Friday, January 15, 2010

The SmarTrip Scarf: The Eight-Foot Journey Begins

So, I made my husband a Danica scarf last year, and while he wore it all last winter, he's only worn it once this year, and reluctantly at that. Why? He's worried it's going to fall off and be lost. So, off I go on a Noble Quest to find a Scarf That Won't Fall Off. There's the moebius method: Tonya's got some great photos of hers. There's Mutant Penguin's approach, which is a stick-one-end-through-the-other via the magic of construction.

Neither of these time-tested methods for scarf stop-loss will do, though, so I'm left with the following (spouse-cited) criteria:
1. It can't fall off.
2. It should have long ends, so if it's extra-cold, the ends can be wrapped about the head/neck for additional warmth.
3. One of the ends should have a secure pocket for a Metro SmarTrip card (works on the whole DC-Metro subway/bus system).
4. It should be long enough to look "normal" on someone in the 6'4"-6'6" range.
5. It should be machine-washable.
6. It can't fall off.
I decided the following would probably work:
1. moebius-style cowl
2. with two long floppy ends grafted (or knit) on in such a way that it'll fool the eye into thinking it's a normal scarf with
3. A built in pocket.
That's all great... but how?

To make a thick fabric from the get-go, I'll be doing a k1p1 rib in worsted-weight yarn on small (size 4) needles. I've done a Noro moebius cowl before (see here) over 40 stitches. No way that's going to be wide enough. Hm. My striped scarf was done over 50 stitches, in somewhat thicker yarn than the Noro (Lorna's Laces Worsted, I believe). Close... but probably not wide enough.

So, this Adventure in Spouse-Requested Knitting will begin with 60 stitches in a k1p1 rib, with a color-change every four rows between a "bright color that will show up" and "something that looks cool with it". (It looks like an '80s era computer monitor.) It will start with a close-fitting moebius cowl (I'll be grafting the moebius effect, which is cheating, but hey, it worked just fine for mine), which will take a while, since it's 60 stitches on size four needles, and my husband has a large skull, over which the cowl must fit snugly (but not TOO snugly).

Here's what I've got so far.

Looks like quite a bit, until you realize that it's going to be OVER EIGHT FEET LONG by the end. (I'm thinking this'll be a nice scarf for NEXT winter, but I'm going to try to finish it this year. It'll be my carry-around project once Clapotis is done.)


  1. Okay, I feel really stupid, but I'm not quite sure what's going on in this post - has his neck gotten massively large? Has his scarf become slippery? I don't think I've ever had a scarf fall off - is this some new issues sweeping the nation? Maybe my scarfs are in danger and I don't know.

    I hope this doesn't plague me tonight (as I love my scarfs).

  2. The colours go well together, this will keep you busy for some time

  3. I find it so interesting how each designer's brain works so differently.

    When I read your requirements, my brain created a cowl with stitches picked up in the back to form two scarf halves. The scarf would stay centered, and not fall off, and you'd still have that scarf effect.

    Also, a bonus for me is that the scarf would be guaranteed to keep the whole neck warm and not leave that little triangle of skin open to cool air as sometimes happens for me with scarves.

    I'd also add a zipper or manly buttons, so that the cowl doesn't have to fit over his head.

    I should really write some of this stuff up sometime, huh.


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