Friday, September 14, 2007

Plaited Cables Seaman's Scarf

Plaited Cables Seaman’s Scarf
(cable design adapted from Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns, Vol 1, pg 244)

Seaman’s style scarves are knitted with two flat panels divided by a section of ribbing. The ribbing fits closely around the neck. The two flat panels, the ‘tails’, are knitted from the middle, working from a provisional cast-on. This enables the pattern to match as the scarf lies on the wearer’s chest, rather than having one side with the pattern upside down.

This scarf is done over 48 stitches. Each side has a 4-st seed st border; you may wish to make a 6-st border on each side. The 2 outside panels have a 4-row cable worked over 9 sts, set off by 2 purl sts on each side. The central panel is a 2-row cable, worked over 6 sts and also set off by 2 purl sts on each side. The plaited effect is gained by alternately knitting extra stitches before or after the cable; thus, a 6-st cable worked over 9 sts. The borders and panels are separated by a column of knit sts. In writing the row-by-row directions, I have used semi-colons to separate the panels and dividing stitches.

Yarn, Gauge and Needle Choice
Gauge is not important for this scarf. Choose a yarn you like and a needle size that suits your yarn, probably close to the size recommended for the yarn. This pattern can be knitted in nearly any yarn, though it will be narrower in a lighter-weight yarn. If you use a circular needle, you will be able to knit the two tails at the same time.

The photos show a scarf knit with approximately 400 yards of worsted weight yarn (Grignasco Nature, 50% merino wool/ 50% alpaca; now discontinued), knitted on a size 7US (4.5mm) needle. Unblocked, it is approximately 7.5in wide by 58in long. This pattern will look best if it is not blocked severely.

  • B4 - k1,p1,k1,p1 (seed stitch) If you choose a 6-st border, read this as B6 [NOTE: you may wish to slip the 1st st and knit the last for a chain edging]
  • CN - cable needle
  • C2F - Move 2 sts to CN, hold in front; k2 sts, then 2sts from CN
  • C2B - Move 2 sts to CN, hold in back; k2 sts, then 2sts from CN
  • C3F - Move 3 sts to CN, hold in front; k3 sts, then 3 sts from CN
  • C3B - Move 3 sts to CN, hold in back; k3 sts, then 3 sts from CN

Cast on 48 sts, using a provisional cast-on, such as the Crochet Provisional Cast-on. Knit one row. Beginning with the right side, follow the instructions for Plaited Cables; you will knit Row 1 only once. Knit one repeat of the pattern, to get comfortable with it.

Pick up stitches from the provisional cast-on, and knit the Ribbing pattern to the desired length, based on the neck size of the intended wearer; the length should be nearly the actual neck size. When the ribbing is the length you want, begin the second tail following the Plaited Cables pattern.

Work both tails to the length you desire, based on the height of the wearer. End with a WS row following either Row 3 or Row 7. Rows 1 and 2 of the Bottom Border pattern will reduce the stitch count to avoid the border ruffling, and will give a nice edge to the top of the border, setting it off from the cables.

Plaited Cables
Row 1 (RS, setup row) B4; k1; p2,k9,p2; k1; p2,k6,p2; k1; p2,k9,p2; k1; B4
Row 2 (And all even rows, WS) B4, knit the stitches as they present themselves (knit the knit sts and purl the purl sts), B4
Row 3 B4; k1; p2,C3F,k3,p2; k1; p2,C2F,k2,p2; k1; p2,C3F, k3,p2; k1; B4
Row 5 B4; k1; p2,k9,p2; k1; p2,k2,C2B,p2; k1; p2,k9,p2; k1; B4
Row 7 B4; k1; p2,k3,C3B,p2; k1; p2,C2F,k2,p2; k1; p2,k3,C3B,p2; k1; B4
Row 9 Repeat Row 5

Repeat Rows 2-10 for pattern.

Row 1 (K4, p4) across
Row 2 (P4, k4) across
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 to desired length, ending with Row 2

Bottom Border
Row 1 B4, K2tog*; k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1; k2tog*, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog*; k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k1, k2tog*; B4 (37 sts) [NOTE: k2tog* means that the vertical dividing stitch should be knit together with the stitch next to it, either to the left or the right]
Row 2 B4, p1, k across to last 5 sts, p1, B4
Row 3 B4, work across in seed st; B4
Continue to work seed stitch rows until the bottom border is the same width as your side borders. Bind off from the right side in pattern.

Variation: Work one of the outer plait cable panels with the cable twists running opposite to the other panel. Rows 3 and 7 would read:

Row 3 B4; k1; p2,C3F, k3,p2; k1; p2,C2F,k2,p2; k1; p2,k3, C3B,p2; k1; B4
Row 7 B4; k1; p2,k3,C3B,p2; k1; p2,C2F,k2,p2; k1; p2,C3F,k3,p2; k1; B4

I first became aware of this style of scarf here and here. Then I found Myrna Stahman's book Stahman's Shawls and Scarves at Marsha White's Needle Arts Book Shop. At the moment (9/14/07) neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble have new copies, so the link is to the Needle Arts Book Shop. Besides patterns for many beautiful Faroese-style lace shawls, Myrna has adapted the same stitch patterns for seaman's style scarves.

© 2007, CatBookMom's Yarns. This pattern may be used only for personal or charitable purposes.


Suzann said...

Oh Barbara that is so beautiful!

kellygirl said...

I remember you posted a picture of this last year sometime. It's fabulous! I'm going to make one of these for Christmas! Thanks!

Kniterature said...

Gorgeous Girlfriend! Why don't you bring one next Friday to show us?

sk said...

Gorgeous seaman's scarf! Barbara, you have been busy knitting. Thank you for sharing the patterns. I should try the seaman's scarf oneday.

Joan said...

Wow, that's a beauty!!

Anonymous said...

Very nice! Thanks for sharing the patterns.


Quail Hill Knits said...

Great pattern. It was fun meeting you yesterday.

lunadog said...

You are a multi-talented lady, for sure! It's the thin edge of the wedge, you know - next thing you'll join all the bloggers who've gone on to write books. Yes, "Catbookmom's Cuddly Critter Comforts": A book of scarves and shawls both for humans and fur-friends.

Keep up the great work. The scarves are amazing!