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Sunday
Mar022014

Laura's Loop: Arctic Wrap

My mom and I have a deal. Every Christmas she gives me an IOU for a class I’d like to take, and in return, I share with her what I learn. Over the years I’ve taken quilting classes, Italian, calligraphy, weaving, machine knitting, the list goes on… What will this year’s class be you ask?!?! Indigo dyeing!

I picture this class in a flower-filled garden or a breezy field (proof, I suppose, that I’ve grown very tired of winter). While I wait to find this perfect springtime class, my imagination fills with inky blues and seeping dyes, and so, I decided to translate the as-of-yet unknown art of indigo dyeing into something I do know… knitting. And since this polar winter is seemingly endless, it feels just right for right now! 

For my Arctic Wrap I used Purl Soho’s Worsted Twist merino in the color Heirloom White as a constant backdrop and Purl Soho’s Alpaca Pure for beautiful, shifting color. In a basic 1 stitch x 1 stitch Fair Isle pattern, the blooming halo of Alpaca Pure hovers over the smooth finish of Worsted Twist, highlighting the textural difference and softening the pixilated stitches into a gorgeous knit translation of a dip-dyed fabric. 

Working on this generously sized wrap has kept me cozy warm as I daydream about my indigo dyeing class, the sun on my cheeks, my fingers stained deep blue. Are any of you chronic class takers? What are you most curious about lately? Whatever it is, I hope it inspires you to create… maybe even this Arctic Wrap! -Laura

PS: You can get all of the yarn you'll need for this wrap with Purl Soho's Yarn for Arctic Wrap kit!

PPS: Two of my all-time favorite classes have been Improvisational Patchwork with Denyse Schmidt, which my mom and I actually took together, and a Calligraphy Workshop with Maybell Imasa-Stukuls, hosted by Bellocq, whose shop and tea I just LOVE. 

Materials 

Purl Soho’s Yarn for Arctic Wrap kit includes…

  • Main Color (MC): 5 skeins of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist, 100% merino wool, in the color Heirloom White
  • Contrast Color 1 (CC1): 3 skeins of Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure, 100% alpaca, in the color Artemisia
  • Contrast Color 2 (CC2): 2 skeins of Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure in the color Steel Blue
  • Contrast Color 3 (CC3): 1 skein of Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure in the color Timeless Navy
  • Contrast Color 4 (CC4): 1 skein of Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure in the color Dark Loam
You’ll also need…

Gauge

20 stitches = 4 inches in Fair Isle stitch (see Rows 1 and 2 of Work First Section of Fair Isle, below)

Finished Size

Approximately 90 inches long by 20 inches wide

Pattern Notes 

In the TRANSITION sections of the pattern, you will be working with three strands of yarn. I devised an untraditional stranding method in order to disrupt the pattern on wrong side of the fabric as little as possible. Below is a photo tutorial with detailed instructions on how to carry the yarn across the back when working with three strands during these TRANSITION sections.

For Rows 1, 5, and 7 (right side):

Identify the working yarn. Pull it straight up towards you, separating it from the other strands. 

Take the working yarn towards the right, then under the other strands and knit.

For Row 8 (wrong side):

Identify the working yarn. Pull it straight up towards you, separating it from the other strands.

Take the working yarn towards the right, then under the other strands and purl.

For Row 9 (right side):

For the Contrast Colors, work in the same way as described above for Rows 1, 5 and 7: Identify the working yarn, take it towards the right, then under the other strands and knit. 

For the Main Color, carry it across the top of the one Contrast Color to its left. 

Pattern

Begin with a Rolled Edge

With MC, cast on 104 stitches.

Row 1 (right side): Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one time.

Work First Section of Fair Isle

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC1, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 38 inches.

Transition to CC2

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC2, [k1 with MC, k1 with CC1] three times, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC2.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3: *K1 with MC, k1 with CC1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Row 5: *[K1 with MC, k1 with CC1] three times, k1 with MC, k1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC2.

Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Row 7: Repeat Row 1.

Row 8: *[P1 with MC, p1 with CC1] two times, p1 with MC, p1 with CC2, repeat from * to last two stitches, p1 with MC, p1 with CC1.

Row 9: *K1 with MC, k1, with CC1, k1 with MC, k1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC1.

Row 10: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row.

Work Second Section of Fair Isle

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 26 inches.

Transition to CC3

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC3, [k1 with MC, k1 with CC2] three times, repeat from * to end of

row. Cut CC3.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3: *K1 with MC, k1 with CC2, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Row 5: *[K1 with MC, k1 with CC2] three times, k1 with MC, k1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC3.

Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Row 7: Repeat Row 1.

Row 8: *[P1 with MC, p1 with CC2] two times, p1 with MC, p1 with CC3, repeat from * to last two stitches, p1 with MC, p1 with CC2.

