A Scarf With Your Snood?

Here’s the Mustardseed Scarf I’ve been knitting for my brother-in-law. It’s photographed next to the Chanel Style Bag. Both knitting patterns are from Jane Brocket‘s The Gentle Art of Knitting. (I went to the book launch at Loop back in May.)

I want to make almost everything in this book. What I particularly like about this title is that it isn’t aligned with a wool supplier. Many are, Rowan being the most high profile. That’s fine, they make gorgeous patterns – but they only recommend their own wool brands. Jane’s book has allowed me to venture beyond the larger companies and explore gorgeous other wools. Gorgeous, expensive other wools! There’s a knitted rug that I really want to make, but I’m still trying to come to terms with how much the wool will cost. I don’t know why I feel guilty about the spends on knitting, when I seem to happily throw money at sewing. Can’t figure that one out. Especially as it’s true what people say – decent wool makes the world of difference to a make.

And decent wool was used on this scarf. It’s Malabrigo Worsted, a 100% merino wool that is so soft against the skin. It comes in beautiful colours; no photo can do it justice. This scarf has variations of colour weaved through it from aubergine to chocolate.

In my opinion, it would be criminal to block this make. For knitting novices, blocking is when you dampen and very gently press the pieces of a knitted garment in order to give them shape or allow a lace pattern to reveal itself. There’s a good explanation here. But if I blocked this scarf, I’d flatten out the fabulous 3D effect that the row repeats give it:

I am going to chance my arm and say that if you managed to knit the Sensational Snood, you could knit a scarf like this. The only stitches it uses are knit and purl and a repeating 10-row pattern. You already know how to knit and purl! You could definitely make the Chanel Style bag, as that uses moss stitch which is just a repeat of knit one, purl one across a row. (For a great run down of knitting basics, including moss stitch, visit A Sewing Odyssey here.)

If you don’t want to invest in a book, you can still make a scarf easy-peasy. Choose a wool you like – I’d suggest an aran weight. Anything finer, and your scarf will be ready to wear just in time for summer! Then buy the right size needles (the wool band will recommend the needle size). Cast on an appropriate number of stitches – this pattern uses an aran weight wool and 35 stitches – and knit until you think your scarf is long enough. It’s that simple. The only advice I would give is to consider how scratchy your wool feels and how close it’s going to be to the tender skin of a throat – think merino, not tweed!

But if you have an Amazon wish list and want a knitting book for Christmas, you could do worse than point your nearest and dearest in the direction of Jane’s book. Her writing style is warm, friendly and down-to-earth and she has consciously made the patterns easy to knit. As she says at the start of the book:

‘Before you cast on, I should emphasise that this book is about the gentle art of knitting in that it is all about stress-free, relaxed, enjoyable, contemplative knitting that is a pleasure, not a chore.’

I found it very telling that each evening as I put my knitting down, I would flick through the book and just read and enjoy. I don’t do this with any other of my knitting books. Oh, and did I mention? On page 16, Jane makes wine recommendations to go with winter evenings of knitting.

Now, that’s my kind of woman. A glass of Australian Shiraz, anyone?

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22 Responses to A Scarf With Your Snood?

  1. Ooo another lovely knit, a gorgeous manly gift idea. Thanks only to you, as I have only just started to visit wool shops, I’ve got this book on my knitwishlist. I do love seeing what you make though … Lovely also to be advised of who could do it! Thank you.

  2. lladybird says:

    ahhh, the texture on that scarf is fabulous! love the color too 😀

  3. CGCouture says:

    So pretty! I tried to crochet, but apparently that’s not one of those skills I possess…so now I’m intimidated by knitting.

    • Liz says:

      If you want to knit, it might be worth giving it a try – I know some brilliant knitters who are stymied by crochet, so don’t let not being able to crochet put you off.

