Knit, blocked, and tucked into a gift bag ready for presentation. It can't get any more finished than that.
Pattern: hot oatmeal, by Jenny Faifel
Yarn: Sweet Georgia Yarns Party of Five Tough Love Sock Mini Skeins, in Swell
Needles: 5 mm / US 8
I am so, so happy with how this turned out. I sure hope Mister's mother likes it!
In the end I used up all but three inches of the available yarn. I kid you not - three inches. (Okay, fine, I just measured. 3.25".) I didn't get the full fourth repeat of the pattern in, so it's definitely smaller than written, but tip to tip the scarf is at least as long as I am tall, and I'm 5'3" (and a half!), so there's very decent length there for wrapping around the neck - my measuring tape maxes out at 60", and the scarf exceeds that. At its deepest point, it's 16.5" deep.
I initially thought I could maximize my yardage by omitting the picot bind off and using a straight-edge style bind off instead. This strategy did get me an extra row, but that extra row placed my endpoint at the peak of the triangle - you know, the part that is typically displayed front and centre, or fashionably off to one side, but either way it's really the focal point of the shawl when worn. Did I really want to weave an end in there? I decided that the answer was no, so I pulled back a row, and did the picot bind off instead.
Well. I did it until I realized my yarn wouldn't go the whole way, and then switched to a double chain bind off for the very last two inches or so.
I figure that's one of the ends of the scarf, so it's not super likely that anyone will ever notice the discrepancy. At first I worried it would make me nuts, but honestly, I had forgotten about it until I started writing this up, and then I remembered and had to pull the scarf back out to take a picture of it.
This was a great knit - lovely easy-to-get-into-your-head pattern (so: straightforward and logical), and it seemed to work up pretty quickly, which was great since I was in a bit of a time crunch, but I got it knit in 10 days, without getting obsessive and weird about knitting on it as much as humanly possible. The gradient kit worked out fabulously, so if you've got one of these kits (or one like them) and are looking for a pattern match, this one's a great option!
Tech specs: I think I just did a long-tail cast on for the first few stitches at one end (you cast on so few it hardly matters), and used each colour in my gradient kit up completely (save the inch-ish long bits at the very beginning and end) by joining on the next colour in the sequence using a Russian join, so the colour changes aren't all at the ends of rows. I wouldn't recommend this for colour-block versions, with big changes from one colour to the next, but with gradient kits it works well.