Bingham Hill Scarf, Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013

I love this scarf! (Pattern now available in Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2013.) It was fun to design and fun to knit; plus, it is easy to customize (by changing width or length), and can be worn in several different ways (as can be seen in the photos).

The design process started, as it does so often for me, with an intriguing stitch pattern I spotted in a stitch dictionary (in this case, one of the Japanese Knitting Pattern books). During the course of swatching, I noticed that the reverse side was very attractive (and later on, while flipping through stitch dictionaries again for something else, I realized that the reverse side had been used as the right side for another stitch pattern, and charted completely differently-- interesting!)

Since I have a bit of a pet peeve about scarves that are not reversible (especially if they are carefully arranged and photographed so you only see one side-- how the heck are you supposed to wear them like that?!), I immediately started wondering about how this stitch pattern could be used in a scarf. My general policy is that I will not publish a design for sale that simply plugs a stitch pattern, alone and unchanged, into something like a scarf (and a publisher like interweave is unlikely to accept that sort of thing), so I started looking for ways I could adapt the stitch pattern and turn it into something unique. More swatching ensued, and I realized that I could work decreases into the stitch pattern (and both sides looked good-- hooray!), and create lovely tapered ends for the scarf.

At this point I sent a design submission off to Interweave; the proposal included working the scarf in two halves, and then grafting or seaming them together in the center, so that the tapered ends would be identical.

After my submission was accepted, and Interweave sent me the gorgeous Manos del Uruguay Fino yarn, I realized that I would not be totally happy with the scarf if it were worked in two halves and then grafted or seamed: if grafted, the ribbing-based portion of the stitch pattern would be off by half a stitch (I go into some detail about grafting end-to-end vs. grafting in a continuous loop in this blog post). And if seamed, well, there would be a seam.

So before knitting the sample as I had proposed it to Interweave, I decided to invest a bit of time in trying to come up with a way to work the scarf in one piece, by starting at one end with just a couple of stitches, and working increases that were integrated into the stitch pattern, and then doing the decreases I had already worked out, to taper the other end. It was definitely helpful to have the decrease end already worked out, so I could use it as a guide, and in the end, I did it! 

The only other question was whether to add tassels, and I decided to do so simply by making a tassel and attaching it to one end, and seeing how it looked: for me, the tassels are a definite YES (but of course, they can be omitted!-- last photo is sans tassels).

Notes on the yarn: first, the color ("corsage")-- the photos courtesy of Interweave (the first two) are bit too pink, while my photos tended to be too blue; I tried to Photoshop mine to achieve the most accurate color, which includes a range of purples, but the color does look different in different lights. And second, this scarf took up most of one skein, so any customizing which involves lengthening and/or widening would require two skeins. 

Edited to add: I just realized that the Manos del Uruguay Fino yarn comes in both 50-gram and 100-gram skeins. The single skein used for this scarf was the 100-gram one.

3 Comments on this post:

This is beautiful, and thanks for the insight into your design process. I second the notion of (1) no seams and (2) reversibility (if that's a word). Also, I think the tassels add some weight that helps the scarf hang nicely. Finally, this pattern lends itself to beading, if one were so inclined. Lovely - thank you!
I absolutely adore this! I also seek out reversible scarf (and cowl) patterns and this one is awesome! Love, love it - I'm off to buy the magazine now!
This is such a beautiful scarf! Thank-you for describing the design process, it was very interesting. It is also my pet peeve when scarves aren't reversible. I will definitely be making this one (the lace stitch is one that I loved in the Japanese stitch dictionary too).

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.