Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jenny’s Scarf

Some time ago, my mother sent me an email, telling me how much enjoyed the blog, but posing a troubling question. Her email stated, in relevant part:

“Just a thought - - why is only Mrs. TSMK reaping the benefits of your beautiful work? Why not the TSMK’s Mother?? . . .

I remain
Your unadorned mother.”

What My Unadorned Mother (“MUM”) failed to mention, but which I subsequently pointed out to her, is that she was actually the recipient of one of my earliest knitting efforts, a fuzzy garter stitch scarf made from Trendsetter Blossom yarn (black with red flecks – available here). What I did not mention at the time was that I was already in the process of making her something else.

As frequent readers of the blog already know, I’m a big fan of Nancy Bush’s book, Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns and Traditions. Long before TSMK’s dog savaged the lace peacock feather and fan scarf, I’d already begun working Bush’s extraordinary Lily of the Valley motif scarf.

By and large, the pattern is fairly easy and straightforward. That said, this piece was my first experience with the misery known as the “nupp.” For the uninitiated, nupps are made by knitting into a single stitch multiple times (typically 5 or 7 times) and then purling all of those newly created stitches back into one stitch on the next pass. The effect is to create a raised bump (more than a purl bump but decidedly less than a bobble) on the right side of the fabric. For someone with my general lack of manual dexterity, successful nupp-execution is about as difficult as playing Bach on the banjo. This difficulty was of course made worse by my choice of yarn: Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

As an aside, I might mention that I’ve now heard Kidsilk Haze referred to as “Kidsilk Crack” on several occasions. While this is an interesting concept, I find myself wondering what serves as the “gateway yarn” which leads you to Kidsilk Haze. As a secondary issue, the cost analogy doesn’t seem to work. Although stunned to find out that there exists such a website, a quick Google search suggests that the street value of crack ranges from approximately $100/gm to $160/gm – depending upon the size of the “rock”. Kidsilk Haze, on the other hand, seems to retail for around $15 for a 25 gm ball, suggesting an overall price of around $0.60/gm. Granted, my source for information about crack pricing is Canadian and my source for information about Kidsilk Haze pricing is US, so there could be some exchange-rate effect going on (or even some manner of nepharious crack and/or Kidsilk Haze arbitrage). Still, given that crack is approximately 166 to 416 times more expensive than Kidsilk Haze, the crack moniker seems overblown – or perhaps I’m just overthinking the issue.

Anyway, I soldiered on with the nupp-laden scarf. After much moral support at my LYS, I achieved détente with this infernal Estonian stitch, and managed to finish the scarf.

But there was a problem. Once finished and blocked, I looked at the scarf and realized it didn’t look anything like something I thought MUM would wear. MUM generally wears things that are brightly colored, and the scarf wasn’t particularly colorful. Also, although it hadn’t occurred to me before starting, I can’t say I recall ever seeing MUM wear lace. . .

So, MUM didn’t get the scarf. I held on to it for a number of weeks. After much thought, I realized that scarf looked a lot like something our good friend Jenny would wear and enjoy. So, one evening when Jenny stopped by the house, I offered her the scarf. That was this summer, and I’m pleased to say that now that our Pacific Northwest has turned cool, she’s had a chance to wear it a few times. In fact, earlier this week Jenny and Mrs. TSMK went to a book club together – Jenny wore the scarf.



  1. Oh, what a tease! Your poor MUM - to have something so beautiful almost within reach and then...

    Thanks for the laughs today (or rather, please pass on the thanks to TSMK's Mother) !

  2. Found you from ravelry. Wow, you're great! Wish I could get my fiance to knit...

  3. Did you try to substitute the Rowan kidsilk haze with Drops Kid-silk? I don't know if it's available in the US but you can mail order at It's great stuff!

    I enjoy your blog, it's good to find there are straight male knitters. However, if you ever come across another Straight Male Single Knitter (TSMSK), please alert me to him!