New Pattern Release: Aviator Scarf

Introducing my latest pattern: the Aviator Scarf!  This lacy scarf pattern can be worked in lace weight or fingering weight yarn, with two very different finished products.  The lace-weight version produces an ethereal scrumptious scarf that floats around your neck.  The fingering-weight version is sturdier and more forthright (and, it should be said, a much faster knit).

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Pattern: Aviator Scarf

Designer: Rachel Henry (that’s me!)

Available: for $1.99 at Knit Picks

Yarn: Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud (for the lace version) or Knit Picks Gloss Sock (for the fingering version)

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Inspiration: I wanted to make something lacy that looked impressive but was do-able for beginner lace knitters. Size, repeating pattern, and only a few lace stitches make this scarf deceptively simple. Early in the design process I found myself thinking of real-life aviators and steampunk air pirates while working on the pattern — this scarf is for the girl pilot in all of us :).

Design/Skills Needed: Scarf is worked in two halves, starting from the ends and grafted together in the middle. Wrong-side rows are purled to speed knitting, and narrow garter-stitch borders help the scarf lie flat. The pattern looks tricky, but is achieved with only k, p, k2tog, YO, ssk, and a right-leaning centered double decrease.

I would be delighted to answer any questions or help any knitters working on this project.

Tips and Tricks: Interchangeable Cables as Blocking Wires

Early this week I finished work on a lace scarf — it’s a sample knit that I need to photograph and send off to Knit Picks for their Independent Designer Program.  Assuming all goes well, the pattern for my “Aviator Scarf” will be live later this month.  The pattern has two versions: one for lace-weight yarn, and another for fingering-weight yarn.  I made the lace-weight sample first, out of Alpaca Cloud in Oyster Heather.  It’s lovely, but I got lazy in the blocking and didn’t use enough pins, which created an unintentional “scalloped” edge, as you can see in this photo:

1306 aviator scarf (lace weight)

If that’s what I were going for, all would be fine and good.  However, I really wanted the scarf to have a smooth, straight edge.  I was able to fix the “scallops” with a little judicious steam blocking, but when I finished the fingering-weight sample scarf (Gloss Fingering in Robot — how cool a colorway name is that?), I wanted to block it right the first time. Now, of course this would all be easier if I owned some proper blocking wires, but I don’t.  However, I did listen attentively when my friend Heather talked about her plan to block her recently completed pi shawl using the cables from her interchangeable needle set.  Brilliant, I thought!

(Let us pause for a moment to admire her gorgeous shawl!)

Without any further information, I decided to give it a go with my scarf.  I had two 40-inch cables available, which was enough for one side.  My other 40-inch cables were in use (ahem, WIPs, ahem), so I had to make do with four 24-inch cables on the other side.  I put my smallest needle tip (US 4) on one of the cable, and threaded it through each purl bump on the garter-stitch edge.  After this, I put cable end-caps on for safety, although I don’t think I’ll bother to do that in the future.

1326 blocking with KP cables

Pinning out the cables was a breeze:

1325 blocking with KP Cables

Here’s the whole thing, all pinned out:

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The results were fantastic — the cables came out smooth and easy.  The edge was great — just as smooth and straight as I could wish.  I was a little worried about some of the places where two cables met, but it turned out better than I expected. I still need to get pattern-quality photos taken of both versions of the scarf.  I’m hoping to steal away my photographer friend at this weekend’s agility trial for a few outdoor photos.  Failing that, I can take reasonably good photos on my own.  One way or another, the samples and the pattern PDF will be headed for Knit Picks early next week.