29 Oct 2013

How long shall I make this scarf?

One question I was asked last week is how long a scarf should be, especially when the person is knitting it as a gift. Unfortunately, my answer was: "Well, it depends!" Not very satisfactory, I agree.

So I am going to look at two of my scarf patterns, the Elizabeth Scarf shown above, and my newly-published pattern, the Beckenham Scarf, pictured below. 

I tend to think of the Elizabeth Scarf as a ladies' scarf, and the Beckenham Scarf as one for the men-folk, but of course this is rather a sweeping generalisation and both could be suitable for anyone on your gift-list with the right yarn and colour choices.

Both of the scarves feature reversible stitches which means that they will suit any style of wearing. If a scarf is made from a regular knit stitch, then it is harder for it to look good when casually draped around the neck or thrown over the shoulder.

But a reversible scarf can be tucked in a dressy fashion inside an overcoat or allowed to wrap or drape at will, so will suit a variety of uses.

Both these patterns use reversible stitches taken from our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches. The Elizabeth Scarf uses one of my favourite reversible stitches, Hatfield Check, while the Beckenham Scarf features the dynamic Seeded Chevron pattern.

So, how do you choose what length to make your next scarf? 

The best rule of thumb is that you should make a scarf approximately equal to the height of the person who will be wearing it. This will give a nicely proportioned scarf without being too short for a tall person or swamping a more diminutive figure.

However, you can modify this "rule" by thinking of how the person usually wears their scarves.

The first category I think of as Senatorial or Executive. You see this style often at places such as Washington's Dulles airport on a Friday afternoon.

The scarf is neatly draped around the neckline and allowed to hang open with the scarf ends exactly aligned, then the blazer or overcoat is shrugged on over the top. If the temperatures start to drop, then one end of the scarf can be folded neatly over the other and the coat buttoned up.

For this style you will want a reasonably narrow scarf, say 15-20cm/6-8 ins wide, preferably worked in a soft and fine yarn such as a luxurious merino. 

For the ladies, continue until it measures about 112-120cm / 44-48 ins long. For a man's scarf, 120-135cm / 48-54 ins would make a good draping length. 

The next style of scarf is for the Active Set. It is a bit longer than the previous version, so can either be flipped back over the shoulder or wrapped tightly around the neckline. 

This is a popular style for walkers and cyclists. The wrapping gives extra warmth at the point where the wind usually finds a gap at the top of your coat, yet is not trailing to risk getting caught in the spokes of your wheel. 

Knit these scarves with a width of 18-22 cm / 7-9 ins using a cozy medium-weight wool, and with a length of about 135cm / 54 ins for a lady and 150cm / 60 ins for a chap.

That brings us to the Regular Scarf. We all have some of these — a good average length and perfect for most uses. If you can't decide what length of scarf to make, then go for this one. It will find a happy home somewhere! 

Keep the width as for the last scarf but make the scarf about 165cm / 66 ins long for the ladies on your gift list, and 185cm / 72 ins for the men.

The next style is for the Artistic people you know. Adding an extra 15cm / 6 ins to the length of the scarf gives extra scope for more innovative wrapping methods, including the ever-popular centre-pull wrap.

So for the ladies, aim for 185cm / 72 ins and for the men make the scarf 200cm / 78 ins long.

The maroon Elizabeth Scarf pictured here, for example, is 16.5cm / 6.5 ins wide and 183cm / 72 ins long. This scarf can be wrapped several times around the neck or folded in more elaborate styles, giving it great versatility.

And in case you're wondering: that's our daughter Anna in the photo, trying to look as though she's warm despite the bitter winds that were blowing that day!

Or you can go wider. Knitting a 22-25cm / 9-10 ins scarf will give a good wide result, but going further to 28-35cm / 11-14 ins will give a cozy extra width for scrunching and folding into shape.

The chunky Beckenham Scarf shown here is 28cm / 11 ins wide x 185cm / 72 ins long.

Then there are the Fashionistas among us! And the trend this year is for super-long wrapping styles and volume for both ladies and men.

