Thursday, June 08, 2006

Silk Scarf

Since blogger is actually letting me post more than one picture at a time, I can finally show you a finished object. It's a silk scarf I knit for ZimDee's fabulous teacher, who is retiring this summer. Specifics: Knit with two skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. Modified from an Artyarns pattern by Iris Schreier. Needles used: my trusty steel size 8 straights. Prominent pattern: Daisy stitch. Here is a close-up of the stitch detail: I wrote an article about the knitting of this scarf for the Tigard Knitting Guild's June newsletter. Here is the article:

"How do you say goodbye to a wonderful teacher who is retiring that has made such a difference in your child’s life? Words can hardly convey my appreciation, but I can express myself through my knitting, weaving warm thoughts into every stitch.

Like a lot of knitters, I try to purchase yarn for a specific project. Otherwise, you can soon find your nooks and crannies stuffed with yarn that doesn’t yet have a purpose. But there are times when a certain yarn catches your eye, and even though you don’t know what you’re going to do with it yet, you know you must have it. Such was the case when Pure Silk yarn by Debbie Bliss called my name. The fiber content is exactly what the name implies: 100% silk. What attracted me to this yarn was its shimmer and luxurious softness. At $13.95 per 137 yard skein, it is fairly reasonably priced for silk.

While on the lookout for the perfect project to knit with this yarn, I ran across the Flower Shawlette pattern by ArtYarns, designed by Iris Schreier. The pattern calls for two skeins of ArtYarns Royal Silk yarn, and while very lovely, is priced higher ($22 for 163 yards) than the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk. The pattern also calls for silk fur yarn for trim, which I preferred to leave off. I opted to make a scarf rather than a shawlette, so instead of making it 8” wide, I chose to make it closer to 5”, which would also allow for the difference in yardage.

The pattern is made up of the Daisy stitch, which shows off the sheen of the silk perfectly. The pattern is a 4 stitch repeat, so it was easy to modify the width of the scarf. The Daisy stitch is as follows: purl 3 stitches together, leaving the original 3 stitches on the left needle; wrap the yarn over and around the right needle, then purl the original 3 stitches again, this time pulling them off the needle.

You can find the Daisy stitch in Barbara Walker’s first Treasury of Knitting Patterns. To quote from her description: “This beautiful fabric is a relative of Trinity stitch, although both technique and appearance are different. Daisy stitch is definitely feminine, dressy, and decorative. It can be used in many different ways to make delightful garments for women and girls, or pretty baby blankets. It makes a flat, shapely piece, requiring little or no blocking.”

Montse Stanley describes the Daisy stitch in Knitter’s Handbook as the sequence of stitches being staggered, so the flowers run diagonally slanting to the right throughout the knitted piece.

I expected the yarn to be very slippery as I knit with it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn’t necessarily the case. While a bit slicker than wool, I didn’t encounter too much trouble in keeping the stitches on the needles. The strand of silk is similar to cotton in its lack of elasticity. While this sometimes created a slight challenge when attempting to purl three stitches together, it wasn’t terribly frustrating or impossible.

The knitted fabric itself is fairly elastic, and quite striking the way the sheen of the silk catches the light and enhances the stitch detail.

True to Barbara Walker’s words, the Daisy stitch fabric does lie flat and even, but I found the garter stitch border in need of some blocking. I pinned the scarf down and lightly applied steam, and am happy to report that this yarn blocks like a dream.

I am thrilled with how this project turned out. I’m proud of my handiwork and am excited to give this dainty silk scarf to my son’s beloved teacher. She will be missed."


Stephanie said...

wow that's really beautiful Unka Shaina. What a great color :-)

msubulldog said...

Man, that's gorgeous! I saw some of that silk a few weeks ago at Tangle and really considered it. . . What a beautiful gift for a wonderful teacher. :) *and a great article to boot!

KSD said...

Perfect. In word and deed.