Monday, July 26, 2010

Reversible Herringbone Scarf

What is it about Herringbone that in suits and coats it gets eye-rolling but when you knit it up into scarves or sweaters it elicits such oohs and ahhs.

I was on book tour last month for KNITS MEN WANT and one of my stops was for a book signing at SIt-N-Knit in Bloomfield, CT. I used to teach there and it was nice going back for a visit. And as soon as the pleasantries were out of the way, I headed back to the sale nook to grab something for a flight to California - where I knitted on the TV show "View From The Bay" in San Francisco. Well, the first thing that caught my eye was a small basket of Duchess, by Classic Elite. It's a supersoft blend with Merino, Cashmere, and Angora in the mix. There were only 8 skeins left - 4 light brown and 4 dark. And at 40% off I grabbed them all.

Now, I'me a loose knitter so I always go with needles 2 sizes smaller than the manufacturer suggests, which was a 10.5 US. So I grabbed some 8s, 9s, and 10s, and figured I'd swatch my way across the country.

By the time we reached Chicago, I had stockinetted, gartered, seeded, and even cabled in all three sizes but it just wasn't jiving. I am a firm believer that picking the right stitch and pattern for any given yarn is everything. Even an inexperienced knitter can make something that looks fantastic when the stitch/pattern and yarn mesh well. And if they don't, even Ms Zimmerman herself wouldn't be able to make something wear-worthy. Across the aisle from me was a small woman in a 2-tone herringbone tweed suit (in JULY!). I thought how nice that might look knitted very tightly in my new Duchess yarn. I knit herringbone as a coudlbe knit stitch, each stitch being worked twice - first as you knit (or purl) it onto the needle and then again when you get to it on the following row, working it on the row below along with the new stitch being created on the needle. The result is a thick and warm yet very masculine garment that's reversible. But all that thick knitting required size 13s, which I wouldn't be able to get until I landed in San Francisco.

Finally, with my needles in hand, I began the scarf, only to realize that the herringbone pattern was going side to side and I wanted them to shoot up and down the length of the scarf, not from side to side. So back to the store I ran for a 40" circular needle And began the scarf lengthwise, 420 stitches in each row. I had to keep telling myself that it's only 28 rows.

Like the pattern? Check it out (and all my other patterns) at and download it to make for yourself! to order this pattern, just click here! buy now