Shifting Sands

I always have the most difficult time coming up with names for patterns, especially when I admit to myself that, yes, names really do matter. Picovoli isn’t the easiest thing to pronounce, and neither is Sharfik, and I can just imagine the conversation:

Knitter 1: What are you working on?

Knitter 2: Oh, it’s a top-down shirt in cotton.

Knitter 1: I really like the way it looks! What’s the pattern?

Knitter 2: I don’t have it here with me… it has a really weird name that I always forget. Something ending in -li, maybe?

As a result, Knitter 1 never makes a Picovoli for herself.

On the other hand, Odessa and Jaywalkers are winner names – easy to pronounce and remember.

When faced with naming my dad’s new scarf (as of today, not yet in his possession; Post Office, hurry up!), I nearly panicked. I considered giving it a color name, but I don’t associate pleasant things with anything brown. I considered giving it a place name, but the only thing I could come up with is Volga. Pass!

An afternoon with some knitting buds rescued me from my indecision. One name in particular, suggested by Maritza, hit the spot: Shifting Sands.

In my opinion, the name is very appropriate: the cables swish and swoop, meandering from one edge to the other. The resulting texture is that of sand, shifted over time by wind or water. It is an element of nature familiar to both me and my dad, having grown up on the coast of the Black Sea.

I’m extremely pleased to share the pattern with you for free, but please respect copyright boundaries. Also, may I suggest learning cabling without a cable needle prior to attempting this pattern? It will save you a lot of frustration ;). Enjoy!

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71 thoughts on “Shifting Sands

  1. Christine

    How about a contraction of “Dad’s scarf” (Darf? It does sound a little too close to “barf”, though.) Pass, but it IS memorable. On another linguistic note, you could call it Russian for a closet and spell it phonetically – “Schkoff.” After all, it may spend most of its yearly life in a closet, ON the collar of its chosen coat.

  2. Cyndi

    Lovely scarf, and a very appropriate name! Thanks for making the pattern available – I’m always on the lookout for a good scarf pattern. πŸ™‚

  3. Ashley

    See, and this is why you deserve nice surprises in the mail–you give, and you give, and you give!! I’m tempted to invest in some qiviut to make this for myself, but maybe we’ll see if the Christmas fairy brings any yarn money first.

  4. alliwenk

    I’m coming out of lurkdom to say thank you for the pattern. I’m not normally a scarf knitter but this has the 2 things that most scarves lack: it’s both masculine AND not boring to knit!

  5. Delf

    I’ve been puzzling over a gansey design, not finding the right combination of cable and texture to please me. But now I’m going to steal the chart from this scarf for texture on part of the front and back shoulder area, and maybe a couple repeats up the sleeves as cables. I love the way it looks on that scarf. Thank you.

  6. Katinka

    Whee! The pattern! Thank you so very much!

    I lived in Kiev for 15 months, but I never made it to the Black Sea. Still, I think the scarf is perfectly named. πŸ™‚

  7. Laura

    Perfect name! Hooray for the brilliant name and Bravo for the beautiful pattern! I think this will become a scarf for my son for Christmas this year! Thanks for being so generous with your patterns Kathy. πŸ™‚

  8. Tarilyn

    Love the name and the pattern – thanks for sharing. By the way, I know it was an old post, but I’m glad you had the contest, if only so others could link to your readers too! I saw some fun photos out there and a few new blogs to read.

  9. Jodie

    I was wondering where you were from. I heard you on It’s a Purl Man and couldn’t place the accent. Love the name, and can’t wait to get this on the needles. Of course, I’ll send a picture for the gallery when it’s done.

  10. Claudia

    You did a wonderful scarf and thank you for sharing the pattern. The name “shifting sands” is perfect for the color you worked the scarf with and the pattern. It remembers me of holidays at the beaches of the Mediterranean.

    Claudia from Germany

  11. Susan

    It’s really lovely. And a nice name too.

    You’re right on about the issue with names. As I recall, a very good movie was missed by many because of its unwieldy name:

    Shawshank Redemption.

    Great scarf. Many thanks for sharing the pattern. Can’t wait to read about your dad’s joy in receiving it.

  12. Silvia

    Lovely scarf, and I appreciate the easy name- I referred to Sharfik as Sharkfin a couple of times before realizing my error (doh!). Hope your dad loves it. Now I have to decide if I want to make this one or Sharfik!

  13. Laura

    hee! I just call Picovoli my Tivoli sweater. (But directing someone to the pattern is much more involved.)

    Beautiful scarf and a great name!

  14. Risa

    I don’t think the names Picovoli and Sharfik are difficult at all. I wouldn’t worry about that.

    But then, my last name alone is six syllables, so…

    Anyway, love the scarf! And I’m sure your dad will too!

