Wednesday, 19 June 2013

[Bendigo Woollen Mills] Stellar

Sometimes crafty inspiration comes together perfectly on its own, like the stars aligning in the heavens. About a month ago I read this post from Violet le Beaux about making a big squishy scarf for winter. It left me feeling all inspired, and I decided to have a look through my stash that weekend to see if I had any wool suitable for making a similar project. I wasn't sure that I did. That very Friday afternoon however, what magically appeared in my mail box? A sample card for Bendigo Woollen Mills' latest limited edition yarn: Stellar. I swooned ... I knew it was meant to be!

I wanted a scarf that was striped like Violet's, but in three colours. They were all so beautiful, I couldn't choose! I knew I wanted green: I have an old green scarf I made years ago that's falling apart, so this scarf could replace it. But the other two colours? I narrowed it down and then Husband helped me make the final decision. He has a great eye for colour. My final choices were Emerald, Amythest and Shell. I placed the order and waited the agonising week for my wool to arrive!

Finally the joy appeared in my mail box. I cracked open the plastic bag and yes, the wools are as beautiful as on the card. Stellar is a mix of 50% wool and 50% bamboo. The wool provides sturdiness and warmth, while the bamboo adds lightness and a beautiful subtle sheen. It's a joy to knit with: smooth, soft, and without the tendency to split that some of their Classic wools have. Bendigo Woollen Mills products are already good value, but Stellar is at an introductory discounted price until the end of June.
(Eugh, I'm starting to sound like an advertisement! I don't get paid by anybody to say anything. Maybe I'm just trying to convince myself to buy more!)
I'm seriously tempted to buy some of the other colours.

Now the scarf itself - after a bit of sketching and a few false starts test swatches, I decided to go with an evenly alternating stripe. Instead of using Violet's method, I decided on a pattern I've used before. I first came across it when looking for a Harry Potter scarf pattern, to fill a request from a friend. By slipping every second stitch, you can knit a tube - on straight needles. No messy circular or double-pointed needles necessary, and no sewing up at all. I call it the Harry Potter because it's like magic. It takes a bit of persistence to learn, but once you master it, it flows and the result is bloody brilliant.

The technique is really nothing more than two alternating stitches, repeated back and forth, and I'm far enough into the scarf now that I'm used to it again, and I can pull it out on nights when I just want some zombie knitting. I can churn out a stripe in an evening if I'm feeling persistent. I want it to be long like my old one, but a new scarf may well be born into the world in less than a month!

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