I’ve been knitting a scarf in a Coastal Colours alpaca/silk/cashmere blend using a Wenselydale Longwools Sheep Shop pattern called simply Wensleydale 4-ply Scarf. It’s finished and currently in the process of being blocked. I’m blocking it quite hard because the knitted-up sample I saw on the Wensleydale Longwools stand at Masham Sheep Fair – which is probably the one in the photo on the front of the pattern leaflet – looked very light and airy.
The hand-dyed yarn was absolutely beautiful to knit with, no knots or dodgy sections, just gorgeously soft and springy with fabulous jewel tones of blue leavened with a little grey and turquoise. The only issue was a slight dye leakage when I soaked the scarf prior to blocking. I wish I could keep it but, alas, it’s promised to a friend and she knows I’m knitting it!
The pattern is simplicity itself, a repeat of a few rows that’s easily memorised. I love the way the scarf is subtly curved as a result of increasing along one edge while casting off several stitches at the other edge every now and again to create the Hitchhiker-like “teeth”. My only criticism is that, as written, the pattern only produces a skinny scarf. I’d knitted about a third of it before I decided it was just too narrow, so I did a bit of weighing and calculation and decided I could make it 25% wider and still have it long enough.
Fortunately, not only is the yardage of this Coastal Colours yarn better than the Wensleydale Longwools equivalent that the pattern was written for, but my skein was a very generous one, over 10% heavier than the 100g it’s supposed to be. The finished item is about 7” wide, enough to bunch it around the neck when worn as a winter scarf, or just about cover the shoulders on a summer evening.
Now that’s out of the way, I need to design a gansey-style cowl for someone else. (Why do I keep promising to knit things for other people when I could be making things for myself?) When we were in Cornwall recently, the friend who took us to Polperro museum was quite taken with a long cowl on display in the small shop area at the entrance. Kits were on sale to make the cowl and other small knit-frock/gansey-type items, like gloves and hats. My friend found the price of the cowl kit off-putting – quality gansey yarn is expensive, unfortunately, and a long cowl takes quite a lot of it – and she isn’t a knitter anyway, so like an idiot I volunteered to make her one for Christmas using the Frangipani yarn I have left over from the gansey I knitted in 2014.