Horror, Guilt, and Deception: A Story in Three Parts


Sunday, May 8th, 2006. My parents’ house.

Mom: Good morning! I’m glad you’re awake.

Me: (yawn) What’s up, mom?

Mom: I accidentally machine-washed your dad’s scarf.

Me: The one I knit for him? Oh, no!

Mom: I know! I remember you told me to not wash it in the machine… but I was washing all the winter accessories, and I guess it accidentally ended up in there with the rest of ’em!

Me: Was it hot water? What happened?

Mom: Well, it looks different. Let me bring it up and show you.

(5 minutes later)

Felted Sharfik, as stiff as cardboard 🙁

Mom: Can you fix it?

Me: No, mom. The fibers are now all locked together, and I can’t reverse it. It’s ruined.

Mom: Oh no! Oh no! Will you knit your dad another?

Me: Of course! That’s the only thing to do…


May 9th, 2006 – August 7th, 2006. Every phone conversation with my mom.

Mom: How are you?

Me: I’m good. I’m working on (fill in the blank, whatever knitting project was occupying me at the time).

Mom: That’s great! Don’t forget, your dad needs a new scarf.

Me: I remember… I’m a little busy now, and I haven’t yet decided on the yarn, but soon.

Mom: No rush. But he’ll need a new scarf in time for fall.


August 8th, 2006. Phone conversation with my mom.

Mom: How are you?

Me: I’m good. I just finished dad’s socks, and now I’m working on a pair of colorful socks for Grandma.

Mom: That’s great! Don’t forget, your dad needs a new scarf.

Dad (heard in the background, to my mom): What happened to my scarf?!?


And so, my friends, I discovered that not only did my mom felt my dad’s scarf, but that she hid this fact from him for about three months. I guess she just wanted to pull a quick one, switch the new for the old and hope that he wouldn’t notice (knowing my dad, not impossible).

But now he knew, cooler weather was on the horizon, so it was time for me to step up and knit my dad a new scarf.

Would I knit him another Sharfik? Nope. Why?!? Considering he likes his scarves “simple and very pleasant,” without much further moodiness (unlike his ultra-picky daughter), the possibilities are endless. Vary this cable, this ribbing, this width, and voila! A whole new scarf, and no knitting déjà vu, “haven’t I already knit this?”

I revisited the scarves we considered last time (still love this one), and surfed around the web for some new ideas:

(click on picture to buy your own!)

The Orvis scarf is so cheap, I’m like, WTF? I should just buy it. But it wouldn’t be the same. The Blue Fly scarf is not exactly what my dad asked for last year, but I’m quite intrigued by the stitch pattern and may go for it! (I have some idea of how that stitch pattern is made, but swatching will be a must).

Speaking of swatching, about the yarn?

I didn’t want to use Karbella Aurora 8 again because I knew I could do better. First, I wanted a superwash yarn because… well, you know ;). Second, I wanted something thinner than worsted weight – while a lofty, squishy, thick scarf feels amazing around the neck, it can be a hassle to squeeze under a jacket. Third, I wanted a yarn which wouldn’t pill as much, something spun a bit more tightly. Fourth, I knew the color could use some improvement. While I know shit about brown (hahaha! hahaha!), I could see that the original Sharfik was a bit flat as far as color is concerned.

All these reasons led me right into the capable hands of Sundara, who worked a little magic, and came up with this small miracle:

Sundara Yarn Sport Merino, Somewhat Solid, Tan over Cream

And now the fun begins!


75 thoughts on “Horror, Guilt, and Deception: A Story in Three Parts

  1. TracyKM

    Is there some sort of creative use you can think of for a felted Sharfik? Make sure it’s really felted well, and cut it into pot holders? Ohhh…cut out mittens…you could even poke tiny holes and knit a rib cuff…

    Felted doesn’t mean ruined…just means it’s not a scarf now, LOL.

    Love the new colour!

