I tried the Fantasty yarn by Dark Horse Yarns. It feels soft to the hands, but not quite as soft to the neck. Also, in a total of four skeins, two of each color used below, there was at least one knot in each skein of yarn. They were easy enough to untie, but still an annoyance. Also, the yarn was the tiniest bit splitty, but that could have been me as I was trying to really get these two scarves behind me and in the mail, and was knitting at the speed of light. There were also unprocessed bits of hard plastic (for lack of a better way to put it) that were similar to broom straws here and there, and the joins of the yarn that looked as if the ends had been glued together in some sort of a twist. I tried pulling out the glued areas planning to give the yarn a new twist, and luckily enough all those spots pulled out without too much trouble, and required only a minumum of work to smooth down the areas in question. The yarn was affordably-priced, and appropriate for a gift to non-fiber/non-knitting friends, but not as good as I had expected. It is softer than the value-priced Encore, but disappointingly the quality is not nearly as high as I think this yarn may be inclined to pill quickly.
The first scarf is knit with the Irish Hiking Scarf pattern which I got from Ravely. This pattern is super simple to follow, and the results are far more impressive than the amount of work it takes to complete this project. As mentioned above, this was knit with the Fantasy yarn, and measures 70 inches as it was made with the intention of being tied with the European Loop method. This scarf is really a deep crimson red, and not the cherry red as the picture shows. The friend who this was knit for fancies himself a cross between James Bond and JFK, and requested a color that 007 would wear.
The second scarf is the Basketweave Scarf by Ann Budd. I am aware that she is practically knitting royalty, but I did not enjoy knitting this scarf. While the instructions were not difficult, they were extremely tedious, and made me want to set the pattern on fire a number of times. This scarf was also knit with Fantasy, is allegedly reversible, and measures 70 inches as well.
To be honest, the Irish Hiking Scarf is far more impressive than the Basketweave Scarf, but that is just my impression. I have not really knit a lot of scarves before, and now I know why - they are as boring as boring can be. I would possibly make the the Irish Hiking Scarf again, but not the Basketweave. It was just too boring, and I had to rip it out too many times because the boredom lulled me into making mistakes. As mentioned above, it wasn't hard, just tedious because of the 18 row pattern repeat, and BORING!
I am happy to mail these scarves off to the friends to whom they will soon belong; wear them in good health, Mike and Kathy!