Wow. This project took sooo incredibly long. But I think it was worth it. This is definitely one of those long time investment type projects. This project is the Anouschka Scarf from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2010 issue. It’s a really cool looking scarf that has multiple looks depending on how you treat it. Pull on the inner cord and it scrunches up the bubbles into these lovely drapey ruffles, our leave the inner cord loose and you get to see the full waves of the bubbles.
I used Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace yarn in Gentle Violet, which just feels gorgeous because, again, it has alpaca, my favorite :B I had problems in getting enough yarn because I had to double strand to get the right gauge. I got about 2 balls, but then I planned to make the scarf shorter (again, being cheap). But I ended up completely running out of yarn before I could do the inner cord, so I ended up having to get a different color because the original was out of stock when I needed it! XD The second time around I went with Rowan Fine Lace in Era, which I thought matched nicely and added a nice contrast. I think if I had to do it all again I would save the effort in being cheap and just get more yarn than I thought I needed. That’s what yarn stashes are for, right? The yarns worked out very nicely with the pattern (notwithstanding the double stranding) even if I did have to use a ton of it :)
The general consensus at Ravelry is that this project gets a bit less than average on the difficulty scale. I would probably have to agree that the techniques asked for in this project aren’t so hard, but there are a few tricky parts to get past and of course the whole project takes an incredibly long time. The balloon pattern is made by working in the round from a very small size, then doing consistent increases (with yarn overs for the cute lacework detail) up to the full width of the balloon, then consistent decreases back down to the tiny circumference you see between the balloons. Those tiny circumferences are hard to work because they’re only about 12 stitches or so. It gave me a real headache. The largest part of the balloon was also a bit hard because there were so many stitches that they kept sliding off my needles. My needles were only so long, but evidently I needed longer ones :P The parts in between, however, are really relaxing. The consistent increases and decreases with stockinette stitch in between are perfect for working on while you’re waiting on things or during road trips. They bring some real zen, blood-pressure-decreasing moments.
I think the whole scarf is incredibly creative so I’m glad I took the plunge to make it. I imagine it would look so classy in just about any color, from bright to pastel, jewel-toned to neutral. But the biggest caveat of course is the amount of time it takes. I probably worked on this consistently every night for 1 to 2 hours, and I finished it in about a month. Just fair warning to those who are curious to try this scarf out. If you do, I wish you much patience and luck, and know that you’ll look so sophisticated when it’s done!