30 May 2016

Knitting on the rails

Detail of simple stitch pattern.

For several months this year my DH and I have braved America's train service, Amtrak, travelling from our home near Boston to the soul-destroying rabbit warren that is Pennsylvania Station, in New York City.  A nervous traveller, I find knitting helps me relax, and enjoy projects like scarves where the gauge doesn't matter and which don't require too much yarn.

The book  60 Quick Cowls includes a scarf designed by Debbie O'Neill called "Touch of Texture", featuring a simple stitch pattern which, while interesting enough to avoid utter boredom, is not so complicated that Amtrak's frequent surprises - delays, and worse - will lead to mistakes due to distraction.

Lilac scarf: Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light. Purple scarf: Malabrigo Rios merino.

Although the book 60 Quick Cowls is published by the Cascade Yarns company, I've yet to use their specific yarn recommended in the pattern. The lilac scarf in the image used one skein of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, a soft alpaca/wool blend; the darker purple scarf utilized one skein of Malabrigo Rios, a washable merino.

Having made several of what I call my Amtrak scarves, I think this accessory looks best in solid colors; even the subtle variegation of the Malabrigo detracts from the texture of the pattern.  Also, when knitting in the round, there's the problem of binding off the last row of what is essentially a spiral of knitting; I found this video useful for addressing that finishing challenge.

Touch of Texture Cowl
Knitted Measurements
Circumference: 26.5”/ 67.5cm
Length: 7.5”/19cm

1   3 ½ oz/100g hank (each approx.. 197 yds/180 m) of Cascade Yarns Highland Duo (baby alpaca/merino wool)
Size 6 (4mm) circular needles, 24”/60 cm long, or size to obtain gauge
Stitch marker

Cast on loosely 132 sts. Join, taking care not to twist sts, and place marker for beg of rnd. Work in simple stitch pat until piece measure 7 ½ “/19cm, end with a rnd 1.  Bind off loosely knitwise.

Block lightly.

20 sts and 30 rnds to 4”/10cm over simple stitch pat using size 6 (4mm) needles.
Take time to check gauge.

Simple Stitch Pattern
(multiple of 4 sts)
Rnd 1 *P3, k1; rep from * around.
Rnds 2 and 4 Knit.
Rnd 3 *Pl, k1, p2; rep from * around.
Rep rnds 1-4 for simple stitch pat.

Cowl in  Malabrigo Rios merino, colorway Jupiter.