I’ve done it! I knit a scarf! Or is it knitted a scarf? However you say it, I’ve done it! For the first time in my life I have finished an entire knitting project from start to finish and I am really chuffed.When I decided to make a scarf as a Christmas gift for my husband I was a genuine knitting novice, I didn’t even have any knitting needles in the house. I’d made a knitted bow years ago with the help of my friend guiding me through the process, but everything I’d learnt at that time must have left my brain almost instantly, as I had no clue how to cast on, knit stitches, change wool colour or cast off. Not a good start for someone who wants to complete a gift project in less than a month!
I was planning to knit the scarf for my husband as it will go perfectly with the cosy knitwear gift from Debenhams that I’m planning to treat him to for Christmas. When I found out that my favourite TV judge Patrick Grant from The Great British Sewing Bee had designed a range of men’s knitwear, shirts and tailoring for Debenhams, I knew that hubby would be delighted with a few pieces from the collection.
This is my first attempt – it ended up being unravelled!
To be completely honest, I chose a thick, bulky alpaca wool and large 12mm needles because I thought that any mistakes wouldn’t be so obvious in such a fluffy wool and I hoped that I’d be able to get a good result quickly as I would need to knit less rows to get the length of scarf required, thanks to the chunky knit. All this was true, but I was actually very careful with my knitting so I’m hoping that there aren’t too many mistakes in there. I’m sure someone will let me know if they can spot something I’ve done wrong in these photos and it would be good to know how I can improve my knitting so please do leave me a comment and help me get better at it. The first block of colour
After watching videos on YouTube, I practiced casting on and I had one false start with the scarf when I realised that it was too wide. I’d only knit about ten rows so I unravelled them (which was actually quite satisfying too, oddly enough) and started again with a width of 16 stitches. I then found myself counting every stitch on every row and the concentration was just too much to bear. So I relaxed into a rhythm and tried not to worry about whether I’d dropped a stitch or found an extra loop. Even so, at he end of almost every line, I’d count the stitches just to be sure. I was so worried about the scarf gradually getting wider! Changing colour from blue to grey
Interestingly enough, I didn’t know what I would do if I DID find one too many or one too few stitches on my row. I have no idea how to correct mistakes, or even how to remove the current row without unravelling the whole thing. I just kept ploughing on and trying not to mess up. I will have to learn how to correct mistakes because I don’t want to have to unravel and start again.
Changing the wool colour was interesting, as this is something I’ve never done before and I didn’t find a tutorial online to learn the ‘proper’ method. I guessed that knotting the end of the previous wool to the start of the new wool colour would do the job so I went for it. I think it turned out okay, but again it would be good to know if this isn’t how I should change colour! Anyway, the new colour block looked great and by the time I reached the centre colour it was starting to look very pleasing to the eye.I noticed that I’d changed colour when the cast-on tail was on the left, which I think is the right side of the knitting, so after that first colour change I made sure that the tail was on the left when I made the switch. This left me with a very distinct wrong side with an obvious colour join and a very smoothly transitioned right side. What luck!I carried on with my colour blocks until all the wool had been used and then I checked back on YouTube to learn how to cast off. I actually said to myself out loud ‘I hope this works’ and then cracked on with the casting off. A nice plaited edge formed and I breathed a sigh of relief. The video ended quite abruptly, simply saying ‘weave your tails in’ with no video of the process so I guessed that I should just poke the loose ends into the knitting and after a couple of minutes of fiddling, my scarf was finished.
I folded it and wrapped it in string with a wooden button thread through the centre. I really hope that my husband likes the scarf, and that it is long enough! I’m just so pleased to have completed the project and it looks much better than I’d imagined, so my first attempt at knitting has really built up my confidence in taking up a new craft.
In fact, I’ve enjoyed the whole process so much that I’m a little sad that the scarf is finished and my project is over. I can already see myself heading to the local haberdashery to buy more wool this weekend so that I can carry on knitting over the festive period. I think I can safely say that I’ve caught the knitting bug and now I’m hooked. Oh wait, that’s crochet…