Colorful Skein Considerations


One colorful skein

It’s been a while since I wrote about knitting, the needles part of my “Pens and Needles” blog. I’ve been making a lot of scarves lately, partly because I needed them for gifts, partly because I can happily knit the simple patterns while joining in conversation, watching television, or overseeing grandchildren. My present pattern is one of the simplest: K3, P3 for 36 stitches using one whole 5 1/2 oz. skein, or for as long as one desires. One skein makes a length that can be looped around your neck with plenty of “tail.” This is a narrow scarf. To make it wider, simply cast on more stitches in numbers divisible by three. I’m using size 6 needles.

Using a skein, purchased at WalMart, of varying colors and shades keeps the project from ever becoming a bore. The colors spin out, blending themselves naturally. My present work began with an ocean blue blending into two greens that then gave way to dusty purple, then bright purple, then wine red. I become addicted to knitting until the next color appears. My impatience for the next color reminds me of how, living with children, we always are striving for the next stage. Instead of being satisfied with crawling, we practice and practice little legs to get ready to walk. Instead of being satisfied with a third grader’s skills, we urge them forward. It’s the way the Lord built us, isn’t it, always to be pressing forward?

Three of my grandchildren are going to London with their parents on spring break, a huge spring break trip. I knitted red scarves for each, partly to keep their necks warm in London’s March fog, partly to make the kids easy for parents to herd in a crowd. Truth be told, they may not want red scarves or any scarves, no matter how cold or windy the weather. They may not need herding, may even keep their parents from straying. At fifteen, twelve and ten they are quite capable.

So why did I knit red scarves for them? Because I wanted each to have a physical object to remind them that Nana loves them. I prayed for each one as I knitted, not just for safety and enjoyment on this trip, but for their futures. I prayed for them to be blessed and to be a blessing. I prayed for them to walk closely with God. I prayed for their mates, whoever they are.

The scarves, though all red, are each a different pattern. William’s is rib knit. Thomas’s is in five inch blocks of seed stitch separated by three rows of garter stitch. Mattie’s includes a straight stitch with cable down the middle. On either side of the cable are eight rows of seed stitch and the border is garter stitch. I hope they will recognize that they are unique, each scarf knitted for a child of unique gifts from God.

As the colors spin out on the present project, I relish the beautiful shades of green, yellow, blue and red. There are colors of the ocean, of the sun, of leaves, of lobsters, of peaches and of a dusky evening. Choosing a skein for each scarf is an exciting event. Do I want more vivid colors, or subtle shades? Do I want more greens and blues, or more reds and yellows?

Whatever one’s choice, knitting a skein of yarn into a beautiful and useful object can be a pleasure, a joyful journey.

I wish for you happy hours with a colorful skein!

By the way, for you non-knitters, skein is pronounced like seine, as in seining for fish, or like the River Seine in France, or like a saint without a tee on the end.


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