Row 9: *K1 with MC, k1, with CC2, k1 with MC, k1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC2.

Row 10: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row.

Work Third Section of Fair Isle

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 12 inches.

Transition to CC4

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC4, [k1 with MC, k1 with CC3] three times, repeat from * to end of round. Cut CC4.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3: *K1 with MC, k1 with CC3, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4: Repeat Row 2.

Row 5: *[K1 with MC, k1 with CC3] three times, k1 with MC, k1 with CC4, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC4.

Row 6: Repeat Row 2.

Row 7: Repeat Row 1.

Row 8: *[P1 with MC, p1 with CC3] two times, p1 with MC, p1 with CC4, repeat from * to last two stitches, p1 with MC, p1 with CC3.

Row 9: *K1 with MC, k1, with CC3, k1 with MC, k1 with CC4, repeat from * to end of row. Cut CC3.

Row 10: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC4, repeat from * to end of row.

Work Final Section of Fair Isle

Row 1 (right side): *K1 with MC, k1 with CC4, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2: *P1 with MC, p1 with CC4, repeat from * to end of row.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 for 6 inches.

Cut MC.

Finish with Rolled Edge

With CC4...

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 one time. 

Bind off in knit.

Weave in the ends and block as desired.

Reader Comments (51)

This is such a gorgeous scarf and pattern! I'm not a good knitter, but this really makes my fingers itch to try it. Thank you for sharing!!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blue Rabbit House
After reading through the pattern it sounds daunting to have to tuck all those tails in.
Any suggestions on how to may that simpler? What would be the best method to attach the different yarns so that they start exactly where you want them?
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarol
Hi Carol,
Great question. I understand the concern. Any hand knit fabric this size would have several tails, then you have the colorwork and the tails definitely start adding up. If you weave them in as you go, it shouldn't be too bad.

To eliminate a ton of tails, you could skip the TRANSITION sections of the pattern and simply stop working with one Contrast Color and start with the next. Giving the piece more of a color block look. This would cut down on the number of tails drastically.

I'm not sure I fully understand your question about attaching the different yarns so that they start exactly where you want them.
Please write us back if you have any questions.
Laura
March 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Good Morning to you...

Well what can I say upon seeing your incredibly beautiful Laura's Loop Artic Wrap??
What comes to mind is simply stunning !

As I feast my eyes upon it, all I keep thinking, guess this isn't for an advanced beginner as I refer to myself when it comes to knitting, even though I have been knitting since I was a young girl.

I have always stayed away in trying to knit Fair Isle so I may need to re-think and probably continue to dream about taking on such a challenge. It looks a tad daunting as one lady mentioned in her note.

But one should never say, 'Never' as we never know.

Thank you so much for sharing with us. I hope you receive many compliments and
enjoy wearing your Artic Wrap.

Have a splendid day.
Sandy
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandra B
I am not a knitter but love to peruse all the ideas and patterns. Just wanted to compliment you on this scarf. It is outstandingly beautiful.
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbaraP
This is so gorgeous could it be sized up to be afghan size by just doubling the width and # of cast on stiches??? Any issues to be aware of if I do this?
Thanks
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
Gorgeous!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterStrix
Are you able to post a full picture of it laid out flat? This visual learner would love to see what I'm "aiming for" exactly! As I am currently living in the Arctic, thinking of making one in spring hues as we await the warmth!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmelia
How pretty! Honestly though, I've grown a little weary of wool (gasp!) Yesterday, I was dreaming of knitting with cotton and such. But maybe I'll get over my aversion long enough to knit this one last winter project. I've been meaning to do a color switching project...
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCW
Hi Amelia.
Thanks for your request. At 90 inches long, its hard to get the entire length in a photo, we will try again for you though!
Thanks Again,
Laura
March 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Sandy!
Thank you so much for your kind words. I want to really encourage you to try a simple 1 stitch x 1 stitch Fair Isle. I know you can do it, especially since you've been knitting for so long!

Plus, if you'd like to simplify the pattern... you can skip the TRANSITION sections which are the slightly complicated portion. Rather than transitioning, you could just switch from one Contrast Color the the next!

