Stephen West’s Spectra

I can’t believe today is the last day of August. It’s the start of the last weekend of summer. Monday is Memorial Day. I don’t know where the summer went, but I for one am always happy to wave goodbye to summer and to embrace fall. I look forward to some good sweater-knitting weather, but in the meantime, a scarf is a nice transition project to bridge summer and fall, don’t you think?

Today I took my knitting to the park for a photo shoot.  It was glad to get out of the house, and cooperated with me fully while I subjected it to a variety of artsy fartsy, yet always dignified, poses. This is Stephen West’s Spectra, a nice unisex scarf that can be so different from one knitter to the next due to the staggering color possibilities! Why, there are over 1500 projects on Ravelry, if one cares to scroll through all of them. I began knitting Spectra on August 12th in a short-row class at one of my LYS’s, Cranberry Fiber Arts in Hamilton, MA.  I had never yet taken a class at this particular shop and I was eager to do so. I was not disappointed.  The class was small, only four of us, but Laurie gave us the benefit of all her wisdom and skill, making sure everyone had at least one wedge of the scarf done so that everyone understood all the steps and could continue at home.  Laurie rocks!

I am so in love with knitting this scarf. Stephen guarantees that knitters won’t be able to resist watching the colors change, and damn it, he’s right! I’ve become addicted to what I call “wedging.” Wedging is fun! Wedging is fabulous! Wedges are handy because they provide a great stopping point when I put the project down. There’s only one little, teensy, rather daunting detail of this scarf: it requires 86 wedges total.  There’s no doubt the results are worth it, judging by all the incredible photos on Ravelry. It just takes time to get to the end. It’s all well and good to count by hand the first few wedges, but once they accumulate, there’ s no way I’m going to run my hands up the scarf, counting each and every wedge once I get to, oh, twenty? Thirty?  I could use a row counter to count each wedge instead of row, but I opted for an even lower-than low-tech solution to my counting conundrum. Behold. —>

Simple (and sticky) yet effective. I was using the sticky note to cover each row as I knit it when I began the pattern, but the progression is easy to memorize once you get the hang of it.

The pattern calls for fingering weight yarn. Laurie knit a sample for her shop in sport weight, so I picked out similar yarn for my Spectra because her sampled used Noro Silk Garden Lite, and I loved the colors. The solid color is Filatura Di Crosa’s Sportwool in medium gray. The variegated yarn is Noro Silk Garden Lite in color 2o38.

I’ve been knitting this for the better part of the past two weeks. I’ve had to put it down a couple of times when the yarn started sticking to the needles because it grew too hot in my sad, air conditioner-less little house.  Autumn can’t come soon enough.

Spectra wasn’t the only one enjoying the last days of summer.

I’m beginning to see wedges everywhere.


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