This scarf was being designed when the Boston Marathon bombing occurred on April 15, 2013. Like so many persons, my heart was pierced when I heard that 8 year old Martin Richard was killed. When I saw a photo of him in a white suit, at his first communion, it was all the more poignant. He was surely going to be a handsome young man. I decided this was to be a scarf that Martin would want to wear as a stylish young adult. Martin, this one’s for you.
If you download this free pattern, please consider making a donation to the One Fund Boston 2013, a fund to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Doing so is a gesture of hope, a way of knitting into and beyond the sadness that this tragic event evoked. It’s a way of standing with the victims, and participating in healing. https://secure.onefundboston.org/
This scarf is knit lengthwise, meaning the entire length of the scarf is cast on. Using the linen stitch, and alternating colorways in transition areas, gives a gradation of colors with a woven look. Also, the scarf lies perfectly flat, without blocking, due to the nature of the linen stitch. It’s been my experience that knitters vary widely in the needle sizes they use for the linen stitch in obtaining comparable fabric. For instance, I am a continental knitter who tensions his yarn around his index finger twice. I think I am a slightly tight knitter. I used a US size 9. Another person in our knitting group used a US size 4 to achieve a comparable linen stitch fabric on a different scarf.
The most troublesome part in designing this scarf was determining which bind-off to use. I cast on using the German Twisted long tail cast on. With that cast on, or with the regular long tail cast on, I often use the sewn bind off (Elizabeth Zimmerman), which creates an edge that looks very much like the long tail cast on. This time, it did not work at all. It was far too loose. Perhaps it was the slipped stitches that are part of the linen stitch. I then reworked the last row so that all stitches were worked (no slipped stitches), doing K1, P1, so that the purl bump would mimic the bar that falls across the slipped stitch in the linen stitch. Sewn bind-off still looked loose. Okay…rework last row with smaller needle, then do sewn bind off. (At this point, I had wised up a bit, developed a swatch, and was practicing these alternatives on it, since each row on the scarf was 359 stitches!) The sewn bind off finally looked good using a size 1 (!!!) needle. Of course, that pulled the scarf in on that side…so no good. Tried two other bind offs….including one called the cable bind off. It almost looked okay, but left bars on the edge going perpendicular to the rest of the bars in the linen stitch. After two days of experimentation, I found the solution. Using size 6 needles (which was 3 sizes below the size 9 needles used for the scarf), I did the regular basic bind off, except in a K1, P1 sequence, and bound off on the WS of the knitting. The result looks exquisite. (Yes, one does use such high praise when a cast on and bind off look so closely aligned that people can’t tell the difference!)