Monday, April 19, 2010

The Bohemian Scarves

A few years ago at Stitches East, the convention for all things knit, I took a class with Maggie Jackson, the Irish knitwear designer.  I'm a big fan of Maggie's designs.  Her garments are easy to wear, with asymmetrical details which I love.  In this class we were making a scarf using Maggie's linen yarn and a few odds and ends of other yarns.  Along with the yarns she also provided embellishments, and a list of stitches which appear in her work regularly.  It was a great class, full of creativity.  Everyone had a wonderful time incorporating the different elements into the structure inherent in a class of any kind.  The method Maggie used for teaching the stitches and how to incorporate the different yarns and bits and bobs into the scarf was to have us make squares or rectangles of knitting which then would be sewn together. 

As I said, it was a fun session, but once I got home I decided to do my own thing.  This is what I do often after a class. During a class I'll get so many ideas on how to use what I'm learning, and when I get home I love to work those into the project.  Sometimes I even start the project over, and that's what I did with this scarf.  Thus was born the Bohemian Scarves! 

This was the first of the series.  It used the linen yarn from the class along with yarn from my stash.  I put aside the squares and rectangles that I came home with, and started from the the beginning.  I used a lot of the stitch patterns from Maggie's notes and from her books.  But, I also added some of my own.  I also decided to make the scarf in one piece.  So, I added stitches and decreased stitches as I went along.  In this picture you can see where the width decreases as it drapes around the neck. Those additions and subtractions appear though out the scarf.  The end piece is a half of an octogon which I attached to the scarf with a crochet stitch.  I incorporated beads, of course, and ribbons and buttons, all the things I love!  I even used one of my folded fabric flowers and a button from my friend Terrie.  In this picture, along with the flower, you can see some of the ribbons and trims I wove into the knitting, as well as some of the beads.


Of course, the ideas kept coming and I had to keep going!  More yarn and trim combination kept presenting themselves and each one was more exciting to  me than the next!  In the last three years I've made five Bohemian scarves with one being more of a wrap than a scarf.  One of my favorites, aside from this first one, is a very spring inspired combination of colors.  I love wearing this one in the spring and I named it Freesia because that was the color name of one of the yarns I used.

As I've been experimenting with this idea, and it really is experimenting, I've come up with different ideas for knitting elements and attaching them in the finishing process.  I have gone back to Maggie's original way of knitting these scarves and knit a square, rectangle or other shape and attached it later to the rest of the scarf.  The triangle you see here is one of  those ideas.  I attached it to the side edge with beads.  I always keep the neck edge straight and increase and decrease or add elements to the opposite edge so that the scarves are easy to wear.  As you can see I added a lucite flower bead to the end of the triangle as a little exclamation point!

There are more Bohemian scarves and there will be others I'm sure!  As I said, I keep getting ideas for yarn combinations and all the embellishments that I can use with them. I gather all the yarns and beads, fabrics, buttons and anything else I think I might use on a tray as a sort of design board. I've sent all but one off to Belle Armoire to see if they are interested in publishing them.  I'll post pictures of the others soon.  I didn't want you to think this was never going to end! 
Thank you for stopping by.  I hope you have a wonderfully creative day. 


  1. Oh, I haven't seen the second one before - what a great color combo! Love it!

  2. Oh a true bohemian you are!! Love the textures and colors, what a visual treat! hugs Christen


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