Sunday, 8 July 2012

A Scarf Tale

(Note from the author: It's actually been nearly six weeks since I saved this post as a draft just needing to take a few more photos to finish it off. I started this in the last week of MAY! However, in the meantime life has hit hard with a death in the family, massive marking obligations (100+ assignments and about the same number of exams) and a house which is in a state of messy, dusty renovation. So while it is now deep into a very cold winter and the floods have abated, I haven't changed the beginning of the post).

Winter has hit with a vengeance here in country Victoria (and it's not even officially winter for a bit over a week!) Seasons, you need to learn to stick to your allotted timetable! As a write this, the fog is sliding gently across by backyard wreathing the grass in a mysterious grey haze. Last night the backyard more closely resembled a swimming pool with the surface water deep enough to rise over the tops of your shoes and turn your socks into a sodden, soggy mess (which is exactly what happened to me when I put the extremely disgruntled chicken to bed). There was also a waterfall going on in the back porch with the gutters having given up in protest at the sheer volume of watering bucketing from the sky.

All this winter weather means the winter clothing has come out. Last Saturday as I was excavating the house from under a week's accumulated debris of a family of five busy people in preparation for a mass wash of the clothes, I counted the scarves, hats and other accessories as I uncovered them. Back of armchair in the lounge room, one plain black pashima type scarf. Half stuffed down the side of the Head of the Household's favourite chair, a stretchy bouncy little number in a greenish grey khaki type shade (didn't pick the head of the household as a scarf person - blame the girls instead, whoops it was me). Under a crumpled labcoat, a black mohair beret. Tied around the straps of my laptop bag, my favourite fuzzy red, blue, yellow diagonal knitted, multi-coloured scarf. How did it end up there? Oh, I remember, I was trying not to drop it in a puddle when I got out of the car with my hands full. I also found a fetching little number in grey leopard print, a maroon and black zebra print (much nicer than the description sounds), a Geelong football scarf recovering from a hard night out at the MCG watching its team lose the night before, a pale blue rib scarf which used to be a school scarf attempting an escape from the girl's washing basket and a plain grey pashima. What can I say? My girls, particularly the oldest one, are The Queens of the Accessory.

This is what the back of the door in their bedroom looks like. And this is not even it in it's full glory - pretty much all the afore mentioned scarves were in the wash when I took these pictures.

Berets, beanies, pashimas, lace scarves and hand-knits (including two knit by my daughters)
Look, they're even sort of colour co-ordinated
So it seemed like a great excuse to chronicle the life histories of a a few of the hand-knit scarves which have found their way into our wardrobes. Every scarf needs a chance to tell their story. Considering how many scarves there are around this house, this is possibly Chapter 1 of a saga.

The somewhat acceptable blue school scarf. This scarf owes its existence to the clean out of someone else's stash. I think the wool was originally part of a large donation of odds and ends of wool from my Mum' next door neighbour. This scarf could tell lots of stories. The principal of my daughter's school always felt that it met the strict private school requirements of plain (really supposed to be Navy) blue school scarf. (I think she just secretly liked it). The uniform Nazi found it offensive whenever she caught it out in public. This usually meant a a few days or so of detention in the basket in her office with all the other 'naughty' clothing. It always served its time and got out though. It even got to go to school in Venice and not get confiscated. It now it makes sense as to why I found it escaping from the washing basket last weekend, it has bad memories of past confinement.

Just enjoying  a casual ride to school on the Grand Canal in Venice

Mummy's favourite red scarf. I don't often make things from kits, especially not knitting kits from large chain stores. However, one day, I was wondering through Big W when a scarf kit caught my eye. The colours were the seller and when I felt the wool, it was soooo soft. This was great fun to knit and very quick as there are no ends to sew in. It's angled garter stitch with an increase on one end and a decrease on the other. It's knitted in random thickness stripes from three different yarns, a plain red and two different multi-coloured textured yarns.
I love how this scarf is so deliciously light and warm. I wear it heaps and when I accidentally left it behind after a lecture one day and it wasn't there when I went back to get it the next day I was devastated. However it was only a short holiday for the scarf as the very nice cleaners had sent it to lost property. There are no photos of me wearing it as I actively avoid having my photo taken. However the scarf it is not so shy...
See it has even very slightly changed its pose

The 'Icecream' scarf. This one is sort of a twin to the red scarf above using the same pattern. Mel picked out the wool and this was knitted up specifically for her to take on her school trip to Italy.

Where else but Venice?

Scarves in the middle of a renovation. This is what the lounge room wall looks like at the moment.

We say a fond in memoriam to a couple of scarves which have outlived their usefulness or their owner's taste, both seasoned overseas travellers with a trip to Italy under their belts. So a fond goodbye to the Oscar the Grouch scarf (which did actually at one stage have an Oscar face on one end - a bit of a failure as it was extremely creepy rather than cute), and the neon orange/yellow "you can't lose me in a crowd if I am wearing this" scarf. You may have both gone on to productive second lives via the op shop but the happy memories live on forever. The neon orange/yellow scarf was too shy to pose for a photograph on its travels but Oscar was proud to show off at the Coliseum in Rome.
Oscar the Grouch Scarf at the Coliseum
And because the very act of writing this post inspired me to knit yet another scarf: here is the current scarf in progress, a ruffle scarf made using garter stitch and short row shaping. The yarn is a cheap junk shop acrylic whose colours will complement a large part of my winter wardrobe. Total cost = $4 + a few evenings of relaxing knitting.