I finally released my Fountains and Cables Scarf pattern, available on Ravelry here. I made it as part of a wedding gift for a friend, who is moving to a city colder than the one we live in now. The scarf is made in Shokay Orient in her favorite color; the 75% yak down should keep her warm and toasty! Because she works a demanding job, I wanted to make sure the scarf was low-maintenance. The yarn does require hand-washing, but I wanted to avoid the need for heavy blocking following each wash. The edges always require the most blocking in my experience, so I devised tricks to keep them from curling. The short edges are worked in a garter-based eyelet, while the long edges are worked in mock cables. These did the trick! The scarf lies flat almost straight off the needles (though the lace does look better with a light steaming to open it up).
Having solved the curling problem, I was eager to write this pattern up and offer it to the world. Surprisingly, this design may very well have proven to be my most difficult pattern to write, even more so than my garment patterns. While the design of mock cables framing an eyelet pattern seemed conceptually straightforward, writing it turned out to be a whole other matter. Being trained as a scientist, I naturally tried multiple approaches to the written directions.
Version 1 included a chart and the written directions for the central eyelet pattern on one page, and the next page instructed knitters to work one framing cable, then the corresponding eyelet pattern row from the previous page, ending with the second framing cable. My mom, who serves as a litmus test of my pattern writing, found this format impossible to follow.
Version 2 contained the pattern for each row in its entirety, starting with the framing cable, then the eyelet pattern, and the final cable. I think that this format might have worked for a simpler eyelet pattern. In this case, however, the directions “… rep from *, ending last repeat k2tog” occurring in the middle of the row were a definite deal-breaker. There was no way to avoid this construction, so this version was quickly out of the running.
Version 3 more closely resembles V1, but with the written directions for the eyelet pattern occurring on the same page as the rest of the written directions, and the charted directions (including the framing cables) on a separate page. This is the version that’s available online.
As a scientist, I’m often faced with choosing between several sub-optimal options. This pattern definitely exercised my skills in making difficult choices to produce the highest quality product possible. In the end, my testers found the scarf knit up quickly, and they seemed to enjoy the process. Importantly, the edges remained flat in a variety of yarns! This pattern comes in two width options, and can be made in a lightweight yarn for summer, or a heavier yarn for winter. I’d love to see the yarn/ width/ gauge choices other people make with this pattern!