Yarn in the colors of the San Jose Sharks

Season scarf for the San Jose Sharks – Idea and plan

I want to make a season scarf for the San Jose Sharks with stripes in the team colors, representing the season of 2019/20. Each game will correspond to a certain number of rows, and the color of those rows will be determined by the outcome of the games.

There are many decision to be made before the first row can be knitted. I have spent the past month planning this project, and I am now ready for the season start this week. I will take you through my planning process, making it easy for you to make a similar scarf for whichever team and sport that is close to your heart.

The yarn

For me, getting the yarn colors right, was more important than any other properties of the yarn. Ideally, I wanted to find a sport weight, machine-washable yarn that had the same yarn in all four colors of the Sharks: Teal, black, white and a golden yellow.

I started out by checking one of my favorite affordable superwash wools that come in a huge variety of colors, and I got lucky. Cascade 220 Superwash Sport indeed has a near-perfect match for each color of the Sharks. The colors I’ve chosen are listed in the table below. One thing to be aware of is that a yarn color can look quite different on the screen and in the hand – case in point, in the photo of my yarn, the teal comes across as a blue. Therefore, I only ordered a single hank of each color, to begin with, so that I could compare to official Sharks apparel before making a large purchase.

My yarn choice: Cascade 220 Superwash Sport

Sharks color # Yarn color name
Teal0859Lake Chelan Heather
Black0815Black
White0871White
Yellow0877Golden

If you are making a season scarf for a collegiate school team, I warmly recommend KnitPal. They hand dye a delicious superwash merino wool to the exact color of a huge selection of school teams. The yarn is available in fingering, DK and worsted weights.

Another resource I came across that might help you find the perfect yarn for your favorite team is Halcyon Yarn. They have yarn suggestions matching the team colors of almost any thinkable team sport. You can even choose the weight of yarn, you are interested in.

The stitch pattern

A scarf will look best if it is reversible, and stripes don’t always look the same on both sides of the fabric, depending on the choice of stitch pattern. One way to deal with this is to knit the scarf in the round as a tube, and then seam the tube ends together, either to form a regular scarf or an infinity scarf. This choice will allow you to knit the whole thing with knit stitches, creating a double layered stockinette fabric, or you can switch between different stitch patterns and assign them meanings, just like the colors. For inspiration, check out this Crackerjack pattern on Ravelry.

For my scarf, I have decided to knit the whole thing in 1 by 1 ribbing. You make 1 by 1 ribbing by alternating knit and purl stitches, and on the wrong side, you knit the knit stitches and purl the purls. The fabric is quite stretchy with columns of knit stitches and purl stitches on both sides of the fabric, and the purl columns are nearly hidden between the knit columns. The advantage of this is that the color blips which happen when you knit stripes of color will be almost invisible because they only show up in the purl bumps.

To make my edges look nice and tidy, I will slip the first stitch of every row. Knitwise if the slipped stitch is replacing a knit stitch, and purlwise if it’s replacing a purl stitch. I will not be carrying the yarn up the side of the work, because it shows too clearly on a scarf. So, there will be a lot of ends to weave in, and a lot of wasted yarn in those tail ends. Oh well.

Pattern for 1×1 ribbing with slipped selvedge
Cast on an odd number of stitches
Row 1: Sl1 knitwise, *P1, K1; repeat from * to end
Row 2: Sl1 purlwise, *K1, P1; repeat from * to end
Repeat rows 1-2. Change colors as desired, always joining the color on the last stitch of the row before the color change, so that the first slipped stitch is the new color.

If you want to try out a striped scarf with 1 by 1 ribbing, check out this video from Sheep & Stitch that uses the same basic pattern to create an awesome Harry Potter scarf.

Gauge swatch

There’s always more than one reason to knit a gauge swatch. For this particular project, I absolutely need to know both the stitch and the row gauge. The width of the scarf is determined by the stitch gauge and the number of stitches I cast on, and the length of the scarf is determined by the row gauge and the number of rows I knit per game, and of course whether or not the Sharks make it to the Playoffs.

While knitting the swatch, I tested the yarn gauge as well. The yarn gauge is the cm or inches that it takes to make a single stitch. One way to measure it is to unravel 10 stitches at some point, measure the length of yarn that required, and then dividing the number with 10. I will need this information to determine how much yarn I need to buy to complete the scarf. The yarn has a bit of a stretch, making it difficult to measure a length, so I repeated the measurement for several stretches of 10 stitches and tried to be careful to not stretch the yarn.

Yarn gauge 18-19 cm / 10 sts
~ 1.85 cm / st

Another reason I made a gauge swatch is to check how I like the combination of stitch pattern and yarn and to decide which needles to use. The feel of the fabric and the look of the ribbing changes quite a bit for different needle sizes. I knitted a swatch in the 1×1 rib pattern with a few stripes, and a garter ridge in between changes in needle size. I’m a tight knitter, so I tried out needles from the largest suggested needle on the yarn label, 4 mm, and then 2 sizes larger than that, 4.5 mm and 5 mm. In the photo below, from the left, with parts separated by garter stitch, we have: 4.5 mm, accidental use of 2 needle sizes, 5 mm, accidental use of 2 needle sizes, 4 mm. Don’t even ask – TV knitting doesn’t always work out.

