Abracadabra, my newest design!
I must have been channeling the late Severus Snape as I was knitting, because this pattern seemed to come about by magic and the resulting scarf has some bewitching characteristics.
My original concept was to knit a cowl based on cast on / cast off cords. Even though I was making a cowl, I decided to knit it flat because that way it could be nearly all knit stitch, quick and easy. I knit the blue and pink sample above, casting on just enough stitches for a cowl length. As I was about to sew it together, I saw that I could slip the ends through the cords to create a self-tying pocket scarf. Voila! I was enchanted by the look of the crossing cords and the way the bottom row of cords almost look like fringe. By luck or by magic, the gradient yarn I used (Universal Yarn's Poems) worked up beautifully, beginning and ending with the lovely magenta shade on the outside edges.
While I love the way the ascot length prototype turned out, I decided to knit a longer version of this idea as well. For my second sample, I used Universal's Classic Shades Sequins Lite, a slightly lighter weight yarn. In addition to the change of length, I knit 6 cords instead of 5 just because I had enough yarn and I could see that the color repeat would be more balanced if I did so.
I don't think I could be more pleased with a design. I have written it up for both the short and long versions, giving instructions for both the gauges I used. While I love the stripes achieved by the gradient yarns, I think this would also look lovely in a wide variety of medium weight yarns and I hope to see some customer projects and variations on Ravelry!