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Dear Ann,

You know, for somebody who never worked in retail until you had a yarn shop of your very own here at MDK, you are pretty good at this. Your MDK Gems post a few weeks ago influenced ME to finally cast on for a project I’ve been wanting to make for ages, Erika Knight’s Escalator Scarf.

Pattern: Escalator Scarf by Erika Knight. Yarn: MDK Atlas in Peat, not to be confused with Pear. We did not intend to drive the shipping department nuts with that one-letter difference in shade names, but here we are. Sorry DG!

In your post, you pointed out that while the pattern calls for eight skeins of MDK Atlas, a 5- or 6- skein version would be quite ample, and certainly consistent with the common understanding of how big a scarf is. So did I cut mine back? Did I deny myself even a single skein’s worth of knitting Erika’s sexy, streamlined cables?

Hell no. I went for the full Cecil B. DeMille version. A scarf so epic it has a soundtrack. 16 repeats of a 36-row cable chart that Charlton Heston would approve.

Door for scale. There’s a full foot of scarf on the other side of the door.

I started this project at the end of March, when I went on a birthday-adjacent island getaway with a pair of friends who are highly tolerant of me knitting while they drive, snorkle, or bask. Let me know if there’s a sea turtle, that’s all I ask. I brake—and put down my knitting—for sea turtles.

In years of vacationing with these two, I’ve had one rule: cable projects only. I didn’t know it was a rule, but looking back in my photos I see that in fact I’ve clung to cables almost exclusively, except that one year when I was into socks.

There is something about knitting cables that chimes perfectly with Vacation Mode. Get your markers in, keep your chart handy, and off you go, happy as Larry. I brought exactly one post-it note to track my progress in the chart, and I made it last for an entire week. On the plane ride home, the only thing keeping it stuck to the page was the power of my mind.

Tips Ahoy

I had to get all the way to the final finishing touch of the project—the scarf was blocked and everything—before I came up with a single tip to share.

Are you ready for the tip? When you need to cut “approximately 104 lengths of yarn each 20″(51 cm) long” for the fringe, use a piece of cardboard that you’ve cut down to 10 inches (25 cm) as an improvised niddy-noddy, and wind the yarn around it 104 times, give or take. Just be sure to cut only at one end of the cardboard, or you’ll end up with approximately 208 lengths of yarn each 10″ (25.5 cm) long.

I ended up needing more like 200 lengths of yarn for full fringe-ification. Budget half a skein.

That’s it. That’s the tip. Cardboard. Cut it.

Another tip, this one disguising officious advice: don’t skip the fringe. You may think you want to, but you don’t. I’m a minimalist in many things, but when an opportunity to fringe presents itself, I don’t shortchange myself. We only go around once. Fringe and be happy.

This beautiful, beautiful thing is going on my Extravagant Presents Pile for the moment.  Extravagant presents often end up on my own neck, but with warmer days arriving, I can aspire to be magnanimous.







  • What a fabulous scarf! I may have to order some Atlas yarn for shipping to the UK. Only one question – is it reversible?

    • No, it’s regular cables.

  • Beautiful design. The cables are lush and cozy .
    Thank you for sharing this incredible design.
    Especially loved the stopping everything for turtles. I have a soft spot for turtles.

    • Me, too! Turtles are my favorite animals, and sea turtles are the best. But that scarf!!! “Sixteen repeats of a 32-row cable chart”! And I love cables, but yikes! It’s like knitting a completely cabled throw. Congratulations, Kay!

      • It would make a fabulous throw. I’m strong for it!

  • The link goes to the Old Friend Pullover.

    Beautiful scarf and I too knit on vacations.

    • The link in the photo caption is correct.

  • The scarf is beautiful. I’m so impressed that you did all of that complex knitting since just the end of March!

  • Love how you write kay!
    Your words made me want to jump out of bed and begin this sexy cabled scarf!! Complete with fringe no less!

  • You read my mind….I was reading along and the thought of leaving off the fringe popped into my head. Your next words, “don’t skip the fringe,” immediately burst that thought bubble.

    When I make this scarf, it will have all the extra-extravagant fringe. Because who am I to argue with Erika and Kay.

    As a complete aside….but still in London style scene mode. I recently found an Artworks London sweater in my local thrift store. (Yes, denim blue yarn. $5.99. Such a find.) I did a quick Google search while waiting in line at the register and Kay’s homage to Belinda Boaden appeared. I was immediately connected to the world of London knitwear at the turn-of-the-century. MDK has not only made be a better knitter, I am also a better shopper!

    • Oh my gosh, congratulations on that find! Miss Belinda so much.

  • I’ve forgotten about this one. I love a giant cabled scarf.

  • Great tip! I’m sitting here asking myself whether I would have cut 104 lengths of yarn one by one or whether your wrapping around cardboard technique would have occurred to me at some point. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

    • At the 3rd or 4th piece you would have thought, there has to be a better way!

  • Beautiful! I love that color. And you made me literally Laugh Out Loud more than once. Thanks for a delightful break from today’s un-delightful Spelling Bee.

    • Absolutely agreed! And it’s nice to see other Bee enthusiasts in this group!

  • I restrict my car riding knitting to garter and stockinette stitches. Nothing else, even cables. So I use stash scraps to make pet blankets. I admire you and anyone who can knit anything else in a car. Lovely scarf.

    • Another scarfy vacation option but without cables is the marlogram scarf. You get the 10 stich repeat down so quickly after the initial set-up and just keep going until the Freia is gone. I’ve made three over the past few years on vacation. They are also total airplane/flight attendant show stoppers!

  • Hmmm. I love cables.

  • Ever since this beautiful pattern emerged, I’ve feared someone would wear it on an escalator or a sea turtle. Please use caution.

  • I think you are ready for your close-up!

  • Kay so funny I love your writing! The scarf is beautiful in that peat/pear color.
    I just spent 2 days searching Rav and swatching for our next trip to Europe, I’m still not settled on my choices. I never travel without a knitting project and as is common, its the first thing I pack.

  • Beautifully written and beautifully knitted Kay.

  • I love the scarf and your advice about the fringe is right on! If I knit a pattern that calls for fringe, I never skip it!!! I love a good fringed shawl or scarf. Thanks for your tip on cutting the fringe. I also use that method. My advise is to be sure not to stretch the yarn as you are winding around the cardboard as this could cause your fringe to be a bit shorter than called for. Viva la fringe!

  • Love your perspective on fringe. It’s a lovely end to a knitting project – cables or not. And it’s a lovely and impressive long scarf!

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