  4. Elisalex says:

    I went to that launch too! Lots of lovely things in there bookmarked for when the Christmas craziness calms down… Beautiful scarf and I completely agree with you non-block-wise. I’m a big texture knitter, so I rarely block as I wouldn’t want to flatten all that luxuriousness!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    That is truly a special make. It’s gorgeous. I agree with you, don’t block it!!! Oh and if I were to write a book, I would recommend wines too. Great minds think alike!

  6. BEAUTIFUL scarf! Just beautiful!, and the bag is very, very elegant, lovely infact. I’ve also been scrolling back through your blog posts to marvel at your stripy nail polish, and be in awe of your coat. The thought of making a coat is rather amazing to me. And the top you made looks fab on you, the colour is lovely. The pattern in your scarf is just gorgeous isn’t it. And it makes a great scarf for a man or a woman. It’s a really good book isn’t it, Jane’s book, she’s pitched it so well, lots of things for everyone there. Oh and yes, don’t block it, I agree with you on that completely! Vanessa xxx

  7. Lovely scarf, what a lucky brother-in-law. Guess what, Amy is contemplating an additional make…the yellow jumper I am doing (but not in yellow)…watch this space…

  8. Law says:

    Wine recommendations in a craft book! That alone is tempting me to learn knitting, and I was planning to learn crochet!

  9. Joanne says:

    Ooh that scarf looks so soft and cosy Karen… perfect for winter. It’s making me want to take up knitting again! Gorgeous.

  10. Andrea says:

    Lovely scarf! I really enjoy knitting with Malabrigo yarns and particularly enjoy the colour variations you get within the same skein. These yarns feel very luxurious to me. Your review of this book makes me want to take a trip to the bookstore and find a copy – wine and knitting? Yes, please!

  11. Liz says:

    That scarf is gorgeous!

  12. Michelle says:

    Last year I crocheted 7 (or was it 8?) beanies for a group of friends that were travelling to the Central Australian desert with me. I used the Malabrigo worsted, and it was the best yarn – even those sensative to wool loved wearing it. I would use it again and again if I could! Except for the accidental feliting when you accidentally put it in your washing machine 🙁

    (It’s still very soft felted, by the way)

    I think you are right not to block the scarf. If anything, I’d give it a gentle steaming but I don’t think you need to.

    Beautiful! Lucky brother in law!

  13. Marie says:

    Oh, what beautiful things you’ve made Karen! That bag alone is worth buying the book for and it has immediately gone onto my Xmas gift wishlist. Thanks to your inspiring ways, I’ve been knitting up a storm recently, but I can’t reveal anything until after Xmas :o( Oh and thanks for the blog mention, I hope beginners find that post helpful!

  14. Sophia says:

    You may as well have been speaking another language because I didn’t understand most of the knitting lingo, but boy do I looooove that scarf. 🙂

  15. Kat says:

    Off to update my Amazon Wish List right now! What a lovely snuggly scarf, and I love the colour of the wool. Gorgeous 🙂

  16. Donna says:

    I love both these knits, they are fabulous!

    I’m definitely puttingthe book on my Christmas list now :o)

    Take care,
    Donna x

  17. Roobeedoo says:

    Lovely knits!
    Have you joined Ravelry yet?

  18. gingermakes says:

    Ooh, I like that scarf! Malabrigo is ridiculously soft and pretty! I love it!

  19. Alessa says:

    Ah, I’ve also recently fallen in love with Merino wool. I’m kind of the other way around, though. Since I’ve found that a lot of knits can be made with just one ball of yarn (hats, mittens, snoods, scarflets, practically anything with a lace stitch…), I’ve been buying a lot of rather expensive yarn… 😉 For now, I’m saving my money on books and patterns, since Ravelry is such a wonderful resource for free patterns. Your scarf is really pretty, though, and I love the purse!

  20. woolmix says:

    Gorgeous scarf, especially the blue contrast edging. Hoping Father Christmas brings me some Malabrigo. Or some Australian Shiraz – that would do too.

  21. Alex Charls says:

    WOW!! Looks very warm and attractive!!Excellent post!!

    Scarves for Men

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