Although I shared Colour Trail with you first, I designed the scarf first. I got a bit carried away with developing the idea, until it expanded to become a shawl in a myriad of possible yarn weights, with those extra lines of slipped stitches across the deeper curved line…
See how easy it is to drift off to a shawl? Back to the scarf! Here, a single trail of slipped stitches delineates the two textures.
Yes, you could also make Trailblazer in lots of different yarn weights too but I set out with only two in mind: 4ply/fingering for that perfect one-skein project, and DK/worsted because, frankly, I’d picked up some beautiful DK that also needed to have its colours shown off in a scarf. I seem to pick up DK/worsted in pairs – one skein isn’t enough for anything bigger than a hat, and three skeins feels like a big investment, so I often plump for two.
After a lot of tinkering (read: swatches) with the scarf, I had a beautiful DK version. The scarf makes a gentle crescent shape, so it sits beautifully around the neck and shoulders. This is it in EasyKnits ZipLight (100% superwash Merino, 220m/240yds per 100g skein) in Earthern. The two skeins of this yarn, a classic impulse buy at a show earlier this year, inspired the DK version.
However, the original version didn’t fit out of my holy grail of one skein of 4ply/fingering – I had a skein of Countess Ablaze Tia Merino (100% superwash Merino, 366m/400yds per 100g skein), in the wonderfully-named Cruelty and Greed, which I was desperate to turn into a scarf. I had to tinker some more, hence the two slightly different versions, and a narrower range of recommended yarns for this pattern.
Now, there are masses of beautiful 4ply and DK yarns just waiting to have their colours shown off. For a start, the Countess Ablaze yarn is one of a kind (OOAK). That’s deliberate. I’m not trying to annoy you with an unobtainable beauty; I’m trying to show that OOAK yarns are perfect for this pattern. When you’re talking OOAK and colour, there is every possibility you could dream up. If you want to get close and aren’t feeling so brave, Lyndsey has a regular colour called Bad Girls Club, which is similar.
She also has a shop update tomorrow night (7pm UK time, Friday), and a few more planned over the next few weeks (including some Tia Merino), but you’ll have to fight me and the rest of her rabid fans; her updates go in minutes. When I said you could be brave and use OOAK yarn, the first battle is sometimes getting your hands on the treasures. It’s worth the fight, just don’t try it over the internet on your phone because the connection will be too slow for you to get anything (I speak from personal experience).
If this isn’t the first post you’re reading about Knit Play Colour, you’ll already know that at the end of every pattern in the book there are ideas on how to play with the design. I had planned to show two or three other ideas, just in swatches.
I handed over the yarns to my kind friends who were to knit these up for me with the request to just knit me a swatch, but that they were welcome to knit the whole thing if they really wanted to do so. I wound up with three more samples since they all wanted to knit the whole scarf! That was a lovely compliment about the design.
Firstly, there is a deeply luxurious skein from Eden Cottage Yarns (left, below). This is Bedale (50% baby yak, 50% mulberry silk, 400m/436yds per 100g skein) in Oak. I wanted a scarf that was deeply elegant. This is the right yarn. I fancied beads too. So in the “play” ideas, I’ve explained how and where to add beads to the pattern. Here, I used approx 130 size 6/0 beads Duracoat Galvanised Dark Mauve 6-4213 from stitchncraft.
You can pet the scarf yourself if you visit the Eden Cottage Stand at Yarndale, where I’ll be their guest on Stand 11, along with the first available copies of the book. I’m so excited! Er, back to the knitting…
The gauge is a dense 28 sts per 10cm/4” over Garter Stitch using 3.25mm/US 3 needles. It’s 144cm/57” long inside the curve. I didn’t block it out so it’s a slender 15cm/6” wide. This yarn would block beautifully, to open out the lace, but it draped so well unblocked, and the border was so tactile and smooth, that it seemed wrong to take those features away. Sometimes it’s worth stopping to really look at your project before automatically throwing it into the water!
Next, I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the new Autumn/Fall colours from Sweet Georgia Yarns. This is Cashluxe Spark (80% superwash Merino, 10% cashmere,10% spark, 384m/420yds per 115g skein) in Smitten (centre, above). The stitch count was increased until it started pooling in spectacular fashion – we used this width for the centre section of the scarf, to keep these amazing zig zags of colour. Blocked hard, it’s light and airy but cosy. At 24 sts per 10cm/4”over Garter Stitch using 3.75mm/US 5 needles, it’s a lovely 170cm/67” inside curve x 20cm/8” wide.
Want to pet this sample? It’ll be at the Yarn in the City designer spotlight on Saturday, where I’m showing a few samples, and if I’m really lucky (touch wood) there will be a proof copy to see. If you’re off on their wonderful London yarn crawl, I hope you do find this kind of beautiful impulse-buy! I can only apologise to my non-UK readers for all these mentions of British events.
Lastly, one 4ply/fingering sample didn’t make the book so I’m going to tantalise you with it here. The samples for this pattern had gone too well, if that can be a problem, so I had to choose a group that showed the variation in the pattern and yarns. I love this quiet version in Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply, in Verdigris, knit to the original pattern.
What I did include instead was an alternative Fyberspates yarn, their Vivacious DK. Jeni had kindly sent me a few little skein-lets of the new colours to try – I admit sometimes designers do have all the fun. I fell for Crocus, and love it in this pattern. It would brighten up any pale wintery morning. At the risk of stating the obvious, you’ll need two skeins of DK. It’s unblocked because in a bouncy wool yarn, blocking can be a little futile since it just wants to bounce back to where it was knit. The textures shown beautifully like this.
So, you can stick to what feels comfortable, or go on an adventure in hand-dyed yarn.
Knit Play Colour is available to pre-order now as an ebook on Ravelry, or as a printed book (including a download code for a free copy of the ebook). Patterns are being shared during September, with the book released on the 29th.
All images © Jesse Wild 2015