My Brilliant Korea

The scarf

Blogging | October 18, 2011

The winters in Korea are bitterly cold.

It’s so cold your toes throb in your boots.

It’s so cold your cheeks freeze in position and your mouth struggles to form around your words.

I never knew true cold until I came to Korea.

With this in mind, I recently decided I would knit my boyfriend, Ash, (I might have mentioned him before) a large scarf for Christmas.

I began the scarf two weeks ago, thereby giving myself in excess of two months to finish the project.

Considering it is possible to build a house in that time, I reasoned I had allowed myself ample room for error.

There were, of course, two obvious problems with the entire concept.

1. I am physically unable to keep an unimportant secret to myself for more than three days.

2. I was particularly proud that I had worked out how to cast on almost entirely by myself (with just a little assistance from an elderly and slightly nervous sounding woman on YouTube), and wanted to share my pride in this achievement.

So, it should be no surprise to you that on the third day of Operation Slightly Too Large Scarf, the following conversation took place:

Me: “Should I tell you what I’m doing for you for Christmas?”

Ash: “Yes. Definitely. It’s October. I need to know”.

Me: “I’m knitting you a scarf! I taught myself!”

Ash: “Awwwww. That’s so sweet! I’ll have it forever. (Pause). Are you knitting me a matching hat?”

Me: “Well, I hadn’t planned on it but…”

Ash: “Oh, well, I need a matching hat! I’m not sure if I want a bobble or not though. Maybe you could knit me one with a bobble and one without? In different colours? ”

Me: “Well, I don’t really know how to knit things that aren’t from the square or rectangle family, but I guess I….”

Ash: “Now’s a great time to learn! You don’t want to just know how to knit scarves! Just remember, I have a big head. The hats (in different colours, one with a bobble, one without), will need to be pretty big”.

According to my elderly, slightly nervous mentor on YouTube, beanies are quite a bit more difficult than scarves.

They require a mastery of several different kinds of stitches, need to be well fitted, and must be finished with the use of a crochet hook (an item I have never seen before, nor know how to use or purchase).

When you consider the difficulty, and combine it with my lack of commitment to small craft projects, Ash’s dream of a matching winter set (with an additional hat, in a different colour, with a bobble), might not eventuate.

At the very least, he will have a hand-knitted scarf.

I am determined to finish that.

It won’t be perfect, but it will keep him warm all winter, and if he is very careful with it, he will have it forever.

Just like me.

Bizarre Korean Fact: Dongdaemun Market in Seoul boasts 26 shopping malls (that’s 26 shopping malls) in the area directly around the Dongdaemun Subway Station. Each mall specialises in something different. Outside exit 9 you will find a mall jam-packed with wool- all the colours of the rainbow. I chose grey.


1. Hellmuther on October 18, 2011

Blythe,Keep at it... once you learn, hats are just as easy (and quicker!) than scarves. Self-striping yarn yields a hat that usually generates interesting patterns and even more interesting comments. Other knitters will stop you (or him) on the street, recognizing immediately the hat is hand knit. Definitely one of the friendliest sub-cultures out there.

Keep at it. Keep us posted.


2. Blythe on October 18, 2011

Alright, I'll give it my best shot. I'm actually really enjoying knitting this scarf and am quite interested in making something more difficult. I just know my commitment levels are quite low with these kinds of projects. Thanks for the comment!

Any Comments?

About Blythe Seinor

When Blythe was a journalism student at the Queensland University of Technology she interviewed the former Indonesian president, Abdurrahman Wahid.
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