Gauge swatch before blocking

One thing I learned from the swatch was that my 1×1 ribbing looks somewhat wonky. The reason for this is that knit stitches and purl stitches are supposed to be inverse versions of each other, but my tension is not completely even when I knit and when I purl, and this is the result:

The alternating slant of the legs of the V’s in the ribbing is the result of different tension for the knit and purl stitches. The purl columns are completely hidden for the smallest needles I tested prior to blocking.

I have decided to consider my tension inadequacies a feature of my knitting and I continue without changing my knitting ways. It is less obvious for the larger needle sizes, and much less obvious after blocking – don’t forget to wash and block your gauge swatch before measuring your gauge.

Blocking can make a big difference for accurate gauge measurements – this is especially true for a stretchy fabric like ribbing.

After blocking, I’ve decided I like the fabric produced with the 4.5 mm needles the best. It is just the right amount of stretchy, airy and light. The yarn is even softer after washing it with a gentle no-rinse soap. I stretched out the fabric a little while blocking it, so the ribbing is more obvious now, except in the case of the 4.0 mm needle size, where the purl columns are still completely hidden. I measured the gauge in both directions in several different locations and on both sides of the fabric. I find that 26 stitches measure 8.6-8.9 cm, and 17 rows measure 6.1-6.2 cm. Dividing the number of stitches with the number of cms provides the stitches per cm.

Stitch gauge: 2.97 sts/cm
Row gauge: 2.76 sts/cm

Note that the gauge is very different from the approximate gauge on the yarn label. That’s because the 1×1 ribbing is a much tighter fabric than stockinette. My ideal width is 22 cm, and my ideal length is 190 cm. So, to achieve this I need

2.97 sts/cm*22 cm=65.3 sts
2.76 rows/cm*190 cm=524.4 rows

I will cast on 65 stitches. The selvedges are smaller than the stitches I’ve measured, but the fabric is so stretchy that I will rather be on the smaller side of the 22 cm width. Getting the length of the scarf right is more complicated…

Rows per game

The season has 82 games, and an extra 20 games if the Sharks make it to the Playoffs. I will calculate the length of the scarf for a few different options for the number of knitted rows per game. The calculation is:

length = cm per row * rows per game * number of games

1 / 2.76(rows/cm) = 0.36 cm per row 82 games 102 games
4 rows per game 118.1 cm146.9 cm
5 rows per game 147.6 cm183.6 cm
6 rows per game 177.1 cm220.3 cm

Hmm, tricky. As a general rule, I would not choose an odd number for making stripes, but since the fabric is reversible, I don’t think it will matter. I did not check for this with my gauge swatch. I think I prefer 5 rows per game. Without the Playoffs, the scarf will be quite a bit shorter than I was aiming for, but I can add an extra 15 cm where the Sharks emblem will go without destroying the concept of the scarf, and I do like the idea that the scarf will achieve the perfect length if, and only if, the Sharks make it to the Playoffs.

5 rows per game

Color code

It’s time to decide the meaning of each color. The Sharks logo has four different colors, but the official apparel tends to be dominated by either the teal or the black, with details in white, and only occasionally is yellow an accent color. I would like the finished scarf to be clearly recognizable as a Sharks fan scarf, so I am choosing my color code so that the scarf is likely to be dominated by either teal or black, depending on how the season goes.

I’ve looked up the results from the previous season on hockey-reference.com, and tested how the stripes would come out for different color codes.

My favorite is the simple 3-color solution in the middle, distinguishing only between a home win, an away win, and loosing. It’s a bit of shame to not use the yellow color, but it looks prettier and it’s true to the look of the official merchandise. Maybe I will include the yellow in fringes.

I’m considering adding beads for the games that I attend in person, but I can always make that decision later. I found some cool gold beads mixed in with other colors, and that could make it up for the lack of yellow in the scarf. I will play around with them later to see how it looks, and how many I would need for a single game.

Beads can be used to mark a special game.

Estimating how much yarn I need

Based on the yarn gauge I measured when I made the gauge swatch (1.85 cm/st), each row of the scarf will require

65 sts * 1.85 cm/st / 100 cm/m = 1.20 m of yarn per row

Assuming the Sharks stop losing their games and makes it to the Playoffs there will be 102 games of 5 rows each, so that’s

1.20 m/row * 82 games * 5 rows/game = 612 m of yarn

I need to add extra yarn for changing the yarn color. I am assuming I will have 10 cm tail ends, one for the old color, and one for the new. In the unlikely case that I will need to change the yarn after every game, I would need

0.2 m/change * 102 changes = 20.4 m

That will definitely be an overkill, so let’s say 15 m. That brings the total yarn requirement to ~632.4. Rounding up, I need

650 m of yarn

Of course, the difficulty with this project is that I don’t know which colors will be needed the most. The yarn comes in hanks with 150 m of yarn each. If the Sharks were to win every game, I would need 650m / (2*150 m) = 2.2 hanks of the teal and of the white yarn. If the Sharks were to lose every game, I would need 650m / 150 = 4.3 hanks of the black yarn (actually less, since they would not be in the Playoffs).

If the outcome of games were random, I would need 650m / (4*150) = 1.1 hank of the teal and of the white, and 2.2 hanks of the black. Ever the optimist, I am assuming that the Sharks will win more games than they lose.

I will buy two hanks of each color.

Make it your own

I hope, I have inspired you to make a season scarf for your favorite team. There are no rules, so you can make it your own, both with the choice of pattern and the color code. It doesn’t take long to knit up the results of a game, so you can easily knit up the previous game rows, while watching the next game. Have fun!

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