Alpaca Direct Blog

The Cosy Scarf: A Trip through Knitting History

In 2012, designer Laurie Sundstrom took on a monumental task. In a sort of Julie & Julia method, Laurie decided to knit her way through Weldon's Practical Needlework.

Weldon's was first published in 1888 in Britain; it was a compilation of the company's 14-page monthly newsletters featuring needlework patterns, mostly knitting. Containing hundreds of projects, illustrations, technique tutorials, and general needlework information, Weldon's was a popular publication for ladies of the era.

A page from Weldon's Practical Needlework

It's amazing to read through these patterns now—the instructions are, shall we say, brief. A lot of knowledge is assumed. But they are well-done, really; I remember having trouble with a lace border I was working from Weldon's, and I asked Laurie for help. She tried it and said it was user error, which didn't surprise me. She told me to "trust Weldon's." Good advice from someone who knows!

Laurie learned a lot from her trip through Weldon's, and she did all knitters a favor by updating some of her favorite patterns, including A Cosy Scarf, which is one of our most popular free downloads. The photos are from Ravelry user Kanwal, who did a beautiful job knitting this project!

The original version was published in 1920, and calls for “4 oz. of Fine Shetland Wool” on No. 8 needles, which equals a #6 US size, so the fine Shetland wool must have been fingering-weight or so. Maybe.

Lucky for us, Laurie updated this pattern to today's knitting standards, so you'll know exactly what needles and yarn to choose. In Laurie's version, the materials needed are 600 yards of lace-weight yarn and #3 US needles. No guessing!

The great thing about lace yarns is that you get a lot of yardage in one ball or skein. We carry a bunch of beautiful lace-weight yarns, but these are my favorites:

Rowan Fine Lace, which has 437 yards per ball. You'll need 2 balls for the Cozy Scarf, so you can knit it for under under $35.

Malabrigo Lace has 470 yards, so you need two skeins, which means you can knit the Cozy Scarf for under $20!

Cascade Baby Alpaca Lace, which has 437 yards. You can use this yarn for under $20 total, too! We have lots available in Ecru, which I think would be beautiful.

If you want to see more, check out the rest of our lace-weight yarns!

The Cosy Scarf is  knit in two sections and grafted together in the center. This part may seem daunting, but it's simply the Kitchener Stitch, which so many of us have done on the toes of socks. Just sit yourself down and DO IT. Best done, though, when you can complete the whole row at one sitting so you don't lose your place.

Download the free Cosy Scarf pattern now, get some lace-weight yarn, and cast on! 



P.S. If you're interested in more of Laurie's patterns, check out her Ravelry page!

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