Before embarking on a knitting project that's going to take a lot of time and money, I usually stop and try to work out whether I'll use it enough, and like it enough to make it worthwhile (small, frivolous ones, I just dive in there). It's trickier to evaluate when making up your own new patterns, because you're guesstimating yarn consumption and extrapolating how a whole garment will look from a swatch.
I've just finally finished a pair of improvised projects that have taken me he best part of two years (though several sheepsworth of other projects were completed in the meantime). It started with a scarf but ended up with making a jumper to wear the scarf over.
I enthusiastically knit one tip of the scarf at speed and then powered through the easily memorised central big central section at knit groups, in between making teas. It then stalled for many months, as I needed to invest a little time planning how to reverse the pattern for the cast off scarf tip and, finally, in knitting it, which takes a tiny bit more concentration than knit groups allow.
I’m very happy having a small handful of projects on the go at the same time- socks that can go anywhere with you, something easy that you can pick up and put down for knit groups, and something a bit more challenging for quiet times. But stalled projects make me feel little guilty, so it was time to either finish this project or unravel it. This scarf might well be one of those ‘Concorde Fallacy’/sunk cost effect projects, where you’ve spent so much time and money on a project that you feel you should press on with even more time and more yarn, when the rational thing to do is give up. To sink further costs, in the meantime, I’d knit myself a simple, self-drafted, raglan jumper in the same yarn, over which to wear the scarf. I liked the jumper’s fit until I accidentally shrank it a little with overvigorous cold hand washing after a coffee spillage last week, but I still really like the little line of asymmetric cables that travel down the length of the sleeve (I think I'll be reusing the cable pattern elsewhere). Both the scarf and jumper are knit in John Arbon’s lovely Yarnadelic 100% Falkland Corriedale wool, which is very skin friendly, even for tickly people like me.
Anyway, back to the unfinished scarf, New Year seemed a good time to show it what for. So, after really very little further knitting, here is my Button Box Scarf. I’ve a button box of lovely, random, mother of pearl buttons, given or passed down to me from family and I thought it would be fun to place these in the little cable frames, hence the scarf’s name. However, in the end, I decided to buy a matching set of pearly buttons. The buttons sit nicely in the cable frames when sewn down with stitches in a spoke-like pattern.
So, was this a worthwhile project? Not really sure yet. I like the stitch pattern and the way the scarf sits and I love the yarn, but I think I'll only be wearing it for very chilly high days and holidays (I’m not really a scarf person- if they don’t stay in place I get cross and toss them off). It did use a lot of high quality yarn (287g, nearly as much yarn as I used in the much more useful jumper) and took a fair amount of knitting time. It is going to be very warm scarf (I wasn't too cold taking these photos at today's -1°C, even without the dog hot water bottle)- I knit it in the round, so it’s double thickness and a generous 2m/80" long. I do like the way the button cables segue into the simpler travelling cables so, even if this scarf wasn't a very cost effective project, I think its stitch pattern may find its way somewhere else, maybe with the button section decorating the yoke of a jumper and the simple travelling cables flowing down the body.
(p.s. my dog was happy to help with the photographs as she really like the improved view she gets from our arms- you can see her intently scanning the garden for things that need seeing off).