Sky scarf for the new year

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“When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.”

I found this quote from Herman Hesse about trees on a great website,, which I will be checking out with more frequency in the new year. I will also be knitting a sky scarf this year, and Hesse’s reflections on tree rings just seemed to fit well with a project designed to document a year in the life.

I’ve often thought about the ways in which one’s writing serves as a kind of document for what was happening in your life at that particular moment, regardless of whether it’s a diary you’re writing. I can tell what I was thinking about at the time when I read my old college papers that are on subjects like Shakespeare and DNA. Perhaps it’s a sign of my unique ability to make everything I write about me, but I suspect that it’s impossible to really keep something of yourself from leaking into your written words.

sky scarf

Yarns for my sky scarf

But I’ll confess that in my writing, I don’t generally record the weather every day, which is part of the point of the sky scarf. You buy colors that represent the sky for each particular day and add a few rows of knitting to the scarf every day. You can see in the picture the particular palette I’ve picked. It includes a fluffy, white alpaca for clouds and a very dark gray for the stormiest of days. I can imagine other permutations of the sky scarf. A mood scarf where you pick colors to record your mood for each day of the year. A tree scarf where you record the changing color of leaves. I thought about including a yellow in my sky scarf for very sunny days. Wouldn’t a sunset or sunrise scarf be beautiful?

I love this particular color scheme, so I know the resulting scarf will be beautiful. It will have the added benefit of being meaningful, something that took a whole year to create. I’m curious to know how much bright blue there will be. Will I be able to see long, dry spells in the scarf? Will the winter really look dark and gray, or is that more about our feeling during the winter than it is the actual weather? Will I, as with the tree rings, be able to read my “whole luminous history” in the scarf? At the very least, it will be a record of the “storms endured.” Look for a picture of the finished project in 2014!

You can get the pattern for the sky scarf here, along with lots of pictures of completed sky scarves.

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