Birthplace: Tuscany

Fresh off the needles: Kusha Kusha Scarf.

Kusha Kusha was cast on during a day trip through Tuscany in late September.  We were on our way to Volterra and it was a beautiful day.  Rolling hills, topped with farm houses flanked by tall cypress trees.  The fields had been harvested, so the dirt lay as a dusty taupe blanket on the hills.  Grapes were still on the vine, hanging in all their succulence, tempting the lips, and tempting the camera.

Knitting Kusha Kusha. Well, it is entirely stockinette stitch, so there’s not a whole lot of entertainment value in the knitting, and in fact I was surprised how long it took to knit. The way it is knit is that for the first two-thirds or so of the scarf you knit the strands of superfine merino (I used brown) and silk-wrapped steel (black silk with glints of steel peaking through) together as one, and then at about the two-thirds mark, it’s just the silk-covered steel strand.  I discovered that although there’s nothing magical or mystical about knitting with silk-covered stainless steel, it wasn’t as easy to deal with as it appeared because the yarn doesn’t just wrap itself aroung the needles like typical fibers, but it bends and you wrap it around the needle.  It doesn’t exactly fight being knitted and it’s not like trying to knit with cable off your TV or anything, but it just has it’s own mind despite it’s threadlike appearance.

The best part about the whole project is felting it, because just when you think it’s not going to look any different, suddenly the fibers open up and felt and you have this very interesting piece of subtle wearable art to hang around your neck. After I felted it, I pulled at the rolled edges in various places to give it a toothsome edge.  Ironic for me that Kusha Kusha is so subtle and that the project I finished just before it is Norah Gaughan’s Cabled Coat, which is so in your face, that when I wear it, people do double-takes (which, isn’t quite me, I have to admit).  If it weren’t so slow going, I’d jump on it to make another one, but I think I’ll wait on that for a bit.

Would I recommend knitting a Kusha Kusha to anyone who has yet to try it?  Absolutely.  Why?  Because it has to be experienced.  You’re knitting with stainless steel, for goodness sake, and it’s just too different a concept not to try it.


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