FO: "Try The Decaf"

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 [I]paper[/I], 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 [I]interminable[/I]. Second, it’s [I]really, really easy[/I] 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 [I]mother[/I] 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 [I]this[/I] 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…

Nice one, mojo! You certainly have a flair for colors, unique (even if sometimes unintentional) methods, and decisions that really work out swimmingly in the end! (OT: Why is it that we don’t say something is going [I]runningly[/I] or [I]climbingly[/I] or [I]jumpingly[/I]? Why does [I]swimming[/I] always get to be made into an adverb and not these other action-related nouns?)

By the way, may I recommend placing stitch markers after so many repeats of the pattern? They’re cheap (string tied into a loop), they’re reusable, they’re easy to use (no getting up for refills or trips to the bathroom), and they’re caffeine free! :wink:

I would probably give it to her early. Who knows, next week you might have a heat wave (or is that just in Texas?).

My problem wasn’t so much with the number of repeats, it was forgetting where I was [I]within[/I] the pattern repeat. I’m not sure markers would’ve helped with that one.

The color change method is one I’ve used before, and isn’t so much unintentional as… maybe unconventional. Or who knows, maybe people do it all the time.

I was stationed in Texas back in the mid-80s, so I’m familiar with the weather patterns (or lack of them) there. I can remember riding my motorcycle to work in the morning in all the cold weather gear I could fit on my body and riding home in the afternoon in a t-shirt. North Carolina isn’t quite that bad, but it’s only been about a week ago that we were having daytime highs in the 70s (which is rare even for here) and this week we’re looking at overnight lows in the low 20s. (I know, I’m breaking the hearts of Minnesotans and Wisconsonites everywhere.)

As for “swimmingly”, you ask a fair question… all I can offer by way of answer is “blame the Brits, they came up with it.”

Maybe I use stitch markers a little differently than others do. Not only do they mark off the repeats, but they also help me determine where I am in the pattern. I often have trouble recognizing stitches in lace, so it really helps to have a marker from which to count from (and from that determine what stitch I just did and then promptly forgot). But no one who has ever met me has thought me “normal,” so there ya go!

I was using the ridge created by the double decrease that way. It was easy to spot and I knew how many sts should be on either side of it within a repeat. Which STILL didn’t keep me from doing an M1 and then promptly forgetting if that was the M1 at the end of the repeat or the beginning of the NEXT one.

I have to take a moment here and thank my Kninja Master girlfriend without whom I would NEVER have completed this thing. Because when you can drop down 3 or 4 rows and fix a flub in THIS? You deserve all the props you get. Especially when such a fix involves adding stitches in every row from three rows back up to the current one. To put it another way, there would have been much frogging and gnashing of teeth :biting: (not to mention swearing, of which there was plenty anyway). And I wouldn’t be ANYwhere near finished.

Nice use for the Cascade 220. Your mom will love it. :heart:

I am sure she will adore it. It is beautiful. These are great classic colors.

Great work, mojo. I’m impressed with the color. Your mom will love it. I think you should wait til her birthday to give it to her. No sense in letting anyone know that knitting projects can get done early.

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to forget what you’re doing in the middle of that pattern repeats. I’m definitely going to try those stitch markers next time but will still have to rely on counting in the middle. Or figure out how to start where I left off when my brain pauses.

Well, since she didn’t know when I started it, I wouldn’t exactly be giving away the farm here.

Also, just to clear up any confusion, this was Cascade 220 [I]Sport[/I]. Which, as I see it, should really be called Cascade 292 since Cascade’s usual convention is to call their basic Peruvian Highland Wools Cascade [I]xxx[/I] where [I]xxx[/I] = the yardage per 100g. This stuff is 292 yards per 100g, so I can’t figure why they didn’t just call it what it is like they do the 220 and the 128. :grrr:

I’m sure it was for the [U]sole[/U] purpose of annoying you! :teehee:

Well… can you think of any [I]other[/I] reason? :teehee:

Wow, that’s a gorgeous scarf!!!

Thanks! I think it’s Wendy’s design (which could explain why she was able to fix the things she did). She’s done a couple of them (at least) which is where I got the idea. I should really know better…

No complaints, it’s beautiful! I’m sure your mother will be delighted with the gorgeous scarf. Well done, mojo.

That’s beautiful. It’s like frost patterns on a window. Definitely one of the finer things of a cold winter. And infinite strings of pearls too. Your mom is sure to love it. We never outgrow liking things our little boys have made by hand.

I saw the same thing – frost on glass. Kinda neat. And appropriate for what it is.

Serendipity? Or did you expect the frosty effect to come out as it did?

Pretty much serendipity. I’d done color changes this way before, but they were never done in pattern stitches. So I didn’t really know exactly what to expect. I was pretty sure it would turn out cool though. (No pun intended.)

I was busting some stash on a cat blanket once and had several different shades of acrylic. In that case I didn’t carry one color ALL the way through, but they were in a “rotation”. Got kind of a gradient effect. But that was using 4 strands, and only changing one color at a time. I didn’t have enough different shades of grey to do that with this (or the skill to work that many strands in this pattern).

Wendy has a sweater she made a long time ago that she did by winding 3 colors into 2 balls, with one color common to both and then doing a Fair Isle pattern using those two the way you’d normally use two single colors. The effect was pretty neat. I’m not half good enough with Fair Isle to attempt something like that – yet. But maybe one day…

Love the scarf! You did a great job on it. The name makes me cringe, though. Decaf coffee is not allowed in our house. We need our Go To Work coffee.

Yeah, decaf… I never touch the stuff myself. But that’s how crazy this thing started making me before it was done. :wink: