The date today is December 12, 2012, which in shorthand is 12/12/12.
You know this, of course, because you couldn’t NOT know since everybody has been making a fuss over it in the days leading up to it.
There must be some numerological significance. Or maybe they just think it looks nice since it’s symmetrical.
In any event, as I was trying to fall to sleep last night one thing that crossed my mind was how to celebrate the fun date through yarn.
I had been thinking you could cast on 12 sts and just knit away. But that would make an awfully skinny scarf and might not be much fun.
Then I got a brainwave and at 1 am on 12/12/12 posted this on our Facebook wall.
You could CO 36
P12, K12, P12 for 12 rows
P12, C12B, P12
Which is just another reminder that I shouldn’t post things on our wall in the wee hours of the night.
Because, really, I must have been channeling Elizabeth Zimmermann when I wrote that. Talk about “pithy directions”!
As I drifted off to sleep it occurred to me that all the beginning knitters would be confused.
And I was correct. It was the C12B that tripped people up. Happily, experienced knitters (and pattern readers) jumped in with explanations while I was eating breakfast.
Another big oversight was that I don’t specify you should work in ribbing for those first 12 rows.
What I should have written was:
P12, K12, P12
K12, P12, K12
For 12 rows total
P12, C12B, P12
Repeat until you are sick of it or run out of yarn.
Now, if you’ve knit cables before the C12B didn’t phase you at all. If you haven’t, it was mysterious knitting code you haven’t encountered before.
The important thing to remember when looking at a cable abbreviation is to cut the number in half. In this case you’ll be working with 6 sts at a time.
Work your first 12 purl sts. Then when you reach the knit section stop, slip the next 6 sts purlwise onto a cable needle (without working them) and then push it out of your way to the back of the project, knit the next 6 sts on the left hand needle, then knit the 6 sts that are on the cable needle.
You’ll want to slip the sts purlwise (i.e., going in from back to front as though you were working a purl stitch) because if you slip them knitwise they’ll get twisted and be hard to knit when you came back to them.
When you’re ready to work the sts you skipped you have a few choices depending on your project and what is comfortable for you. In this case I was using a double pointed needle as my cable needle so it was easy to knit the stitches directly from the dpn.
When I’m using a cable needle I sometimes slip the sts back onto the left hand needle before working them. It depending on the yarn and what size the cable needle is compared to my regular needle.
Some daring people don’t even use a third needle when they knit cables! It’s called cabling without a cable needle. They swear it is easier and faster, but I just don’t have the confidence that I won’t start dropping stitches. I imagine someone at your local yarn store can give you a lesson. Or a friend in your knitting group.
After working the cable you’re resume your ribbing sequence.
The fun thing about this scarf idea is that it should work with just about any yarn. The size of your scarf will depend on what yarn and needle size you select. Chunky yarn will result in a big scarf. Fingering weight yarn will result in a smaller scarf.
It’s also a good example of just plunging in and knitting. The next time you have some pretty yarn that you really want to use but don’t have a pattern you can just make up a scarf!
What’s the worst that can happen? You have to rip back and start over?
In my case I decided to use Juniper Moon Farm Chadwick yarn in color #7-Swimming Pool.
(The first picture at the top of the post where it’s on the windowsill is probably most accurate for color. The cabling pictures the flash went off. The scarf picture below just looks washed out.)
Chadwick comes in 202 yard balls, which should get me a good sized made up scarf. And if it winds up short I’ll sew the cast on to the bind off and call it a cowl!
A rule of thumb is that to make a decent sized scarf (6″ x 52″ I think) using worsted weight yarn you’ll want around 300 yards. Then go up or down in yardage from there depending on how wide or long you intend to make it.
Stockinette stitch curls. It’s just the nature of the beast. If I do make a cowl that will help control the curling at the end, but it won’t help will the curling in the rest of the scarf.
Ways to control it would be to work smaller chunks of ribbing (k6,p6 perhaps? You want to have purls right next to the cable so it stands out from the fabric). Or a flat stitch like seed stitch (P1, k1 across. The knit the purls and purl the knits). Garter stitch sides is another option.
Or you could be really sassy and work cabled over the first or last 12 sts occasionally.
I might have to abandon the 12/12/12 idea in favor of ribbing. It was a fun idea, but I want to like the scarf when I’m finished!
Did you jump in and start knitting a scarf based on my 1 am idea? Share a picture! I’d love to see how you interpreted my crazy directions.