Monday, November 5, 2012

Swing scarf

"You walk, it swings"

Swingy cords with little weights on the bottom adorn the most ancient garments ever found, and these retain their allure right up the present day.  Swing scarves are made entirely out of I-cord, with various weights on the bottom of each cord.  The weights make the cords swing when you walk--very pretty.

You can knit the I-cords by hand, or with an old-fashioned spool knitter but I recommend using an I-cord mill. With the mill, you can make a whole scarf in a single afternoon--very good for wardrobe additions or last minute holiday gifts.  The I-cords are not sewn together, but attached by a new method called "interweaving."  Interweaving makes a fine flat seam which does not show on the outside.  Interweaving is also very quick.

Any sort of sock-weight yarn works well, and Swing Scarves are a great way to use up odds and ends.  If you're buying yarn to make these, long-color-repeat yarns, like Crystal Palace mini-mochi, make lovely color-coordinated scarves: each cord features a gradual fade from one color to another, and so brings out the real beauty of these yarns.  Another way where Swing Scarves really shine is hand-painted yarns with colors which look SO lovely in the skein, but just don't play nicely together when knit up.  Because the I-cord is so thin (4 stitches per row) the colors can't pool and make icky designs. Swing Scarves are a truly good way to use up that hand-painted sock yarn which just can't seem to find a home in other patterns.

There are a great variety of little weights you can put at the bottom: beads, buttons, old subway tokens, shells, silver rings, Oriental coins--anything with some holes and a little weight.  Because of the pretty weights, swing scarves are a little bit like jewelry.

  • You can see more projects made with this pattern on the Swing Scarf Ravelry page.
  • The pattern has 7 pages and costs $3.50.
  • Here's a peek at the cover and the pattern:

I hope you will have as much fun knitting and wearing these as I have had inventing them and writing the pattern.

Good knitting!

Addendum:  A lovely commenter, Lynne, found this you-tube video, showing how to make industrial quantities of I-cord using a power drill to spin an I-cord maker. If a person wanted to make all their holiday gifts in a day or so, or make tons of scarves for an art fair, this would be the trick to use!  Check this out:

Thanks to Lynne for the link, thanks to Dutch Hollow Acres for the video!


Suzanne said...

I am so intrigued. I don't particularly care for knitting i-cord and after reading your explanation on the other mill post, I'm definitely going to invest in the mill you suggested. Can't beat the price on that one! Thanks for the pattern and the interesting reads this morning.

Anonymous said...

very cool. what is the narrowest one you can make?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anon--I made a three-cord one which was knit from a silky material and it looked almost like a necklace. Stupidly, I gave it away before snapping a photo :(


Suzy Lee said...

These look great! I can't wait to try out the pattern

Coralee said...

Great idea. Had not heard of an i-cord mill. Amazing thing about knitting or any hobby, there's always something out there to learn!

Kerin Horton said...

Great tutorial and I love the pattern. I purchased an Embellish Knit unit and am having trouble getting the yarn to slide over the closed hook. I'm using the weight close to where the yarn comes out of the knitter and I'm REALLY tugging a lot. I switched over to some sock weight yarn -- thought it might help while I'm learning. Any suggestions or tips?

It's a great little machine and I KNOW I can make this work! Thanks for a great web site.

TECHknitter said...

Hi Kerin: Using sock yarn is recommended, yes, so that is a big step in the right direction. Three additional tips:

1:Once you get the first round on the needles, do not allow ANY tension on the feed yarn. ANY AMOUNT OF TENSION IS TOO MUCH. You must literally pile up the yarn on the countertop and let if feed in from this loose pile.

2: It takes more tugging on the cord-bottom to get going than it will take later in the process--sometimes, you have to give a tug on the cord-bottom practically every half-round for the first few inches of cord. Eventually, however, the process will become much faster. Along these lines, I suggest CUTTING the I-cord into lengths, so you don't have to keep starting the machine with new yarn, instead, you can just keep on milling away.

3: Hold the machine up to eye-level and watch each stitch to be sure the stitch clears the bottom of the latch, stop and push the stitch down if needed. Eventually, you'll be able to mill away merrily without looking, but not at the beginning.

There is, unquestionably, a learning curve--it took me a couple of days of start-and-stop trying to finally get it. Now, however, I can make enough I cord for an entire 7-strand scarf while watching TV. But when I first started there were plenty of skipped stitches and sailor-words and constant attention.

Here is a link to a post with more info

Also, I noticed some you-tubes, so if you like videos, you might try searching for those.

upright92 said...

I bought the i-cord mill you recommended and followed your very clear directions - it worked very well!

My 10 year old daughter is cranking out i-cord by the foot!

I purchased your pattern and she is working on swing scarfs for her 20 year old cousin. Thanks for the great pattern.

TECHknitter said...

Thanks for writing, Upright! It's great to hear that you and your daughter are enjoying the pattern. I hope the recipient will like the scarf! Best regards, TK

WSWM said...

OK, I just got the icord maker in the mail yesterday... For 20 minutes I was cursing under my breathe that this thing is junk... however the reality was, I hadnt read the instructions carefully!

Once I did this voila! lots and lots and lots of I cord. I used an itchy skein of slow changing color yarn... aka Kauni yarn... I think I will start by making this into a circle. Next stop some soft yarn to make your delightful design...

thank you for convincing me to buy the i cord maker this will be a big part of my crafting for a long time to come!

TECHknitter said...

Hi WSWM: there is certainly a learning curve on these little machines, isn't there? I'm glad you like it now! Whew! TK

Lion's Paw said...

Just wanted to update you on my i-cord knitter adventure. Convinced that my knitting was defective, I purchased another one from a different source and low and behold it works like a dream. The first one is defective. The needles don't dip low enough to release the loop. So, I've been knitting an entire skein of sock yarn which I'm going to knit into something. Thanks for your help!

TECHknitter said...

Hi LP: I was WONDERING about whether some of the mills weren't defective, because several folks have indicated a problem with the needles not dipping down far enough. Maybe there was a bad batch shipped? I hope you were able to get a refund on the first, defective, one! Best, TK

Jenn said...

I love this scarf. I've made two of them so far, one from Blue Heron rayon metallic and one from something with sequins that I picked up somewhere random. The sequin one is only four cords, but it's also scratchier because of the sequins.

Jenn said...

This is a fantastic pattern! I've made 2 of these already and I look forward to making more. Also, regarding the EmbellishKnit, I got a bad one the first time out, also. The second one is working like a charm, though. :)