Everything old is new again.
Which is to say, even I, who hates to knit the same pattern twice, can find a reason to go back to a pattern when enough time has passed.
This fall, Ms. Z started Kindergarten. The transition from her wonderful pre-school to an equally wonderful Chicago public school has been a good one, but not always an easy one. We consider ourselves amazingly lucky that Ms. Z has a teacher who is clearly (as another parent aptly put it) "part luminous being". So, after an incident that required a great deal of parent-teacher coordination to work through, I wanted to do something that would reflect my appreciation: something that was a gift of my time to say thank you for the gift of her time. And I decided to knit her a scarf.
Almost 10 years ago, I knit a lovely scarf for my mother, using Joe's Cross Stitch scarf pattern. At the time, it felt like it took a long time to make for the payoff (mostly because of moving all those wrap stitches around) and so while I liked the result, it was only theoretically a fast knit.
As I started to cast around, as it were, for something for Ms. Z's teacher, I remembered this scarf, but I couldn't find the pattern. And when I started dredging through my old email and blog archives, I turned up a critical bit of information that made knitting the scarf faster: do the wraps on a bigger needle (a US 8, for instance) and only do two of them.
Suddenly a slog became a lightning fast scarf with a beautiful pattern stitch.
Joe's Koigu Cross Stitch Scarf
Yarn: Claudia Handpainted Yarns Fingering Weight
Colorways: Bearded Iris and Honey (1 skein each)
Needles: US 5 and US 8 (for wrap rows)
Ms. Z's school colors are purple and gold (think Minnesota Vikings) so I wanted to reflect that in the scarf without being too over the top about it.
I had some extra yarn, so I did an extra half interval of the pattern so that the scarf would be symmetrical and begin and end with the same color. Since my gauge was probably a little tighter than what Joe described as optimal in his pattern, this extra interval also gave me a bit more width. This scarf is a little shorter than the pattern describes as well, but it is also a bit denser, which, hopefully, makes it a little warmer against Chicago winter weather.
This is the pattern stitch after I blocked it. I love merino superwash yarns, but even though I blocked this out and stretched the crosses out a bit more, it reverted back to what it wanted to do and created a denser fabric. Ah well. At least this means Ms. Z's teacher won't have to go through any special blocking rituals to maintain it.
Of course, I finished the knitting on this scarf in late November and didn't manage to get it blocked until the end of December and then it took me until last weekend to fringe it. Now it just needs a care label and a note of thanks before I wrap it up and slip it into Ms. Z's teacher's inbox.
Whenever I knit something for someone I know on a more professional than personal level, I get a bit more nervous about sending the gift on. Not because I worry about the quality of the gift (I believe it is beautiful and well made) but because I worry that the receiver would have preferred something else or that the making of something might be perceived as too personal. So I'd love to hear from any teachers (or anyone one else in a field where you might get gifts from people you work with) amongst my readers on this subject. What would you think about receiving a hand knit scarf? Too personal or appropriate?