What to give the mother who has everything for her birthday next month? What else, but the Try The Decaf Scarf! In other words, I needed to use up all that Cascade 220 Sport I bought for no discernible reason.
This is another one of those things you think will be easy. A word of advice: NEVER say that! On paper, this is a simple pattern repeat: k1, m1, k3, dbl dec, k3, m1 with some similar stuff on either end. But do not be deceived. First off, the thing is knit lengthwise, so the rows are interminable. Second, it's really, really easy to get off count. Or at least it was for me.
So being the clever sort, I came up with a way to help me remember where I was. When I got to the final M1 of the repeat, I'd stop for a coffee/tea break. Just a sip, worked into the routine to help me remember that this was "k ONE, m1" not :k THREE, m1".
Unfortunately, this had a couple of side effects that were decidedly not conducive to productive knitting. First, after a while you have to put the work down frequently to recycle all that coffee/tea (because you don't buy that stuff, you only rent it for a little while). But it didn't take but one long session with this thing before I realized that when working on a pattern like this maybe introducing that much caffeine into the equation isn't the best idea. Hence the name. (Well, that and "50 Shades of Grey" was already taken... besides, this was for my mother fer cryin' out loud!)
Now before you go getting all excited about the colorwork, I have to confess I used a hack on that part. I had for some reason I can't recall bought a bunch of Cascade 220 Sport in varying shades of grey and a couple of skeins of "natural" (a fancy word for "white" from what I can tell).
Now it's been said that most the stories of life's great tragedies begin with the words "I decided", and you could say this one's no different. Because "I decided" to work this with 2 strands held together rather than risk what little sanity I have remaining to me. Besides which, I wanted to be finished in time for mom's birthday this year. But using 2 strands had an additional benefit. I only changed one of the colors in the color changes -- except for the center stripe -- carrying the white all the way through. You can't really see it in the photo, but the outer stripes are white paired with "Silver Grey", which changes to what Cascade calls "Charcoal" but I (as a veteran of the barbecue) think is closer to "Pewter", then to what Cascade calls "Jet" and I call "Charcoal". The center stripe is the two darkest shades combined, and then the color changes go in reverse order on the other side.
The wrong side was mostly just infinite strings of purls, but once per stripe (usually the first WS row after the color change) I'd knit the WS row to reduce the curling. (To my astonishment, it worked!)
And in spite of having only limited time to work on it, I'm done three weeks ahead of schedule. So now the big question is, with the coldest week we've had so far in store for us THIS week, should I go ahead and give it to her? Hmm...