Best Selling Pattern and Lucy Neatby Speaks
We asked Lucy how Sea Lettuce came to be created. Lucy speaks:
Sea Lettuce was mostly conceived on an airplane on my way home from San
Francisco to JFK after teaching at Shirley Grade's camp in Point Reyes
and was a child of my discovery, the Modified Conventional Bind-Off.
I found that binding-off became faster, looser and more fun as a result
of this discovery and took knitting picots from being a pain to being a
pleasure. This bind off technique is so important that it is included as
an integral part of the Sea Lettuce pattern.
I’d likely been teaching short rows as classes often set me thinking,
and I just fancied the idea of a spiraling scarf, trimmed with
multitudes of picots. I have strong opinions on the subject of scarves;
they should be as beautiful on the back as on the front and they should
begin and end pleasingly - not as if they had been cut from a strip with
With this in mind I began with a provisionally casting on a semi-circle
of wedges and that lead into full width repeats. This all sounds very
simple, but how best to write this so that people don’t get lost with
all the changes of direction? Also, I wanted to establish a logic so
that the knitter could become free of the pattern by making each of the
short-rows always work with multiples of three stitches.
This design conveniently works with any weight of yarn and provided you
make a note of the amount of yarn used in the starting semi-circle, you
can work on until just this amount of yarn remains.
With plain colours I really like to add stripes in the 7 row repeat
section changing the yarn at the mid-point of the row after every two
repeats. This way you can use a series of oddments of yarn, starting
with one colour, transitioning into a second and so on until your scarf
is long enough! There is really no end to the variations possible with
textured, printed sock, long-colour transition and exotic yarns.
The Sea Lettuce has also taken on a life of its own at many yarn stores.
It’s easy to demonstrate and once one knitter has embarked, others
follow. It makes an excellent workshop. All the techniques included in
the pattern, provisional crochet cast-on, short-rows without wraps, the
picots and the bind-off method, can all be covered in a 3 hour class.
The knitter then has all the techniques at her fingertips and the scarf
is well launched.
For many years Sea Lettuce has been without the aid of decent
photography, for whilst it looks great around a neck, it somehow just
wouldn’t pose for me. Thankfully about 2 years ago I started working
with Hillary Dionne on Big Tancook Island to overhaul all our
photography. She has been very creative with the Sea Lettuce.
The advent of digital patterns (thanks to Julia at Patternfish for her
patient encouragement in this area) has allowed me to include more
pictures in the pattern and now there’s even a You Tube link showing how
the semi-circle becomes the full width of the scarf, the stage that
requires some imagination from the hesitant knitter.