Kusha Kusha

I’ve been away for the weekend, and I don’t have any fresh knitting photos to show for it! It’s not that knitting didn’t get done, I swear. It’s just that the lace shawl I’m knitting (AeRang | Ravelry link) was going swimmingly until I started to think about photographing it, and then I noticed that the row I was actually working on at that moment was WRONG. Now I need to tink back and work out where I made the mistake before I dare photograph it, let alone blog it! More about that project another day, then.

So sculptural!

So sculptural!

So, instead, I’ll tell you about a crazy little thing I knit this past winter: the Habu Kusha Kusha scarf (Ravelry). I say “crazy” with all the fondness in the world — but not a hint of exaggeration. Have you seen this yarn?

This ain't no ordinary yarn...

This ain't no ordinary yarn...

The purple yarn in the background is pure merino, but it’s very nearly as thin as sewing thread. And the grey yarn? That’s silk and stainless steel. Yep: steel. This yarn is even finer than the merino. It’s smooth, but as it twists off the cone, it has a bit of a tendency to kink back on itself, and believe me, this is not a yarn that you want to have to untangle.

The Kusha Kusha scarf is knit with one strand of each, held together, for most of its length. Despite the super-skinny yarns, the knitting actually goes quite quickly, because much of the knitting is done on #8s (5 mm)! About 2/3 of the way through the scarf, you drop the merino, and knit with just the silk/stainless yarn on progressively smaller and smaller needles. When you’re done, you felt the whole thing; the merino, even though it’s thin, blooms and fills the holes in the knitting, while the end of the scarf that’s just silk/stainless stays unfelted.

Scrunchable!

Scrunchable!

These pictures are pre-felting, but they give you a sense of what the knitted fabric can do with all that metal content. It’s totally malleable! You can scrunch it up, you can stretch it out, you can pleat the edges like a pie crust…

Well, none of the above tells you anything more about the Kusha Kusha scarf than any of the other 300+ Ravelers who have knit it could tell you. In fact, you’re probably wondering why anyone would want to knit with suuuuper-skinny kinked-up wire thread in the first place, scrunchable fabric or no.

Here’s the reason: this scarf is the perfect antidote to the boring staff meeting. Toss this around your neck — it’s light enough for summer, despite the wool — and you’ve got something to occupy your idle fingers for hours. Smooth the fabric out; observe the sheen of the silk/stainless yarn when it’s stretched taut; bunch it all into a little ball that you can squish into your fist; tease it out and stretch the edges outwards until they undulate and ripple along the whole length. You can do this all while appearing interested and engaged in the meeting. Forget surreptitiously checking your blackberry: the Kusha Kusha is where it’s at!

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