Well, knitting myself some fingerless gloves prompted two different reactions from my kids. First my daughter found me knitting. She demanded to know what I was doing and upon finding I was knitting something for myself looked cross and indignant, then lost interest and wandered off. Her older brother had a different approach. He didn’t object to my knitting but politely insisted that I had to knit something for him next. He decided it needed to be a replacement Scarfy.
At this point I better explain what a scarfy is. It all started when I was trying to knit myself a circular scarf thingy, inspired by my buff. I bought some hand dyed indigo sock yarn and tried to knit it in the round. I never got far, partly due to impatience at knitting with such fine yarn. And partly due to a small boy (age 4 at the time), demanding I knit him a tubular scarf, with yellow and red stripes going up and down it and a green stripe around the top and bottom. He was very insistant and scarfy was duly knitted. It turned out kind of like a wide headband that could be worn around the neck but he mainly wore it over his ears (someone told him that he looked like a cool ski dude like this. He had no idea what it meant but was pleased.) He wore it a lot his first year at school, often in the classroom. Little sister had a purply version made with sequins. Hers is still around somewhere, his has gone astray at some point.
Well, I agreed to make a new scarfy after I’d finished my mitts and together went through my inherited yarn stash, mainly acrillic double knit, and to my surprise he chose a rather tasteful green, red and gold variagaited yarn that is very autumnal. On reflection I think he didn’t want to miss out on variagated yarn, as my mitts were also in a variagated yarn. I insisted on chosing a matching dark slightly bluey green to border it, to capatilise on the tastefulness.
Knitting the Scarfy was straightforward, the main piece is just garter stitch and there’s not many stitches to a row, so it’s plain sailing. Initially I cast on 20 stitches, but after a few rows I decided that would be too wide with a border as well, so I ripped it and started again with 16. My main problem was that I couldn’t find any straight needles vaguely the right size so I ended up using circular ones (but knitting back and forth with them rather than in the round) and the loop kept getting in the way. Anyway, you just knit to the desired length, remembering that it needs to be stretched when on (I forgot this and his ended up a bit baggy, I had complaints and had to shorten it).
When the main band was finished, I picked up stitches along each edge in turn, one stitch for every 2 rows (easy with garter stitch) and did 3 rows of 1 in 1 rib before casting off with Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off. Then there’s one short seam to sew up and voila, a new Scarfy to keep out the autumn chills (and make sure you’re not missing out).
Today, after a couple of weeks of wearing and a week missing in action it finally turned up and I got some photo’s to show you before it’s lost again.
Of course, this then prompted a fit of jealousy from little sister. So for reasons to complicated to go into I said I’d make her a headband with flowers on. I chose some blue from the stash (a thin ply that I knit double) that reminded me of a t shirt that really suits her which is also covered in felt flowers. This time the rows were even shorter (12 stitches) and quicker to knit up, plus I didn’t border it, so no picking up stitches and I soon had a headband.
I searched the wonderful web for flower patterns and found this free Gerbera pattern from ODD Knit (this site is fantastic and has lots of small quick projects to use odds and ends of yarn up). A gerbera seemed a good choice as the flower needs to be flat to fit on a headband, and the simple daisy style shape will be accepted as suitably flowerey by a 5 year old.
For the pattern, you knit the petals one at a time, but the last stitch of each one is used to make the first stitch of the cast on for the next petal, so they end up linked together in a chain. The petals are knit sideways, you cast on, knit 4 short rows (to shape the petal), then cast off and start again. I found the cast on the longest part. As the cast on and cast of edges curl inwards and are clearly visible, a method of casting on using a crochet hook called the Bind Off Cast On is used, so that both sides of the petal look the same. I hadn’t come accross this before but found this description, also by ODD Knit, easy to follow. I also came accross a U tube link, but I juch prefer written instructions with clear illustrations that I can take at my own pace to video’s. The only thing I’m not sure about is that the instructions seem to say that you need to take your crochet hook out of the yarn loop and reinsert it the other way each time. After a while I got bored and stopped doing this. I didn’t notice a change in appearance and it sped up the cast on.
I only knit 10 petals rather than 32 as in the pattern, as I wanted them to lie flat and not be in two layers like the gerbera in the pattern, plus I was impatient. Ten just felt about right. I knit two flowers, one in a yellow yarn and one in the variagated yarn to match her brothers scarfy (they appreciate that kind of detail). The flowers are quite big in relation to the headband so two was plenty. On reflection I should maybe have played around a bit and adapted the petals to be shorter and fatter. I didn’t knit the inner part of the flowers or the stalks, just the petals. Instead I used buttons for the centres. She had great fun rearranging my button collection (i.e. spreading it all over the table, taking sets ouf packets and mixing them up etc.) and chose two buttons. They weren’t my first choice, but she hadn’t had any say in the yarn colours so this was the compromise.
I sewed the base of each petal onto the headband to secure each flower and added a button centre.
I think the petals would be improved by being shorter and fatter, but I’m happy enough with it and she seems pleased too. Well, she does when I’m not trying to take her photo.