I finished step-grandaughter Emily's Hufflepuff scarf in plenty of time for her birthday in September. While I suppose one might not consider it an object of beauty in itself, it was what she wanted, and she sent me a very nice thank you e-mail, in which she said she wished she could wear it all the time, and that it was 'definitely one of the best things I own', which sounds pretty good. Unfortunately she hasn't sent me a picture of herself wearing it, so here's one of me wrapped up in it, taken on the webcam while I was knitting it.
I wanted to knit it in the round in stocking stitch (so it's effectively a flattened tube), rather than a rib, but quickly abandoned the idea of doing it on double pointed needles as much too slow. I tried to learn magic loop with a circular needle but decided I didn't have the right kind of circular needle and didn't much care for the practice anyway, too much fiddling about with needles and cables and not enough actual knitting. Then I hit upon the audacious idea of taking one of my amazingly cheap, bought-by-the-set direct from Hongkong, bamboo circular needles, cutting down the tubular plastic cable, whittling the bonded joint section with a craft knife, and shoving the shortened cable back on it. Friction held it easily in place, and the resulting needle was perfect for the job, I whizzed along thereafter and just kept going till I more or less ran out of wool. (The link above gives an outline of all these terms, with the exception of my patent shortening technique for bamboo circulars, if you don't already know what I'm talking about and care enough to find out).
It turned out very long,
about ten foot long, I think. But I reckoned skimpy scarves are sad things, this way she could wrap it round a couple of times and still have decently long ends - the ones in the films are quite long and bulky, we watched the films again while I was knitting it and I started looking at all the costumes and other details much more closely. Also I thought she might not really wear it out all that much, but as she loves to spend as much of the weekend in her pyjamas as possible and generally retire to an adolescent cocoon state as and when the fancy takes her, she'd probably like to curl up with it like a comfort blanket at home anyway. However, her mum tells me she has worn it out and about already, and intends to do so when they visit the Harry Potter studios for their family Christmas outing.
One of the things I most enjoyed about this scarf, in truth, was making the fringe; the action of taking a tuft of wool, hooking it through and knotting it reminded me of my dad making rugs. He made a number of these, mostly in plain colours, including two stair carpets at different times. It was a labour of great patience; my father was a patient man, and in any work requiring that kind of staying power - picking fruit, peeling and freezing apples, working his way through piles of ironing - he could be relied on. We all had a go at knotting these rugs, but they were really his projects. I've still got one of his rug hooks in my sewing tin, though I didn't use it for this job, but used a crochet hook.
More stripes tomorrow.