  2. Laurence

    Actually… I find the felted scarf terribly beautiful in his new state, the cables seem to be flattened but are so visible it reminds me more of actual celtic knots now. It’s like a flat ribbon instead of rope and the fuzz is cute!

  3. BzzLaraBzz

    The felted sharfik is beautiful, but clearly not a scarf anymore. Even if you didn’t want to, I’m sure someone would find a use for it.

    I literally laughed out loud at the deception portion of your post. Too funny, your mom hounding you so she wouldn’t be caught!

  4. Laura

    uh, I thought Aurora 8 _was_ superwash! I’ve machine washed (but not dried) my Aurora 8 sweater with on adverse effects.

    That Ralph Lauren scarf looks suspicious to me. Are they fake cables? You know, done with knits and purls?

  5. Jocelyng

    I’m puzzled that the Aurora 8 felted since my understanding was that it is machine washable. I wonder what Karabella would have to say about this.

  6. Carrie

    Ohhhh, my stomach hurts at the thought of the original Sharfik, felted. I need a little lie-down.

    (The yarn for the new one is lovely, though, and good for you on the superwash.)

  7. gleek

    oh the horror! poor sharfik. a disaster 🙁 but it’ll be nice to see the journey the design of this new scarf will take!

  8. betty

    thank you kathy! i wanted to knit the duck for cover scarf for my brother-in-law, and my boy erased all my favourites. i was posponing looking through your last winter posts, and voila! here you come in my rescue.

  9. connie

    The same thing happened to my husband’s scarf! And it also was a cable-y scarf. Unlike you though, I”m just going to knit him the same one in the same yarn, although it’ll be a different color. I don’t have much creativity! 😉

  10. Denise in Kent, WA

    Poor Sharfik! This is why I use nothing but superwash for gift knitting unless I am 110% certain the recipient will not accidentally drop the item into the washer. It limits your options (sometimes to a frustrating extent) but at least you get to avoid the Horror phase. How funny that your Mom tried to cover up her faux pas; your account of the story had me ROFL.

    P.S. Be glad that your family is so detail oriented and forthcoming with their requirements. Mine is exactly the opposite; it’s always a crap shoot wondering if what I’ve created will tickle their fancy.

  11. Melissa


    Thanks for linking that Sundara yarn. I’ve been looking for a yarn with those exact specifications. Please give us a detailed report when you get it!

  12. joy

    I would have done what your mom did. I bet my husband wouldn’t even notice that his scarf had felted. 😉

    The felted Sharfik would make a great bag!

  13. Stephanie

    That Sundara is a genius. I just used her sportweight for the Kimono sweater and it really is lovely – the perfect weight for a textured scarf. And nobody does color better. I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  14. Adam

    Oops! It’s totally hilarious that your Mom hid it from your Dad, sounds similar to my family. I do agree with everyone else, that Sharfik could make nice potholders, or even stylish drink coasters!

  15. wendy the fearless pedestrian

    i once heard a couple of suggestions for unfelting wool:

    hair creme rinse

    epsom salt solution

    i have never tried these, so i don’t know if they’ll work. the epsom salt thing sounds odd, but the creme rinse works on my hair, so….

  16. bonnie

    Very funny story. I too, was wondering what you might do with the felted scarf…it’s neat how much definition there still is!

  17. June

    You should do *something* with Sharfik – a purse, p’raps?

    I only use superwash (or cotton) when knitting for others. (Only exception is Dad’s sweater last year, but I stressed over and over to Mom that it can’t go in the washing machine… Hopefully, she’ll remember!)

  18. Jenni

    I’m rather smitten with the bluefly pattern. It looks like a modified lattice motif, but reminds me of ripling canyons or mountains. Good luck with the decision!

  19. Carolyn

    Oh yeah my mom is like that…I am waiting to see some felted socks from her. She would totally hide it if it was my dads. I love the polo one…how the ribbing “fringe” works into the main pattern, lovely. Love the yarn…I must try sundara’s superwash.

