Before I get into Almost Plaid, you might like to check out my blog on Cloud on Anzula’s website. I’ve done swatches for Remarkables, Snow Farm, and for Roundhill in Cloud. I ended up with yarn left over, and you know I hate that.
I wanted to challenge myself to design something masculine. The challenge with masculine is that I don’t really think that way, and I think it mostly ends up being boring knitting. It was essential to find a stitch pattern that would allow me to create a more masculine look, but that wouldn’t make me die of boredom while knitting it.
Almost Plaid The Stitch Pattern
I have a collection of fairly straightforward knit/purl patterns that I am interested in pursuing in projects so I went there to get one I had in mind, and chose this one instead. It is Number 20 of The New Knitting Stitch Library by Lesley Stanfield, a book that has charts, but no written instructions. This Number 20, which I call Almost Plaid, is one of those clever patterns that uses a slight change in repetition to create a seemingly complicated pattern.
multiple of 8 sts + 4 / 8 rows
Row 1 [RS]: *K4, p4; repeat from * to last 4 sts, end k4
Row 2: P4, *k4, p4; repeat from *
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: *K4, p4; repeat from * to last 4 sts, end k4
Row 6: P4, *k4, p4; repeat from *
Row 7: Knit
Row 8: Purl
Repeat Rows 1 through 8.
Rows 1 and 2 and Rows 5 and 6 are the same. Rows 3 and 4 create a ridge of Reverse Stockinette and Rows 7 and 8 a valley of Stockinette. Once I got into the single color, I had to develop a code for myself, but after I got that sorted out working the pattern seemed even easier than with the contrast color!
Code: After every 4×4 rib row pair the next two rows are either Reverse Stockinette or Stockinette. It is easy to see which one from the RS. Keep a marker in the fabric where it is easy to see to be sure you are looking at the right side.
Once I got into knitting with this Code in mind I rarely used either my chart or the stitch pattern because it was easy to see where I was by my knitting. I did a fair amount of watching TV on the first section (bonus for subtitles), then reading on the remainder.
Almost Plaid Gauge
I had lots of gauge information gathered for my Anzula post, but I knew I wanted it to be fairly compact so it would require a smaller size needle. I used a US size 2[2.75mm] needle, and used Brittany dpns, and referenced the gauge I had in the newest version of Roundhill. I didn’t want a wide scarf, so I decided to cast on 40 stitches, set up with 2 edge stitches (Reverse Stockinette), 36 stitches in Number 20 pattern, and 2 edge stitches. Of course nothing was the same, but it was a start and since it was a scarf, measurements were not terrifically important. I estimated I’d get about 8 stitches to the inch, blocked.
I was pretty close to what I anticipated when I took unblocked gauge, but I was quite surprised when I blocked this! After I had about 7″ I took my knitting off onto waste yarn and did a wet and steam blocking.
Before that, I took my unblocked gauge:
31 stitches and 46 rows to 4” OR 7.75 sts and 11.5 rows to 1”.
After wet and steam blocking I took the blocked gauge:
45 stitches and 43 rows to 4” OR 11.25 sts and 10.75 rows to 1”.
I was surprised to get such a change in stitch gauge, although the row gauge change was not unexpected. Look at the photo of my unblocked and blocked yarn bits, you can see the yarn bloomed a bit, but not a lot. The extreme change in gauge was a result of the nice rolling of the 4×4 rib. I expected the Stockinette and Reverse Stockinette to hold it flatter, but it turns out the rib was stronger.
Almost Plaid The Scarf
The Almost Plaid scarf is made in two pieces so that the two ends are positive and negatives of each other. The two pieces are grafted together to complete a pattern (done in a Reverse Stockinette section as there is always a slight off-set when grafting). The reasoning behind working from each end was because I didn’t know how much length I would get from the smaller quantity of Black Cherry (23g). The entire piece ended up weighing 70g, and I still have some Black Cherry left!
I like to make my two ends different lengths because I believe it looks more dynamic, but they can be done to identical lengths. I added a bit of color change-up at the end of the second piece. Any other variations you wish to make will make this just the scarf you want. I’ve work a lot of length to make it possible to wrap the neck several times or to wear it with the scarf folded in half.
The edge stitches I added into the scarf will keep the long edges smooth, rolling to the outside. It was easy to keep track of which row of the pattern I was on in the two-color sections because of the color change. After that, I read my knitting mostly.
Almost Plaid The Download
This Almost Plaid scarf pattern has not been tech edited! Until I do that, I am going to make this Almost Plaid scarf pattern available at no cost here.