Try it! And we are always here if you have any questions!
Laura
March 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Kathy.
Oh my gosh! Do it and tell us how it goes! With double the materials and double the cast on number you'll end up with a gorgeous throw that's approximately 90 inches long by 40 inches wide! How cozy.
Thanks for writing in.
Laura
March 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Oh I do wish we have video tutorial for this cos it looks amazingly... difficult! Well for me anyway, since I'm so rubbish in knitting but I do like challenge. The scarf Is beautiful.... You are a genius!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEnzo
WOW!! Just what I've been looking for!!
I can not wait to get started:) ♥♥this is
beautiful. As Always, Thanks Purl!!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbambi marksohn
I would also love to see a full shot of this (with the understanding that it is quite large and would be difficult to shoot). But even from far away I imagine it would be gorgeous!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterflossie
This is gorgeous! Thanks always for the inspiration!
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlicia
Do you think this project is ok for a knitter who knows how to knit and purl, but not much else (me)?
March 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHilary Graves
Hi Hilary,
I think you could!
As I mentioned in a few other comments, if you'd like to simplify the pattern... you can omit the TRANSITION sections of the pattern and simply stop working with the current Contrast Color and start working with the next Contrast Color when you've worked the instructed distance.
PLUS... remember we are always here to help along the way!
Laura
March 2, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
this is beautiful but I wonder if the edges won't curl up even after blocking? i never seem to be able to get stockinette stitch to lie flat and it would be a shame if this lovely pattern got lost because the scarf curled itself up right away...
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline
This is so so beautiful!!!
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoerdis
Hi Caroline.
Great question.
The edges do roll up slightly. After blocking. though, you loose only about an inch in width and an inch in length due to the rolled edges. Since the fabric is worked in Fair Isle it does not behave like a strictly stockinette stitch fabric would. The two yarns (sometimes three) keep the edges from rolling as they would if worked in just one yarn.

Before blocking, the edges will roll some, don't be worried though, blocking will help relax the fabric. Thanks for writing in and asking this question for for all our readers!
Laura
March 3, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am a chronic class taker! I love to go to workshops to commune with other makers of things both on line and in person.I have been lucky to attend workshops hosted by Kay Gardiner and Anne Hanson in NYC and the wonderous Natalie Chanin. and My craftsy classes cup runneth over. As some one who teaches adults technology all day long, this is how I refill my well.
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMartha Bilski
Your work is absolutely beautiful. I do wish I could make this, but I promised I would finish my other WIP's first. thank you for the constant stream of creativity. Your website is certainly one of my "happy places."
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
Ack! Another fabulous project! I haven't even started the stitch block cowl yet (although I have acquired and wound the yarn), and I am off daydreaming about these gorgeous blues.

I also really like the idea of turning the pattern into a throw.
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterminervasowl
I think that's just about the prettiest wrap I've ever seen. Bravo!
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer King
I love this! and the color is perfect. Can't wait to start it, but like others, I have to finish 2 works in progress. Will the pattern still be available in a few weeks?
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
Hi Deborah-

Yes! It will always be available. All of our patterns are permanently available on this site. On the very rare occasion that we take something older down we are always happy to send a PDF on request.

Thank you!

Molly
March 3, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is a gorgeous wrap! To be honest, the thought of fair isle knit flat gives me the heebie jeebies!! I am already picturing myself knitting this in the round (maybe using sport or fingering weight).... One more project on the needles won't hurt anyone, will it?

Thanks for a great project idea/pattern!
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Love the colours! I could definitely use a cozy scarf like that

http://lifeandcity.tumblr.com
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTereza
I love it! Thank you for the instructions. I wonder what the back side looks like?
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBev S
Hi Tereza-

The second photo has a lot of detail of the back. Additionally the last photo is also of the back.

Thanks for your question!

Molly
March 3, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is so lovely, and what a wonderful tradition you have with your mom! I love it. If you incorporate these new indigo dyeing skills into your yarn art, be sure to tell us about it! So, this seems like it might be a good introduction to Fair Isle-style knitting for an advanced beginner? Maybe, sorta ... kinda? What do you think?
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Such a beautiful scarf pattern! I want to make a set of scarf and beannie for my dear husband. Do you pattern for the beannie? Or would you come up with the beannie pattern to go with the scarf someday soon.? I'm so looking forward for it....My husband would love love it! Thank you so much for sharing this scarf pattern!
March 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHai Nguyen
I highly recommend Indigo Dyeing with Jackie Ottino Graf at Fiber College of Maine and elsewhere. she is a fabulous teacher and is the head dyer for Swans Island.
March 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermary lou
Mary Lou,
Thanks for the tip. I'll look into it!
Best,
Laura
March 5, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello Hai,
Thank you for your inquiry. As of now, there is no plan for a beanie, but I'll keep the request in mind. Maybe this coming autumn. Hope you enjoy the scarf in the mean time.
Laura
March 5, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Elizabeth.
YES! This project is definitely a great way to familiarize yourself with a basic Fair Isle stitch. If you want to simplify the pattern, feel free to omit the TRANSITION sections of the pattern and simply stop working with the current Contrast Color and start working with the next Contrast Color once you've worked the instructed (or a desired) distance.
PLUS... remember we are always here to help along the way!
I'll keep you posted on my dying.
Thanks for writing in!
Laura
March 5, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi there, this is beautiful! I'm pretty new to knitting, but would love to tackle this next.