  20. Nicole

    This is the very reason my family gets machine washable everything. Especially after I mistakenly felted something intended for my sister myself. Just safer, albeit boring.

  21. kelpkim

    LOVE IT! love it all!

    1. the storytelling.

    2. the links to previous posts i somehow missed!

    3. the yarn choice.

    4. the color.

    5. the fact that your mom tried to pull one over on your dad and she got CAUGHT! :o)hahaha!

    my mom does that all the time with my dad…he never notices…

    can’t wait to see this WIP! :o)

    have a great weekend.

  22. Magatha

    I am surprised the Aurora 8 felted so drastically, I machine wash and dry it all the time. It must have been the hottest water possible. Buy him a new scarf, I say. You’ve got other things to do, and I believe you said you were heavily booked this fall. (GrumperMom ought to buy it, she trashed the old one! 😉

  23. Trish

    Oh no!!! I loved your Sharfik (AND the Aurora 8) so well, that I made my husband one last year! It’s such a great pattern, I know I will use it again. And I can’t believe the Aurora 8 felted like that! Are you sure you didn’t do it, cuz you were mad that it pilled so bad? 🙂

    Thanks for the Sundara hint.

  24. marjorie

    I really liked your Sharfik scarf, and those you show are very nice too. But I needed a quick new scarf to match a jacket and I didn’t want to fuss about finding yarn or a pattern, so I used one of Morehouse’s yarns and patterns. It turned out quite nice (but it would felt in a washer also). I’d definitely make it again for a quick (but not “mom-proof”) gift.

    When I give my son or husband knitted things, I also give them “lifetime maintenance”. This, of course, is my “lifetime”, but I remove the garment from them in the spring, wash it, store it, and return it in the fall. It reduces the anxiety I know I’d have if I contemplated how they would take care of the item.

  25. Karyn

    That reminds me of when my husband knitted a cabled scarf for his sister and FORGOT to tell her not to throw it in the washer. And she thought it would be a good idea to wash it BEFORE she used it, so she never even got to wear it… No more wool for her, that’s for sure!

  26. Marcy

    You’re a better daughter than I would have been. In my family washing a wool item in the washer would have been a deliberate passive aggressive move. And my response to knitting another one to make up for the mistake? Too f***ing bad. You ruined it. You aren’t getting another one.

    Like I said, either you’re a better daughter than I, or your family is less dysfunctional (or maybe more dysfunctional, since you’re willing to knit another one). 😉

  27. Jen

    I vote for the BlueFly scarf – I love it. I clicked on it hoping that by “buy your own” you meant the pattern, not a horribly expensive scarf!

  28. Valerie in San Diego

    Yay! Sundara is the best and you know her sport merino rocks to knit with. The colors just make your fingers feel warm, and of course she only uses the best base yarn. I’m wearing a Sundara-sport-yarn sweater right now and I’m very very very happy!

  29. Kimberly

    The yarn you chose for Dad’s new scarf has looks AND practicality. I know he will appreciate it — more so when Mom washes it again. 😉


  30. Sheila

    Crack me up!!

    Make those flying fingers fly – get your Mom out of hot water. Expect to see the new scarf completed before cold weather really hits!!

    Isn’t Sundara a gem?

  31. AJ

    Your poor dad! Maybe this time you should use a non wool yarn to ensure that it won’t get felted next year!

  32. Jackie

    “Can you fix it?”

    Oh man, I almost fell out of your chair. Really, I think you’re being rather gracious about the whole thing. Of course, I’m not particularly full of grace myself, but I’d be pissed! Then again, I just lent my mother the first shawl I ever knit for her cruise, before I’ve gotten to wear it, and was a little saddened that she didn’t have anything particuarly nice to say about it (not to mention the lack of a ‘thanks.’)

    Your dad’s a lucky man, is all. 🙂

  33. Ann

    It makes me laugh that your mom tried to hide the damage from your dad. No wonder she was so insistent!

