After the endless garter stitch rectangle of my last project, I wanted something quick and easy to throw in between. I also wanted something more exciting than garter stitch. I found a skein of Navy Cascade 220 to go along with the skein of Charleston Merino from Dancing Leaf Farm that I got at Rhinebeck.

I broke my single-skein rule for this one, because how could anyone resist that green? (The first picture is truer to color; not sure what happened with the second one, but I’m going to go with it, in favor of actually writing this post.) The dark blue was just what it needed to set off the brightness of the green, so I cast on a corrugated rib, and let the hat take me where it would. I ended up with a leaf-inspired colorwork theme, though early discussions on Instagram suggest that they might look more like smiley faces. I do think that having stems helps, though.

I am not sure that I’m content with the cast on; I don’t think I like the way that a backwards loop interacts with a corrugated rib. It’s attractive and loopy, but it’s too loose (in my opinion), and tends to get caught on things. So, I may end up doing a little reconstructive surgery to tighten that up a bit, but I’m leaving it for now.

I’ve also been spinning along on another quick project: a few ounces of beautiful alpaca fiber from Jan at Fair Winds Farm. I’m spinning it up fairly fine, to be chain plied to keep the colors separate.

I’m not sure yet what it will become, but I’m having fun spinning it up!

After finishing the hat, I poked around a bit in the stash hoping for another quick little project, but came up empty. (How I can have this much yarn and nothing right for a project, I will never know…). I don’t really have the brainspace for project planning right now, so, back to endless garter stitch rectangles I go.

This is a skein of Juniper Moon Herriot (color: Merlot Red) that I bought to go with the leftovers from the Manta Ray shawl. (That wasn’t really intended to be its name, but it kinda stuck, and I haven’t come up with a better one, seeing as it’s probably getting frogged eventually anyway.)

Unfortunately, the shawl used up more yarn than expected, so I subbed out a skein of a similar weight and color of alpaca leftover from a sweater I knit in 2008. Yay for cleaning out the deep stash!

I sketched up a few different ideas for striping patterns. There’s actually quite a bit you can do with big blocks of rectangles. (Sorry again for terrible photo…seems to be a theme here tonight…)

After much hemming and hawing, I think I’ve decided to go with the last version, starting out with a solid charcoal, and then fibonnacci-sequencing into a solid raspberry over the length of the scarf. I did a quick swatch (size 4 needles, for the record) to test how the yarn weights would play, since they are slightly different in the skein.

And, yet again, I am flummoxed by garter stitch rectangles. Working on the bias, you increase one stitch at each end of a row, which makes a nice, neat corner of 90 degrees. So far, so good. In any universe where geometry works, two 90 degree triangles back to back should give you a straight line across the bottom. And yet.

That swatch above has one increase at the edge, and two in the middle (one for each half of the pair). That really, really should come out to a perfect triangle, but it looked distinctly chevron-shaped in the swatch. After much tugging, I figured it probably should come out in the blocking. But. What if it doesn’t? Even if it blocks nicely, what’s to stop it from pulling back in over time? I wish for a rectangle-shaped scarf, not an elongated chevron.

I’m pretty sure that the reason for the chevron is that I was using a M1 increase, which was pulling up a stitch from the row below. I think that was making my increase column tighter than the rest of the (very loose fabric), and causing it to pull up. So, I ripped back and reknit. This time, I replaced the standard M1 increase with the exact same knitting motions, except that I put a YO in the row below, and then knit in the back loop to close it up. It’s still not a perfect rectangle, but it’s a lot closer to what I’d expect, and this much I can probably get to block out well.

And so, it appears that we are off and running, with another mindless project. Miles and miles of garter stitch, with nothing but a few increases to worry about. Not the world’s most exciting knitting, but I think I’ll like how the final scarf comes out, at least if it’s anything like what it looks like in my head.