I recently finished knitting this lacy red alpaca scarf for my best friend.  She and I grew up next door to each other in a quiet, woodsy spot just outside of a small town in northern Minnesota.  She’s not really the knitting type, so I hesitated in knitting something for her for a while. She loves bright, fun clothes and jewelry – my knitting is usually earthy and a little dowdy – and during the long, cold Minnesota winters she and her husband love to go to Las Vegas, I imagine to get dressed up and go out on the town. With that in mind I set out to make something luxurious and with enough bling to complement the bright lights of their beloved dessert oasis.

Thinking of her while I knit this, one thing I was reminded of was her great appetite for fiction.  Since we were little she has always been a voracious reader, while I haven’t read anything other than non-fiction parenting or knitting books in ages.  But I used to read more and I miss a good novel.  I especially miss that one terribly hot summer in college when I was immersed in Anna Karenina, getting a sunburn on the dock but believing the pain was actually frostbite because I had been sitting for hours in a snow-covered barouche crossing the Siberian tundra…

Like our troubled Russian heroine, this scarf has a bit of tragedy to it. I started it intending to blanket it with little glass beads,  but after several pattern repeats it was too busy.  

Not wanting to start over with the knitting, I continued the scarf but just added the beads intermittently.  Then I took a rusty pair of pliers and cracked the half-dozen beads I didn’t want.

Like Anna, the lovely, delicate scarf did not deserve such violence – but it does look perfect now!

Anna Karenina / Las Vegas scarf pattern

Needle: Size 7

Yarn: DK weight – Baby alpaca, 2 skeins

Beads: Darice Toho Premium Beads (glass-type beads, mine are from a Michaels store)

Guage: Approximately 17 stitches per 4 inches in lace pattern

First, string on approximately 45 small glass beads onto your yarn.  Pull them down a few feet to give yourself plenty of slack. The beads will be accessible but you’ll constantly be pushing them down as you pull up more yarn from the rest of the skein.  Cast on 29 stitches, somewhat loosely, and knit two rows. Starting from the right of the pattern with row number 1, follow the pattern according to the chart. Pearl every other row, knitting the first two and last two stitches (in gray).

¥  S2KP: Slip 2 stitches together as if to knit, then knit 1, then pass both slipped stitches over together

\  K2TOG: Knit 2 stitches together (Left Decrease)

/  SSK: Slip the first stitch purlwise, knit the next stitch, pass the slipped stitch over (Right Decrease)

O  YO: Yarn over (adding a stitch)

Repeat six-row pattern about 20 times or until 100 oz are finished. Applying the beads:  The beads can be placed every 7th or 13th row as designated in the chart (B), so they will sitting above the ¥  S2KP from the previous row. Knit in the beads by bringing forward one of the strung-on beads and knitting it into the stitch so that it is seen from the knit side of the pattern. You may need to futz with it a little to get it to show through to the knit side.  Apply them randomly at one of the designated B spots every 13th or 19th row or so.

Finishing: Make your last row the end the pattern (i.e., the 11th row). Knit two rows and bind off loosely. Block. Do not iron.

Adapted from “Easy Leaves Scarf” pattern © 2010 by Jennifer L. Jones