As a newb, I have a few questions:

If using a #9 straight needle, how long does it need to be?

If I want to substitute the yarn for a different type, any tips on making that work?

Thanks!
March 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Hi Laura:
I noticed you used 2 different types of yarns (alpaca and wool). What's your reason for not using all alpaca's or all wool's for this piece? why did you decide to incorporate both types of yarns for this wrap?
March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHai Nguyen
This is such a beautiful arctic wrap. Such nice work you do! I like the mix of the solid on one side then the pattern, fair isle on then next. It is lovely :) have a good day!
Lisa

www.needlesandwool.blogspot.com
March 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
Hi Again Hai.
Great question. I used two different yarns for a few reasons. I thought the contrast in texture and appearance and feel would add to the visual texture of the stitch pattern. Also, Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure is still a fairly new yarn for our Purl Bee team, so I was anxious to use it. An entirely alpaca wrap would have been quite heavy though. I also wanted to explore pairing our (Purl Soho's) two worsted weight yarns.
Thanks for asking!
Laura
March 7, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello Lori.
You'll need a straight needle that is long enough that it can hold 20 inches of fabric scrunched up. The longest needles that Purl Soho sells are 14-inches. Either the Bryson's or the Lantern Moon's...
http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/256-Bryspun-Straight-Knitting-Needles
http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/401-Lantern-Moon-Straight-Knitting-Needles-Ebony
If you are working on 14-inch straights, but be careful when you put your project down, perhaps knitting half a row so that the stitches are slipping off the needles.
Thanks for writing in!
Laura
March 7, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks for such a beautiful pattern! It's on my needles now, and I'm having fun trying fair isle for the first time. As I work the first fair isle section (about 5 inches so far) I notice that the stitch pattern is variegated, with some sections appearing almost like stripes, and others more checkered (as yours is). I've double checked and haven't made any mistakes with the stranding, so I'm wondering what I'm doing to create that variation. I'm not as consistent with my yarn tension as I normally am when knitting, since I'm new to fair isle. Would uneven tension create this effect? It's the only thing I can think of.

For now, I don't mind the look...it's kind of cool! I'm just curious why this is happening, especially since I hope to do other fair isle projects in the future that might not look great with uneven stitch patterns. If it is a tension thing, could you give some pointers on how you hold the multiple strands of yarn as you work so that you achieve consistent tension (without taking forever and an age to finish a project)?
March 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHannah
Hannah,
Intersting question! I have two thoughts.
1. It may be a tension issue. Perhaps you are purling much tighter than you are knitting?!?! If this is the case, my tips on fixing it are... I encourage you to, one, relax a little bit, but mostly importantly, to just give yourself some leeway for learning. As you become more comfortable with this technique and muscle memory is built, your tension will even out on its own.

2. My only other thing I can think of is this... For me, (during all of the non-TRANSITION sections), I carried the CC in my left hand and the MC in my right. This means that the CC was always coming across the top and the MC was coming across the bottom. Regardless of if you are working with one hand or two, it is important to always carry the same yarn across the top while always carrying the other across the bottom. Does this make sense? Could this be the reason for it?

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions! We/I am always here to help.
Laura
March 14, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm wondering: to make this a thinner scarf (more of a scarf than a wrap), would you suggest just cutting the number of cast on stitches down to 52? How would this affect the pattern, if at all? And as a side note, thank you for all the beautiful patterns you post on your site!
March 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
Hi Katie,
Great question. This pattern is worked over a multiple of 8 stitches so I would cast on either 56 stitches or 48 stitches. I am not sure how wide you'd like the finished item to be, but do keep in mind you'll loose some width since the edges do curl some.
Let me know if you have any other questions and thank you so much for the kind words!!!
Laura
March 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura (and the Purl bee team),

Would this work in a lighter yarn? I live in the swaps of equatorial Australia, and was wondering if I scaled everything to a much lighter sock-type yarn, would it change too much of its essence? :) What if I substituted it with your line weight?
March 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSondha
Hi Sondha,
I think it would be lovely in a lighter yarn and definitely more practical for you given where you live. The line weight might be a bit too thin. I would worry that the stitche definition wouldn't be clear and the details would get lost. Although on the other hand, it would be incredibly subtle and then quite interesting once you were up close to it. Do you like working on small needles? Line Weight might be perfect.
Laura
April 1, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks for that... I'll have to ponder my options, I don't mind small needle work, but I have to be in the mood for it :D I'll let you all know what happens!
April 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSondha
I recently finished the Stitch Block Cowl and love it(!!!), but I do think that the width makes it a lot to wear around your neck (at least for me)…

I want to tackle this Arctic Scarf, but perhaps cut it's width by 1/2 or 1/3. Is this an easy pattern to adjust?
April 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

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