Sunday, March 25, 2012

WWI Scarf

Recently I've been delving a bit more into historical knitting and found a free online e-book about knitting for soldiers during WWI called "Knitting and Sewing: How to Make Seventy Useful Articles for Men in the Army and Navy" by Maud Churchill Nicoll (1918) (Ravelry link; direct link to ebook pdf.)

I've started with the "scarf", pg. 43.
The scarf drying on my newly scrubbed bathroom floor
The scarf is extremely simple - garter stitch all the way - with an option for using fingering weight yarn, or a dk/sport weight yarn. Not feeling like making it a HUGE commitment, I opted for dk weight, esp. since I found a good yarn for a reasonable price at my LYS.

Since the stitch and styling is so generic, I strove to make it more authentic by trying to achieve proper gauge and, more importantly, using a plausible yarn. This pattern called for "Thibetan Llama Wool", so I opted for using llama. I've never sought out llama yarn before, and an internet search was kind of depressing me, but then I lucked out. My LYS had some Plymouth Yarn Co. Dye For Me Baby Llama DK in the basement. (It only took two skeins to make this scarf, which is about 636 yds (542 meters)... you know how garter stitch really eats up the yarn!) The pattern calls for using either khaki, navy, or a natural color, and this being undyed yarn, it's "natural" color as far as I'm concerned. I'm not sure if there's a massive difference between baby llama and adult llama wool, but baby llama basically feels and works like alpaca. The pattern said it would make a soft scarf, and it certainly is, so good enough.

There wasn't a lot of variation to entertain me with this scarf - no color changes, or stitch patterns, so I essentially got through this project on willpower and pig-headedness, which I fortunately have in abundance. (Well, at least as far as the pig-headedness is concerned.) According to my rough calculations (CO 52 sts, 50 ridges = 12 inches, 1 ridge = 2 rows, total scarf length = 72 inches) I knit 31,200 sts. I believe a sweater is something around 50,000. So, this project is not quite quickie mittens, nor a sweater, but something in-between.

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