Like many other knitters, over the years I've amassed a sizeable stash of yarn and I often find myself wondering what to make with the odd ball or two I've got in a particular colour.
It was therefore rather pleasing to a free pattern from Wendy Johnson that she'd devised for a garter stitch scarf. You may wonder what's so special about a garter stitch scarf, but this one is a little different and, whilst being simple to knit, there's a bit of interest for the knitter as it's knitted diagonally. It's Jennifer's Easy Diagonal Scarf. You start out by casting on three stitches, then increase at the end of every row until you've got enough stitches to make the scarf the width you want, and then you carrying on knitting a very simple two-row pattern where on one row you decrease at the beginning and increase at the end of the row and for the second row, knit plain. This means that, if using a multi-coloured yarn, you end up with a very pleasing diagonal stripe effect. At the end of the knitting, you then decrease at the beginning of every row until you're back to three stitches, do a double decrease to leave one stitch, secure that and it's done.
So far, I've knitted three scarves using this pattern and I can see more in the future (I'm toying with the idea of adding in a row with eyelets every eight rows to add a bit of interest to a plain yarn).
The first scarf I made using this pattern was with two 100g balls of King Cole Splash. As it was quite a manly colour, I increased up to 60 stitches. The scarf was put into our knitting group's box of 'giveaway' knits and has now been donated to a local group that distributes warm clothing to those in need.
The second version I made, I increased to 42sts using a ball of King Cole Cabaret yarn. This yarn has long colour repeats, with a sparkly thread running the whole way through it - very girly! This was destined for the knitting group box as well, but DD2 had other ideas as she liked it, so as it's very difficult to get her to wear a hat or scarf (I used a second ball of this yarn to make a matching hat for her) I've let her have it.
The third scarf using the same pattern I finished last week (it makes for good TV-knitting, or for doing at knitting group when there's lots of chatting going on). This one is in King Cole Melody DK and I used a 4.5mm needle and increased to 38sts. This has come out rather prettily, I think (it's also for the giveaway box). This one came out at 5" wide and 66" long, using a 100g ball that's 292 metres in length.
I've now started a blanket using the same pattern for the shaping/design, with colour ideas from a different pattern. I haven't taken any photos yet, so will leave talking about it for another post.
So, if you're in need of a quick and easy scarf pattern that gives effective results, this is one I'd recommend. As the first stitch of each row is slipped, it even gives a nice edge. I'd suggest going up a needle size to one you'd usually use with a particular yarn (as with the pastel scarf; i.e. 4.5mm needles for DK-weight yarn) as I found that gave a better drape. The pattern also gives a tip of putting a stitch marker or piece of yarn on the side of the knitting that's facing you once you start the main part of the scarf, so you know that's the row where the shaping's done, which makes the process even easier. I'd also suggest weighing how your ball of yarn before starting and again once you've finished increasing to your desired width, so that you know how much yarn you'll need to do the decrease section at the end, to make full use of your ball of yarn.
Who said garter stitch was boring? !!!