There’s no sign in the sky to follow


Pattern: Reversible Braids Scarf by Bobbi Patterson
Yarn: RYC Classic Soft Lux
Needles: U.S. 7 Signature straights

Test knitting. It’s when someone has designed a knitted object, written out a pattern, and needs other people to follow the pattern to make sure all the directions work. The fun of test knitting is being part of the pattern creation process and getting a peek at a pattern before it’s released to the general public. The work of it is that it’s knitting on a deadline.


There’s a group on Ravelry called Free Pattern Testers. I’ve never been a part of it, but I happened across a solicitation for test knitters when a Rav friend happened to mark the unreleased pattern as a favorite. Scarf? Well, you know my passion for scarves. Reversible cables? Something I’ve long been meaning to try. I contacted the designer with an offer to test knit for her, and shortly thereafter the draft pattern was in my e-mail inbox.

Reversible cables employ a clever trick to get the cable to pop on both sides; they’re actually done in ribbing rather than in knit on a purl ground. I loved getting the hang of how they worked. The pattern had a definitional error that I caught along with many of my fellow test knitters, and Bobbi had a revised pattern out to us within a few days. Then it was just a matter of knitting to the end of my yarn. In her original, the designer had used a plied worsted yarn. My version was a bit heavier and used a single-ply yarn with a metallic accent. No problem getting these cables to pop, though.


You can’t see it in these photos, but I missed crossing some cables — once consistently all the way across a row, and once on only one of the three cable panels. I think of those errors as giving the scarf character. When a mosque is built, the workers are said to make at least one deliberate mistake, because only God should be perfect. Perfection can be exhilarating, but even a scarf riddled with mistakes will keep its owner warm. And I’m willing to bet the eventual charitable recipient of this experiment in reversibility will never notice that his scarf isn’t flawless.

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