitches; mine will not be one of them. But I think this pattern in this fuzzy, sloppy yarn has its own charms — a chunky, homemade feel that’s cozy rather than high fashion.
I cranked out about 8.5 inches this afternoon. Can’t wait to have a soft, swaying bamboo Red Scarf to package up and send away to its unknown recipient with all my love.