Go for the same width as above but just keep knitting until it looks right for the seriously fashion-conscious recipient. Just stop before Dr Who might consider wearing it!

For this type of volume-wrapping continue knitting until the scarf measures about 200-215cm / 78-84 ins in length.

I hope that gives you lots of ideas for tailoring your scarf patterns to just the right length for the person you have in mind. Please click here to see further details for all the scarf patterns available on my website.

(Oh, and in case you want to know, there were several Dr Who scarves, and the longest measured a cool 26ft! That's some serious knitting there...) 

Happy Knitting!


Last Blogpost: Beckenham Scarf

Next Up: It's Wovember!

Many thanks to Pinterest and Tumblr for the additional photos for this blogpost.

. 25/7/18 W

24 Oct 2013

Beckenham Scarf

One of the coldest apartments that I ever lived in was in an otherwise delightful town called Beckenham in Kent, down in the South-East corner of England. The flat seemed pleasantly cool in the summer when I moved in, but when winter arrived in full force then it was seriously cold.

I rapidly learnt that good quality knitwear was essential to keep the winter chills at bay.  

So, what better name for this new knitting pattern than the Beckenham Scarf ...

The pattern features a strongly graphical design which is just perfect for a man's scarf. 

There are two versions: the grey scarf is worked in a soft worsted-weight merino wool, while the green version uses a super-warm chunky yarn. 

The worsted weight scarf can be worked in three widths ranging from 18.5-21.5 cm / 7½-8½ ins wide, while the chunky one measures 24-28 cm / 9½-11 ins.

There are also three lengths included in the pattern. The Slim scarf measures 150cm/60 ins in length, the Medium is 165cm/66 ins and the Wide size is 185cm/72 ins long — perfect for draping or wrapping several times around the neck.

Please see my blogpost dated 31 Mar 2014 for more details on these sizes and for additional photographs.

The stitch pattern is reversible and shows a dynamic pattern of interlocking zig-zags. This is based upon the Seeded Chevron stitch pattern from our book, Reversible Knitting StitchesReversible stitches are perfect for scarves as they can be draped casually around your neck without worrying which side is on show.

For more details about the Beckenham Scarf knitting pattern, please click here.

Also, please visit my website for lots of other scarf ideas to keep you cozy this winter.

Happy Knitting!


Last Blogpost: Derwent Cove Cushions
Next Up: How long shall I make this scarf?

. 25/7/18 W

6 Oct 2013

Derwent Cove Cushions

There's something magical about Southerly light. In Europe, you notice it as you leave Provence and head for the Mediterranean. Here in the Eastern USA you see it first as you drive into North Carolina. 

The sky seems bluer... the colours brighter... There's just a certain clarity to the light. 

You continue on your way through South Carolina and Georgia, and then you arrive in Florida and the transition is complete. Everyone is dressed in colourful shirts and tops, an intensely pink bougainvillea scrambles over a wall, bright green ferns nestle under swaying palm trees, and the ocean is an amazing turquoise colour. 

We visited a yarn store after a pleasurable afternoon strolling by the harbour in Venice, Florida recently. The gulf waters were a deep turquoise blue and we had been lucky enough to see the dolphins who frequent that area as they slowly made their way along near the shoreline. 

And there were the colours we had been seeing, right there on the yarn store shelves – the same turquoise as the sea, the blue of the sky, the whites and royal blue colours of the yachts sailing out to sea. 

Now we don't need to go down to the ocean to be reminded of those colours as they are right there in our sitting room, in these Derwent Cove Cushions. The bold diagonal stripe pattern captures the very essence of that perfect summer's day. 

So what colours would you like to bring indoors? A woodland walk celebrated in a vibrant mix of greens... or tonal shades of rock, sand and autumn colours, almost recalling the sound of the rustling leaves under your feet... 

It is amazing how different a pattern can look with a different colourway. Whether you make just one cushion or a whole set, it will bring those outside colours right into your living room. 

Please click here to read more details about the Derwent Cove Cushions knitting pattern, which is available for instant download from the website.

Happy Knitting! 


. 25/7/18 W


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