Not Martha

to make: my third scarf, a complete failure

the scarf was single strand on #8 US needles

with a quarter for scale
the yarn with a pretty Connecticut quarter for scale

a bit shiny
the longer fuzzy bits of the yarn was a bit shiny in certain light, I’m a matte kinda gal but it wasn’t bad

close up – it really is very soft and stayed that way (unlike the Geisha scarf which got a bit ratty looking.. of course I didn’t actually wear this so Zucca might get ratty too)

This project was doomed from the beginning.

I ordered the yarn after the Christmas winter yarn crunch and it took two whole months to get to me. From a store I could go to in half an hour. And the needles I ordered with it, not the ones I ended up using, were chipped to boot.

Zucca is similar to Geisha in that it is a fuzzy synthetic yarn. Geisha grew ratty looking and lost it’s softness after a short while, so I was hoping this would be different. After watching how the Geisha scarf stretched out I used smaller needles than the labeled called for, it recommended #10 so I used #8. I used the seed stitch to blur any obvious stitch pattern again. I actually found that my garter stitch was looser. Of course instead of working on my technique I chose to do the slower stitch. Smart aren’t I?


Zucca by Trendsetter (in black)
on label:
58% Tactel 42% Polyester
72 yards
#10 needle

Clover Bamboo
size 8 US
10″ length

    The pattern I will try next time:

  • two balls of Zucca
  • cast on 19 stitches fairly loosely
  • work in seed stitch until you get roughly 2/3 of the way through
  • decrease one stitch in next row, to 18 stitches
  • (this is because you will then have two pieces of 9 stitches working side by side)
  • follow the confusing directions for creating a slit over at my Geisha scarf page
  • when long enough increase one stitch in next row – back to 19 stitches across
  • continue to end
  • cast off loosely or with larger needles (much larger)
  • disclaimer! I have not actually used this pattern yet so it might be too short

I used my Geisha scarf pattern and cast on an odd number of stitches until it seemed wide enough – 29. When I got to the spot I wished to put the slit in I increased so that when I split it both sides would have an odd number of stitches (15 and 15), then I decreased when the slit was finished back to my original odd number of stitches. Then I would have a warm fuzzy black scarf which would stay on while walking through windy intersections on the top of hills in this city.

That was the idea anyway.

note: I go on and on for a bit so here is the short version – the actual fabric Zucca makes was great but I messed up the shaping of the scarf past salvation. It is near impossible to rip out the stitches after a point, the yarn just sticks to itself mercilessly, so beware. Ok, proceed if you want.

The #8 needles were fine for the job, the fabric was thick and didn’t seem to show signs of stretching when it was longer. The yarn for a scarf was terrific, it stayed soft and puffy, at least as long as I was making it it did. But like all synthetic fuzzy yarns (or rather, the three I’ve tried so far) it was a pain to use. It doesn’t have any give and the thread at the core can be rough on your fingers. I am willing to suffer for my inability to wear wool, but I doubt other knitters would endure this yarn.

Of course, I couldn’t see a darned thing while working on it. The stitches are utterly indestinguishable. So I did my best to feel my way along and made sure to count my row to be sure I was ok, increasing or decreasing as needed. For the huge number of mistakes I made they didn’t show (except for one strange extra large loop which didn’t show until I had cast off), and being the careless knitter I am I like that!

The fuzzier bits of the yarn are also a bit shiny in certain light. It’s not sheeny though so I can cope with that.

I was watching the old recolored version of The Ten Commandments when I was working on the slit. It was during the hokey burning bush scene. And of course I grabbed the wrong strand of yarn at one point so the slit ended up being two inches, far too small. At that point I couldn’t back up a row, I couldn’t see any stitches! So I just decided I’d live with the small pull through hole and move on. (Is it just me or does overuse of the words “slit” and “hole” start to seem vaugely dirty after a while?)

Two balls of yarn were not long enough for as wide as I made the scarf. I used 29 stitches across, which seemed not too wide at the time. But after it was almost all done I realized what I actually wanted was a thinner scarf, something like 19 stitches across. As it was the scarf was more of a neckwarmer length.

And then I made the fatal mistake, I cast off while riding on a train. The cast off edge was way way too tight. (Generous people have since told me the easiest way to avoid this is to cast off with larger needles. When I remake this scarf I will use my #11 needles to cast off, no kidding). I wanted to wear it at my destination though, so I wove in the end right there on the train. And it disappeared forever. Ok, I’m being dramatic, but I decided I would rip the scarf out and start over. Ha ha. ha.

First I had to feel my way to find the woven in end (the good news is that no matter how sloppily you weave in the end it disappears). Then I couldn’t find where I originally stuck the end of the yarn through the last loop to get the unraveling started. So I decided to snip at the edge to see if it would unravel, no luck. I cut the other edge, nada. So, cringing, I cut the whole cast off end of that scarf off. The yarn wouldn’t budge. I seems to have done something like felted itself together. Oddly enough, it simply cannot be pulled out. And that’s where I gave up. It lurks on top of the bookcase rolled up with the bits of cut yarn and not-unraveling-as-it-should edge tucked inside.

I might try handwashing it just to see if the dye runs or looses it’s fuzziness. Then I’ll throw it out, but only after keeping it in a closet for three or four years.

Also, I didn’t rinse the yarn before I started as it was in a nice ball already, and it seems the dye came off on the needles a bit. (Either that or I have grubby hands.) It looks a bit like a dirty patina. I don’t mind, I’m likely to use them with dark colors. But be aware.

So this marks scarf #3 I will not wear. But I’m getting closer!

1 Comment

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 lori // Nov 30, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    OMG I have tears running down my face from laughing so hard. I’ve almost had an aneurism laughing while making no sound because my daughter is asleep next door. You are hysterical! I have really enjoyed hearing someone else tell of the awful things that can happen while knitting (and yet we come back for more and more). Love your blog!

Leave a Comment