And then I invented it

 A while ago I got a letter from this complete and total stranger who had something that I wanted. The whole story about the thing is coming later, when I have his permission, but to sum up, we decided to barter for this thing, and what he wanted was a scarf. Something that had shades of grey in a "gradient".  (I think he’s been reading the blog.)

I started thinking about it, and I looked around, but I couldn’t quite find yarn that I wanted that did just what I wanted and then I realized that there was no way that I was going to find it because the effect I was looking for was rather impossible to achieve that way. 
I imagined a scarf that was chevrons, pointing all the way from one end to the other, like a big repeating arrow, and I imagined that this scarf changed colour along the grey scale a few times.  I ordered a whack of yarn, and while I waited for it to come, I plotted. (I ordered it from True North Yarns and they shipped it in about 15 minutes.  I plotted quickly. By the way? That shop sells Phentex.  You’re welcome.)

When the yarn arrived, I gave my idea a go.  I’d drafted the plan out on graph paper, and after one false start (the gauge I imagined was all wrong) I got it going on.  There’s a knit/purl pattern establishing the arrows, and then each new colour comes in by way of intarsia. 

It’s way faster to knit than I thought it would be, and possibly addictive. In just a few days I’m already at the halfway point, and that means that I should be done in a day or two, and that thrills me to death, because as happy as I am with this scarf, it’s not a Christmas present, and I don’t have time to lose focus. I’m sure you understand.

93 thoughts on “And then I invented it

  1. Brilliant! I love grey-scale gradients, and I love chevron stitch patterns. I hope you’re up to writing out and selling this pattern. It’s a winner!

  2. This way you have more control over colours then with the grey to white Zauberball yarn. Gues what? I think I have figured out by looking at the pictures the pattern, sometimes it just helps being a knitter from just older then Kindergarten up till now, more then 50 years later and I would surely knit this on onepointed knitting needles (or dpn;s if you use the leather knittingshaft).

  3. answer on your most recent tweet: i do not do twitter) a man’s scarf should be long enough to take double, loop around the neck and hang on his shoulderblades or over his waist but just not ticking his real buttocks and short enough for him not to stumble on one end hanging loosely to the ground, we have to protect them from some youthful stupidity, so, if one end hangs on the ground, the other end should have no loop around the neck anymore (and tell him to be carefull when getting in and out of railwaycoaches or roadcouches with sliding doors, do not let the doors catch the scarve, just saying.

  4. Very cool! Lucky guy! And I’m laughing, because yes, I just did a major project that had nothing to do with Christmas or December birthdays.
    That pattern and color changing would look great in a cowl, too, y’know…

  5. That is beautiful. I find myself oddly happy that someone had something that you wanted and that you are able to make something that he wanted and both of you will be happy. I’m happy that my imaginary internet friends are happy.

  6. PHENTEX…True North…they go together. I remember one of our first stays with friends in Northern Quebec about 40 years ago…slippers knitted with Phentex. An interesting ‘fiber’, to be sure!

  7. That, in a word, is PHENOMENAL. Really a true beauty. And I am sure the person getting it will enjoy it. I just hope you all grace us with a new pattern? Maybe more Doctors Without Borders donations?

  8. Could you share the pattern for a Doctor without Borders donation? As for Phentex, I’m sure any slippers made with it are still around. ;o)

  9. That Phentex stuff is hella nasty. They have it at Michael’s where I live and I felt it when I saw it…. yikes! Like plastic-y sandpaper. That scarf is beautiful though. I really do hope you share the pattern!

  10. I saw Julie’s post above, which got me thinking. You can add another $25 to the knitters without borders/ Doctors without Borders total from me, too. Let’s help these people who desperately need it.
    I appeal to The Blog–let’s get a donation trend going!

  11. Clever design, I must say. Often textured scarves have a different look of the ‘wrong’ side.
    Also reminded me about that beautiful shawl that you knit with hand-spun yarn, with gradient of gray.

  12. You are just so damned talented! Can’t wait to find out what you’re bartering this lovely scarf for. And, I second the sweetpea, Rhinebeck sweater???

  13. Out here in the real world, we do not knit simple knit-purl patterns with intarsia at the rate of dozens of centimeters per day!
    But carry on, it looks fabulous, manly and yet not boring–a hard combination to find!

  14. I am American, not Canadian, and we had Phentex here as well. I remember knitting something out of it many years ago (when artificial fibers were the norm). I was using metal needles, and every stitch made a squeaking noise.
    Glad I haven’t seen it in years.

  15. This is an amazing scarf. Love the colour transitions and could also imagine it as one where if you were knitting with two strands, you dropped one strand and picked up the next colour for a gradual transition from one colour to the next. I echo the comments above requesting the pattern. Perhaps a fundraiser for MSF??

  16. Love the way the scarf is working out for you, and sure hope you take the time to write up the pattern.
    That being said, I noticed the comment about length. I read somewhere that a scarf should equal your height, if you want to use it to keep warm (not strictly decorative).

  17. If you release that pattern, you realize that it’s going to become a Thing, right? Like Color Addiction is a Thing. And Clapotis was a Thing (and still is).
    THIS. is the next THING.

  18. Love the scarf and that yarn is yummy – I just finished a huge cowl for a friend mixing Cascade Heathers (Rainier) with come sparkly mohair stuff and it’s gorgeous. I’m not making manly mitts out of the Forest Floor color….I hope we get a scarf pattern!

  19. The scarf is lovely – curious about the trade. What are you getting in return? Hmmm? Just donated $100 to MSF for typhoon Haiyan.

  20. It’s lovely. I’m thinking he must have something pretty good in exchange. I’m off to google Phentex now. It sounds like a pharmaceutical item, but I’m thinking that can’t be right.

