06 March 2014

Doubled Up

perfect pocket

I've been wanting to learn double knitting for several years now. The Marathon Scarf Project to wrap international participants in this year's Boston Marathon in love was just what I needed to push this goal up a few notches on my priority list.

I wanted to chart this scarf and make it in blue and white or lavender and gray. When the call went out for blue and gold scarves, I knew what I had to do.

I went to a free wifi cafe and watched about two minutes of an eight-minute double knitting video tutorial. I went home and dug out blue and yellow yarn from my stash. Within about half an hour, I had about an inch on my needles! I was doing it! I was double-knitting!!! (It's just like ribbing, but with two strands of yarn instead of one.)



This wonderful discovery came the same day I taught myself to make curved double-pointed arrows in an electronic document at work.

Learning something new is so much fun and so invigorating!

Of course, I improvised the original Team Sweden scarf design a bit to make this project totally unique. I didn't want it to be an exact copy.

I've included charts here below, just in case anyone else wants to make one of these scarves. The initial chart is just half of the scarf; when you get to row 195, you turn around and go all the way back down the chart (without repeating Row 195). I've also included a whole chart, just in case, but that will print very, very small on 11x14 paper. I printed two halves on 11x17 and taped them together for my next scarf. For the initial scarf, I used regular graph paper, and I taped that together. Each graph square is nearly actual stitch size when working with worsted weight yarn. So my graph paper chart (for half the scarf) is 4 inches wide by nearly 3 feet long!

side by side

For the scarf, I cast on 21 stitches holding both strands together, then knitted the first row in double knit: knit blue, purl yellow, knit blue, purl yellow. On the next row: knit yellow, purl blue, knit yellow, purl blue. Finished whole scarf size using worsted weight yarn on size 6 knitting needles is 6 inches by 6 feet, which is what the Marathon Scarf Project requested.

I've also included two logo scarf charts below, just in case...

For all of the charts, click the image to biggie size. Save the image to your computer, and preview print landscape (sideways) instead of portrait, making sure to click the box that says "Scale to Fit Media." (Some programs do not give you an option to control printing if you hit just plain print or Control P. You must use Preview Print or Print With Preview.)

This is the second time I've ever charted knitting in my entire life. My first attempt was just out of high school. I was knitting a flamingo sweater in pastels. I decided I wanted pink hearts instead of pink flamingos, so I recharted the entire sweater. I wish I still had the sweater. It would be fun to show off now!

Why did the Marathon Scarf Project resonate with me?

Until more than a decade ago, I ran Race for the Cure every year for more than 10 years in support of a friend and co-worker who'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. I have never run a marathon and do not expect to ever be able to run a marathon. However, one of my co-workers is from Boston, and her brother runs the Boston Marathon. Both of us watched the news in horror as it unfolded last year. A couple of that day's photos remain permanently scorched in my memory banks.

Another of my co-workers on a different floor has run the Boston Marathon seven times. It's not like the marathons in Denver; you don't just pay the entry fee and show up. Runners must pre-qualify by finishing a number of races prior to the Marathon, and they must finish each within an allotted time. They can't be slowpokes like me. So just to run in THE Boston Marathon, in my opinion, is a gigantic honor, similar to what it must feel like to qualify for the Hawaii Iron Man or even the Olympics.

I participate in a number of cycling events with a finish line. What happened last year in Boston made crossing any finish line just a little more... poignant. There has not been a finish line for me since last year when I didn't think about what happened in Boston as I rolled across, trying to smile for the official photographer. Smiling will come easier this year, but I'm certain the memory of what happened in Boston will always prowl deep in the dark corners of my mind, just like September 11.

My race now is just a little different than those who will be running. I don't know if I will be able to finish my Boston Marathon scarf by April 5, but I'm going to give it my best shot. It would make me feel on top of the world to know one of the runners is wrapped in this scarf on the anniversary.

UPDATE: Check out this awesome post-marathon wrap-up of the project by a scarf maker and volunteer at the church!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Photos from scarf distribution!

together forever

Half Scarf
Half Scarf Chart

Whole Scarf
Whole Scarf Chart

Boston Scarf
Boston Scarf

Sweden Scarf
Sweden Scarf

in progress


  1. Oh my gosh this is awesome! You always amaze me at just how creative you are! Love this!

    I have been wanting to learn to double knit, too...but my goodness, check you out, you learned in one day and then created a pattern as well. You rock! :)

    Blessings always

    1. Why thank you, Stitchy! You really do need to try double knitting. You're already such a great knitter; this is going to come so easily for you! And it looks so cool to have the design on the back in opposite colors!

  2. Always fun to learn something new
    And now you can double up at your zoo
    Bringing tons to see
    Very colorful indeed from thee

    1. Thanks, Pat! Don't know if tons will come to see,
      But I'll be making up another scarf or three!

  3. Wow, totally loving these bright, vibrant shades!

  4. Good grief! You're light years beyond me! I'm laughing really hard at the thought of even contemplating something like that! But the scarf is gorgeous, and your work is more art than craft!

    1. Wow, Fundy, can I hire you to make me feel like I've just climbed a 14er every day?!? :)

  5. Fun, fun, fun! And gorgeous too.

    Is this the same as stranded colourwork? Somehow I think it may be a bit different.

    Congratulations on both your new skills! (Double knitting and curved double-pointed arrows.) :)


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