Friday, July 10, 2015

Crispy-first Sky Scarf

Some of my closest friends are those I've known since college, so we're all somewhere in our forties now.  One of them--maybe even me--received one of those Hallmark audio cards in which cartoon puppies/bunnies/unspecified, cutsey-snark mammals with the chipmunk voices congratulated its recipient for reaching over-the-hill status.  For being more than well-done.  For being crispy.

This was three or four years ago.  When I turned forty-one around that time, another friend gave me one of the most decadent creations on the face of the earth:  CHEESECAKE.

Crispy-First Birthday Cheesecake

And, I decided to begin a sky scarf...which I apparently didn't share anything about here on the blog.  My project notes on Ravelry are pretty sparse, too, but I'm going to share about it now, years later.  You're welcome.

Sky scarves have been around for awhile, originating with Lea Redmond of Leafcutter Designs.  The idea is to knit, every day, two rows that resemble the color of the sky for that day:  one row to the opposite side of the scarf, one row back to the starting point.

I loved the idea, and figured my forty-first birthday was as good an occasion as any to begin one.  So, I cast on 41 stitches.   I decided to knit in a seed stitch pattern and to separate each month's set of rows with two black rows.

Sky Scarf beginning

I used fingering weight yarn and held two strands together that were not always the same color (say, if there was a partly cloudy day, I held a blue and a white yarn together).  In the end, I used a light blue, a dark blue, a light gray, a dark gray, white, a grungy tan for that season when the pastures in the Flint Hills are burning and the smoke drifts southward, and, of course, black.  (I was fully prepared to include a pale green for those skies that look nauseous before tornados descend.  I never had to, thankfully.)

I was pretty faithful to knit my two rows every day, for awhile.  Each day around noon, I looked up, took note of the sky's color, wrote it in a pocket calendar I carried with me, and knit its likeness later in the day.  And then, less than six months in, I got tired of it.

Sky Scarf halfway

At which point, I would record a few days' colors before I knit them.  And then in the ninth or tenth month, all I was doing was writing in my calendar.  By my forty-second birthday, I had filled the calendar but not completed the scarf.  That didn't happen until over a year later.  There's only so long I can stand having a knitting UFO around before I rip it all out, and there was no way in all of God's Great Glory I was going to do that.  So I buckled down and finished it.

All the time I worked on it, I carried the yarn colors I used most often up the side of the scarf.  The yarns that I snipped off and then cast on again several days or weeks later were strands flopping out up and down the scarf.  The snaking yarns and floppy yarns together made that side of the scarf look like Zeus' straggly monobrow.  And then there was the fact the scarf had grown long enough to throttle Zeus, so I decided to connect the ends with a three-needle bind off, and I encased the ghastly side of the scarf with an applied i-cord.

Sky Scarf applied i-cord

I have worn this scarf two or three times since finishing it.  On those days when the wind chill might have sandblasted my tender, aging skin, I piled a year's worth of days in loops over my face.  I drove that way.  People saw me with it on, a mountain of skies on my shoulders, but I didn't care.  I didn't get freeze-dried crispy.

Sky Scarf done

Sky Scarf & demure pumpkin

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