  21. That looks really really fun!
    I really need to get over my irrational fear of intarsia and just try it. There are a ton of patterns that I like that use it. (my first sweater was a bohus, for crying out loud, I shouldn’t be scared of a little intarsia!)

  22. That’s a brilliant pattern, especially for a man’s scarf. Will you publish it for us, I wonder? Hope so! I envision it in shades of plum…. or blues…. cream to tan… fine yarn, big chunky yarn, the possibilities are endless!

  23. I made the Chinook Shawl in gradiant greys. check out some of the photos when you google them. The trick was to knit double strand – i started out with double black for a rapport, then 1 strand black/1 strand dark grey for a rapport. Then double strand dark grey, then darkgrey/med grey, then double strand med grey etc. You get the drift. It turned out beautiful, so beautiful in fact that I sold that shawl right off my back to a co-worker. Never even had the chance to take a photo of it to put on ravelry.
    I like the chevron idea – PDA (pretty darn awesome)
    L

  24. Please, please, pretty please with silk and merino on top…pattern and how to do it….
    From USA knitter that likes what you did and wants to do it too!! 🙂
    Barb R.

  25. I’ve seen Phentex at Lens Mill stores, too. I remember having slippers made from that stuff, and they surely lasted longer than you could imagine.

  26. DANG… I’m joining the chorus of those wishing for the pattern. I was just knitting last night and thinking to myself that intarsia is just about the only knitting thing I haven’t tried yet, and then I thought, “NOTHING could be worth intarsia.” I should know not to speak in such absolutes to myself because I think this would be worth it.

  27. It sounds like your barter partner is a wise man with great taste. He has to be sharp to realize the value of anything that comes off your needles!

  28. Your pattern is different from the pattern Jody at 6:26 referenced. That one has more chevron “ribs” than yours and would not need intarsia.
    That said, I think your pattern looks great, and more suited to a man than the Ravelry pattern. Yours has a more tailored look, while all the ribs combined with the color changes in that one make it look a little fussy. I think the other might actually look better if done in a solid color or in alternating stripes!

  29. I think you’re supposed to make the scarf as long as they are tall? That’s what I did for my 6’8″ guy 2 years ago and it was perfect.

  30. Nowhere did I see the YH mention she is knitting the scarf with Phentex! In reality, she writes she ordered the yarn and then later on, as an aside (like stage actors saying something to the public their coplayers are not supposed to hear, as if they were gossiping) she wrtites, that: By the way, that shop sells Phentex. When I read her log I felt she was surprised that a good shop sells Phentex. But then, there are our veganist friends, not using anything that has animal life included in it (or death) and they want to knit too. And just sometimes, pure wool is too fragile for the use it will get, so I always knit socks from wool with a 20 % acryl or nylon to be sure I will not have holes after a few wearings, like some very expensive beautiful socalled sockwools do. Maybe in a next post YH will tell us which yarn it actually is. (And bamboo in sockwool makes for nice unsweaty feet in my semi orthopedic wintershoes)

  31. Wow… I don’t knit but have learned so much from you that I can see what’s going on, how you achieved the effect, and can make a rough translation in my head to how I’d (attempt to) pull this off in crochet. All I can say is: I bow down to your genius.

  32. I LOVE this scarf! Will you be writing up & selling the pattern? I can think of a couple of men in my life that would love this. How many colors on the greyscale did you use?

  33. Wow, I just made something similar for my little sister, in exactly the same shades of “gradient” gray! Except I bought 4 shades of Loft, and used 3 strands together, gradually swapping out one strand for the next color.
    Similar to what Candace Eisner Strick does, with her gradient colorwork.

  34. So totally cool and I’m guessing with the knit/purl pattern that it’s gotta be reversable so it’s perfect for a scarf. Bet that turns out to be the NEXT BIG THING! so many variations.

  35. Hi, Stephanie (waving from Texas, where it is cold today!),
    I just donated $50 to Doctors Without Borders for the Philippines relief fund. You may add this to your total.
    Thanks for reminding us of this great organization!
    Sandy

  36. so… the scarf is awesome and I have to wonder, does the pattern just continue to the end? Doesn’t that mean that when you wear it one side has “V’s” pointing in one way and the other has “V’s” pointing the opposite direction? I have heard you say you like lace scarves to match so you do both ends and then graft at the middle (back of the neck). A bit suprising that the “V’s” don’t require the same symmetry for you. I love it either way.

  37. saw Phentex at Walmart not that long ago….it brought back memories – I hate the feeling of it on my fingers ( never mind my tootsies..lol)

  38. 2nd post;
    Saw Iris S’s patterns on Ravelry and I like yours better. It holds my interest and I like the texture better. Please write it up and I will be first in line to buy!
    bjr – Cold in CT, USA

  39. Judy, you are right about the Jacob fleece shawl, I thought of that as well. What is up w/ the German spam I say too??? Had to look up Phentex, I guess we Americans are dumb on this also. Looks kind of weird.

  40. Ditto on the question of whether you’ll be posting the pattern on Ravelry! I hope you will because this seems like a great project for someone looking to learn intarsia. Thanks in advance!

  41. Several years ago my son went to Quebec for Carnival. I tried to find a pattern to make him a “Bon Homme” scarf….this pattern would be great!

  42. Beautiful scarf ~ please put the pattern on Ravelry; looks like something one of my sons might like (and he’s not easy to please)!

  43. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  44. I’ll gear this review to 2 types of people: current Zune owners who are considering an upgrade, and people trying to decide between a Zune and an iPod. (There are other players worth considering out there, like the Sony Walkman X, but I hope this gives you enough info to make an informed decision of the Zune vs players other than the iPod line as well.)

  45. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  46. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

  47. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

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