Kalajoki Scarf

Here in Spain we exchange gifts on January 6th, “Three Kings Day” or, in Spanish, El día de los Reyes Magos. I needed to knit something fast.

The first thing I did was go to a local yarn shop and ask for the chunkiest yarn available. The woman at the shop Punto y Seguido, located on Calle Fray Luis de León, 21, was very helpful and readily showed me the colors she had in SMC select Highland Alpaca. This yarn is 50% Alpaca and 50% Merino Wool. I happily left the store with four balls of this furry, warm stuff.

When I got home I tried to decide what to do with this thick yarn. I wanted to make a scarf that looked good on both sides and that I could work through quickly. I remembered how much I enjoyed making Tiina Seppälä’s “Kalajoki” sock pattern and so the “Kalajoki” scarf was born. It’s now pinned down and drying on the blocking table, plenty of time in advance of January 6th:

Of course, I had to adapt the Kalajoki stitch pattern for knitting flat, since the chart has increases and decreases on even and odd-numbered rows. That was not an issue. When knitting on the wrong side I just purled two together through the back loops for every “SSK” symbol and purled two together through the front loops for every “K2tog” symbol. All my M1s on the wrong side were simply purled instead of knitted. Easy!
With this chunky yarn 18 stitches (the extent of the Kalajoki charts) is plenty wide enough. I added two extra stitches to have a chain selvedge edge on both ends. I began and ended the scarf with six rows of garter stitch to keep it from rolling up. Voilá! Kalajoki scarf!
I just repeated the Kalajoki chart until I began to run out of yarn. It doesn’t matter really where you end the scarf, just as long as you have the same number of stitches you began with. The great part is that this is basically a ribbed scarf with an interesting shape and texture, perfectly reversible. Check out the wrong side:
I really like this snaky, meandering scarf and I think the person who receives this gift will like it, too. 

Thank you, Tiina Sepälä, for sharing such a wonderful pattern with the world! It’s not only innovative, it’s adaptable!

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Hooray for knitting magazines that come out every month

I’ve been living in Europe for a year and a half and only now have discovered knitting magazines from the UK. I couldn’t resist trying The Knitter and Simply Knitting because on the iPad NewsStand app there is a special offer: Two free issues of each title with no obligation to purchase anything.

I got both with the intention of deciding which one I wanted to subscribe to. I like both so much I can’t decide and I will more than likely keep a subscription for the two magazines. I can’t say no to getting new patterns every month. This is the first time in a long time I’ve opened a magazine and really liked more than two or three patterns.

Both magazines are from the same publishing company but are quite different from each other. 

Simply Knitting has easy patterns mixed with more challenging patterns for experienced knitters. It has a lot of articles to read, crossword puzzle, sudoku, and word search. Solving the puzzles comes with a bonus: readers can be entered to win a prize. I really like this aspect of the magazine. It’s varied, fun to read, and interactive.
The Knitter is very much aimed at more experienced knitters and offers lots of innovative designs. 
The two magazines make certain to include patterns for men as well as some sweaters designed for women but that could be considered “unisex” with some alterations.
I’m really glad the magazines offered free issues to new potential customers. They’ve won me as a subscriber.

Busy!

It’s been almost two months since my last post. What happened? Work!

Work got so busy I barely had time to knit. Now I have been able to balance work and knitting. Also, I’ve had more time (or perhaps I have learned to make time) to think about knitting. My family gave me Amazon gift cards for my birthday and I bought some excellent knitting books for the Kindle. In future posts I’ll be talking more about them.

I shall limit myself, for now, to talking about one of the books I got with my gift card, Knitted Gifts, edited by Ann Budd. The book has a ton of excellent patterns for small projects by top designers. When I saw Nancy Bush’s design for “Ulla’s Scarf” I was like, oh yes! A Christmas gift! The scarf uses a lot of Estonian lace knitting techniques. Here’s my progress on it:

Yes, I made it B&W. Spain is cloudy and foggy these days and the color photo looked awful! To check out the pattern and see other examples of this scarf try Ravelry.

Another project I’ve been working on is a pair of leg warmers for a friend, my own design. She wanted them to be like knee socks, in other words, leg warmers that hold up like socks but sans the foot. Here’s how I’m coming along on this one:

I left the photo in color to prove my point: bad lighting! Notice how it looks purple and pink? It’s actually blue! No amount of Photoshopping helped.
I will post more soon!