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  34. amy

    omgosh…i laughed so hard i almost peed. not at the poor misfortunate scarf, mind you, but at your artful storytelling. it’s funny because it’s so true!!

  35. Jessica

    I was told by Joyce Williams (author of Latvian Dreams) that you can reverse felting by simmering the felted item in 50/50 water and vinegar. I haven’t tried it but Joyce did and she swears it works.

  36. sophia

    Thanks for sharing such a hilarious story – you mom must’ve felt so desperate trying to hide that felted scarf from you dad. You’re so creative that I’m sure you’ll find some great way to reincarnate that sharfik into something else.

  37. jennifer

    oh my – did she think she was just going to do the switcharoo and he wouldn’t notice? too funny! you are good not to 1) freak out, 2) not buy the orvis scarf, 3) knit a new one and not bust on her

    such a good daughter!

  38. Norma

    I agree about felted Sharfik. How about adding some bling to it and turning it into an evening bag or clutch for YOUR MOM! Hee. Then she’d be reminded, but in a good way, of what she did.

    That Sundara yarn is to die for.

  39. ZhiWen

    What a story XD Oh your mom is hilarious.. I took a look at Sharfik just now and I really like the pattern. I may knit my dad one too, if I ever finish knitting his socks o__O

  40. tracey in mi

    hmmmm get that sharfik back from mom…. it’s got felted bag with leather handles potential.

    (wouldn’t she be surprised on Christmas morning?)

    yarn? Colors lovely….. but the question is



  41. Lucia

    Well, of course the Orvis scarf is cheap: the cables aren’t symmetrical. I can’t tell on the Macy’s scarf, the photo cuts it off (coincidence? I don’t think so).

    I have a thing about symmetry. Not that you would ever have guessed.

  42. Stacey

    Ouch! I had a gift that I gave thrown in the washer…It didn’t come out nearly as nice as the scarf did :o(

    That would make a lovely bag….maybe for your mom :oP

  43. Cathy

    I love your story about your mom keeping the felting from your dad!! I’m a mom and might do the same thing!!! .

    I have to agree that the felting looks great. Not sure what you could do, maybe a small purse, but the pattern is GORGEOUS!!!

  44. Theresa

    Wow, I’m suddenly very happy that my mom is a knitter and my sister doesn’t believe in dryers.

    It’s really great that you’re willing to make your dad a new scarf (that he will surely love) and that your whole family appriciate the neat things that you make for them.

  45. Kate

    I didn’t know that Aurora 8 could be felted! You were never happy with how it pilled and I’ve stayed away from it for that very reason. Maybe you should cut the scarf up, sew it together (you are a sewer now) and make a bag for your mom to commemorate the occasion.

  46. Laura

    Aww your poor mother! Carrying the horrible guilt for three months! It’s better that he knows now. hehe I’m sure you’ll come up with a masterpiece in the new yarn. The colorway will be so beautiful and have a lot of dimension. Maybe I’ll make his new scarf as a Christmas gift this year like I made Sharfik last year – I loved making the pattern and enjoyed sharing the name and story of it with the person I made it for. 🙂

  47. Happy

    OMG!! That is SO something that would happen to me. My mother CANNOT be trusted with washing anything important, although this was just a minor flub by your mom, mine would have felted the first week. I think it would be fun to make a little purse out of it… then give it to your mom for Christmas… am I mean? I think it would make a sweet purse!! Really I do! I look forward to seeing which pattern you choose for the scarf. I love them all!

  48. Colleen

    Don’t know if you’ve been able to duplicate the cable pattern in the 3rd scarf yet, but it looks very similar to Lily Chin’s Dancing Flames; can’t wait to see what you come up with, your designs are brilliant!

  49. erelong

    I too adore the bluefly stitch pattern… Do you think, if you ever figured it out, you might post it? It looks absolutely perfect for something I was thinking of making for my father.

Comments are closed.