  15. Danielle

    Perfect name. I’d rather come up with names for patterns than, er, patterns. But that’s why I’m a writer, not a knitwear designer.

    Q about cabling without a needle: You can’t do it with slippery yarn, right? Whenever I see tutorials I quietly shudder at the “stitches in mid-air” part.

  16. Emma

    This scarf is beautiful! I just may have to make this for my father for Hannukah! (Last year I gave him Sharfik and he loved it….)

    I know I don’t comment that often, but I read your site every day and continue to be inspired by your knitting!

    Signing out, from your friendly GSAS administrator….. πŸ™‚

  17. nona

    “Shifting Sands” is a winner of a name and a handsome scarf. Thank you so much for sharing your well written pattern and excellent — the best I’ve seen — tutorial on cabling without a cable needle.

  18. Regina

    Kathy, THANK YOU for sharing your pattern for Shifting Sands. The scarf is just beautiful. I’m working on a Sharfik right now for my daughter–another beautiful pattern. Thank you for your generosity.

  19. Sharon F

    Thank you for the pattern! I’ve been admiring the stiches for days now. It’s just what I’ve been looking for – and I can’t wait to cast on with yarn from Rhinebeck (Decadent Fibers Pulled Taffy – 55 wool/45 mohair – in a pink/purple shade). Do you think this will become a knit-along?

  20. Julie H.

    I’ve never had a problem pronouncing “Sharfik.” Those two years of Russian I took in high school and one semester in college? Obviously still serving me well. πŸ™‚

  21. Adriana

    I want to pass along a very high compliment to you and your new scarf. While I was glancing at the pattern the boyfriend walked by and, for the first time ever, asked me if I would knit that for him!

  22. Laurie

    Nice! Thank you for the pattern and cable tutorial. I was just trying to find a nice, classic looking scarf pattern for a thank you gift for someone who helped me get a job. She will love this!

  23. tns

    Thank you so much for the pattern. It’s the first scarf I’ve planned to make since I OD’ed on scarves when I first learned to knit.

  24. Angela

    Thanks, not only for the pattern, but the tutorial for cabling without a cable needle. I adore this pattern and am looking forward to making it soon. I’ve been working on a small (4″ wide) scarf with 2×2 cables and it seemed to be taking forever! Your tutorial helped me get almost twice as much done tonight as I would have without it. My husband even has hopes that I might knit that cabled sweater he picked out a few *cough* years ago.

  25. Sue

    Thank you, I admire your beautiful work and my dad just discovered he has Stage 4..yea the “c” word, so even though I’ve not discovered speed in my knitting yet I’m making him one to keep the chill off when he has treatments (he’s in Fla.) Your blog is my favorite on the web, you’ve inspired me to attempt to build one. I’m gathering info on How To and Where To and it’ll be about knitting and of course life. If you have any suggestions feel free to give them.

    Thanks for your blog and the pattern.

    Sue (who’s husband works at home depot..LOL)

  26. Singular Stitches

    The name of the pattern really doesn’t matter. All anyone has to say is ‘It’s one of Grumperina’s patterns’ and they’ll know exactly where to go to get it…. :o)

  27. Rae

    Granddad is going to have a Sharkif this Christmas thanks to you. I started it (and learned how to cable without a CN, again, thanks to you) a mere 1 day before you posted this beauty.

    Granddad is going to have a Shifting Sands next Christmas … πŸ˜‰ Lovely lovely patterns, and really superb instructions. Thanks over and over again.

  28. Norma

    I love it beyond reason. And I bet your dad is going to, also. It’s a case of he couldn’t have imagined it enough to have asked for it…and you surpassed his wildest expectations.

  29. My Merino Mantra

    I hate the be the only naysayer here, but I LOVE the name “Volga”! I have been on the Volga River, and found it to be one of the most beautiful waterways on earth. There is a pic of DH and I on the Volga on my blog under “An Anniversary”. Regardless, I have made your Sharfik with Aurora 8; it’s a great pattern. I can’t wait to make Shifting Sands. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful patterns with us.



  30. Jessica

    I just wanted to tell you that the “cabling without a cable needle” tutorial you did is AWESOME! I am making a scarf for my BF for Christmas, and it has tons and tons of cables. This new technique is great, and I’m not scaring the dog anymore with my cable needle clanging to the floor. I might just have to try Shifting Sands, it’s lovely. Thanks for the pattern and the great tutorial!

  31. Margaret

    This scarf is absolutely GORGEOUS!! I think it’s even better than the original, it’s much more unique. But that’s obvious, you made it. I just love it, and am going to try to start reading charts so that I can do this. Wish me well!

    P.S. Loving all your patterns, fabulous, absolutely fabulous!

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