Monday, April 4, 2011

Making the Saroyan

(Crocheters, there's a little note at the end especially for you!)

I've had a few people comment on the saroyan I made for my sister, asking if it would be too hard for an inexperienced knitter, or saying that they "could never make that".

In response, I want to encourage all of you who knit, love the scarf, but are hesitant to have a go at it. It was my first lace project. If you can knit and purl, you have the prerequisites to make this scarf. The leaves that edge the scarf are made using combinations of decreases (such as knitting 2 stitches together: k2tog) and increases (like yarn overs [yo] and knitting into the front and the back of the stitch [kfb] which may be difficult if you knit very tightly, but other than that is simple).

If you look at the picture below, you can see that the majority of each row is plain stockingette: knitting and purling. Very easy! The leaf portion of each row is very small.


Looking at an individual leaf (see the picture below), you can see that a portion of each leaf contains a significant amount of stockingette stitch, just like the body of the scarf. The holes are made using yarn overs (yo) which really are very easy: simply wrap the yarn anticlockwise from bottom to top around the needle in your right hand (for right handed knitters, of course, the other needle if you're left handed). The leaf also uses one or two other increases, which are all demonstrated here at Knitting Help.
The leaf also utilises decreases to form its shape, these can all be seen here, also at Knitting Help. Knitting Help really does live up to it's name: you will also find videos on how to cast off, which you need to know, as when a leaf is completed, six stitches are cast off, making the leaves stand out more. This is simple, and not something of which to be nervous.

As with many projects, the first bit is the hardest, but by no means is it impossible. If you visit my project page on ravelry for the saroyan, you can see the changes I made. You can also see that it only took me a month to make (as I restarted it on the 23rd of November after deciding that I wanted to begin it differently to how the pattern is written). You will also be able to finish this in a month, just by doing one repeat (that is, a new leaf) every day. If you visit the ravely pattern page for the saroyan, you will get more information, and you will also be able to look at the saroyans made by other people, finding information and tips.

Lastly, let me encourage you by saying this: if you don't try to learn new techniques (such as knitting lace) your knitting skills will stagnate and you will will never know what you are capable of doing and making.

For the crocheters out there who like this design but never want to knit, Camille is a crochet version of the Saroyan, and really is very pretty - I plan to make it one day. I imagine that it would be gorgeous made out of a merino and silk blend: warm yet drapy.