Last week Akari arrived to Wool & Grace. This is a brand-new yarn from Noro. It comes in ginormously round skeins – 526 yards or so – of beautiful and soft, worsted-weight yarn. It is a blend of cotton, silk and mohair – plus a few other materials that make it easy to work with. It’s a lot like Ito, another Noro yarn, that has been insanely popular at Wool & Grace for the past 8 months, except Akari is like it’s spring/summer-weight version. Colors shift beautifully, as is typical for Noro yarns, but Akari tends to just change within a tonal family. I was pretty smitten with this yarn, and upon seeing it I told Sarah (an awesome Wool & Grace instructor & employee) that I wanted to make a giant wrap-scarf-blanket with it. With a chuckle she replied “You’re going to make a blarf!” That alone has been enough to fuel a week’s worth of giggling and joyful knitting. I convinced Patty that we needed a sample of Akari knit up for the shop, and I took home two balls of it to make a blarf for the shop.
There are a lot of different terms we can use to describe this piece, but I think “blarf” makes so much sense. It’s clearly a combination of “blanket” and “scarf” – plus it is hilarious to say the word! (I have an 8-year-old’s sense of humor.) I think I’ve probably been annoying my boss, my colleagues and my knitters with my incessant talk of blarfs over the past week. I even Googled it, and it is a widely recognized term!
Can we think of a few other terms? How about “scranket”? That was my husband’s idea. Technically, I think it’s a Socially Acceptable Adult Blanky (SAAB, cleverly noted by one of our knitters). If we want to be adult about it, we can call it a mega-wrap or a blanket scarf. Whichever way you slice it, it’s one of my favorite accessories.
When it comes to scarves, I think “more is more.” Bigger IS better! I like dramatically big wraps. I love working with materials that are light enough that it can be scrunched into a scarf to heavily insulate my neck in the bitter cold, but that can open up as a light layer to wear easily indoors. I also love it when a thick wrap is big enough to cover my whole coat, so I can wear a nice looking (but perhaps not particularly warm) coat and give it a dash of personality and warmth with this huge, extra layer. My absolute favorite project of 2018 (and there were a lot) was my Rivage, a huge “blanket wrap” designed by Julie Hoover and knit up in Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft.
Over the past two years, there have been some pretty high-profile blarf knitting patterns. Andrea Mowry’s Find Your Fade and Joji Locatelli’s Starting Point are a few big name blarfs. The Endless Wrap from Blue Sky Fibers is the best example of a blarf. Here are some other blarf projects that look fun to knit and scrumptious to wear.
2nd Avenue is a colorful and textured wrap pattern by Amy Miller. Choose 5 colors of fingering weight yarn to knit up this fun wrap, and have fun with how Miller changes up motifs throughout. Big stripes, skinny stripes and eyelets give a bold, modern look to this piece, and it can be as bright or subtle as you like. Stand out using bold solids and speckles from the likes of La Jolla or Tosh Merino Light, or be more subtle by calling on the palettes of yarns like Peerie, Birch or even Loft.
Drys by Melanie Berg has long been on my queue. I’ve been wanting to make this mega-wrap for years. It is a ginormous, luxurious and modern wrap, with tiny eyelets dotted throughout, increasing in frequency toward the center of the piece. Otherwise, it’s worked in a relaxing garter stitch. I’ve been wanting to make this using Blue Sky’s Extra. It’s round and bouncy texture is a delight to work with, and after blocking it’ll get a beautiful and luxurious drape.
Andrea Mowry’s Yoga Shawl is another beautiful, big wrap. A simple combination of knits and purls makes up its sophisticated chevron pattern. Meanwhile, a long row of tiny buttons makes it so one can fasten it to be worn as a poncho. I love the myriad of ways that Mowry wears this piece. She wrote the pattern for Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft, but also consider Peerie, Birch, or even Fern or Cozette for some spring-weight pieces!
Suzanne Shaw’s Color Block Bias Wrap is a delightfully easy way to add dimension (through bias knitting) and color (with bold blocks of color) into a large wrap. Written for a bulky weight yarn, it’s easy to see that Blue Sky’s Techno is a shoe-in for this sort of project. Plus worked on a US13 needle with only 550+ yards of yarn, it won’t take forever. The gauge indicates it’s going to be light with a soft drape. Also consider making it in something like Blue Sky’s Extra – although it’ll have more weight and drape to it. I think this piece looks irresistible in so many ways: irresistible to knit, wear and love.
Very similar to Shaw’s wrap above is Tanis Lavallee’s Vector. Same idea with the bias and color blocking. This one is knit up in Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft. Imagine the colors that you could enlist for this one, plus Loft is a delightfully light fabric that can be easily worn any time of year.
One last mega-scarf worth mentioning is Tree Seeker by Joji Locatelli. So many of the pieces list above are easy knits without too much detail. Tree Seeker is the opposite. Covered in cables and lace, it absolutely intricate and beautiful. Don’t bee too intimidated, as it’s knit up in a worsted-weight yarn. I think it would be gorgeous in something like Sueno Worsted, Rios or Vintage, Shepherd’s Wool, and Falkland Aran, to name a few.
While I wrap up here, I want to acknowledge that not everyone finds the word “blarf” as charming as I do. Whether you shoot us an email at info@ woolandgrace.com or comment directly on this blog, I’m taking votes about the preferred term that we can use to refer to this indispensable accessory. Whether you like blarf, SAAB, blanket wrap, or mega wrap, it’s all good – but let me know. If you send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment on this post, let me know what term you prefer – and I promise I’ll defer to popular opinion!