1 Hour Herringbone Cowl

Be forewarned, the 1 Hour Herringbone Cowl takes significantly longer than an hour to knit up. I used this pattern in a 2 hour knitting class and most students had about two inches of fabric after two hours. That being said, that’s still some pretty quick knitting!

 

I used slightly more than one skein of Malabrigo Chunky that I’ve had in my stash since college. Stefanie Japel‘s pattern is very easy to follow. There are just two rows that you alternate to make the herringbone pattern. The chunky yarn paired with the stiff stitch makes a fabric that is very warm and plush.

 

The colorway of this yarn is Violetas, but my skein was much more purple than the ones I have seen on the shelves lately–they seem to have made the color much more blue over the years. The slight variations in this skein look really great in the herringbone pattern.

I stuck this away and used it as a Christmas gift this year. I frequently make projects because I want to knit them, not because I actually need them. Those go in the closet for when I need a last minute gift. These days, so many people are having babies that I should probably throw some baby things into the emergency box. I’ve knit 3 projects on pretty quick deadlines recently. And I’ve got 2 more to plan.

I wanted to knit this to try out the herringbone stitch, but I knew it would be going in the box. I like long cowls that can be doubled up. Maybe someday I’ll double the number of stitches and make myself an extra cozy version.

Bright Orange Honey Cowl

Continuing my breakneck catch up of things left unblogged, I give you… my November 2015 Honey Cowl. It’s made of the tragically-discontinued Cascade Souk.

Honey Cowl

I managed to snag two of the last skeins from my LYS after the discontinuing became official. The yarn is deceptive in that it has a rustic scratchy look to it, but it’s actually very soft to the touch. With the yarn in hand I went looking for a pattern that would work with the bold colors. I settled on this lovely but simple pattern by Antonia Shankland.

Honey Cowl

She has several really great cowl patterns, this being one of the easiest. I also really like Bubble Wrap Cowl and Tempo. This was a perfect brainless project for pulling out on my commute or in a spare minute. After reading the pattern once you never need to look at it again.

Honey Cowl

Orange is one of my all-time favorite colors and you just really don’t see very much good orange yarn at all. What is “good” orange yarn you ask? Basically anything that not hunting blaze colored. For some reason, most companies come up with one very bright orange and nothing in the red or yellow end of the spectrum. This lovely gradient hits all the high points.

I knit every last scrap of my two skeins and I spit-spliced the join between the two skeins so there was no waste. I followed the cast-on directions for the large size, and I do wish I had had a third skein to make my cowl extra-wide. With two skeins, it’s about 7 inches tall. A third skein would have brought it to 10 inches which would be super cozy. As it is, it still keeps my shoulders nice and warm when it’s tucked into my coat.

Calystegia

I spend a lot of time on Ravelry.  Less than I use to, but I still keep it up in the background on my laptop at home and usually check in on the new “hot” patterns several times a week. I frequently find myself wondering about why some patterns become runaway hits and other seemingly equally-wonderful patterns don’t really get off the ground. Calystegia Cowl by Lankakomero is a pattern that doesn’t have a lot of love on Ravelry, despite being pretty wonderful.


This pattern is well written and an extremely fun knit. At $4.50 it’s reasonably priced. I don’t know why thousands haven’t been made. It’s a pattern I would seriously consider knitting again and I almost never re-knit patterns unless I’m making a gift that has been specifically requested.
My mom asked me to knit her a cowl for Christmas 2012. I ran out of time, so she got a box with a lovely skein of Handmaiden Casbah Sock in colorway Saltspray and a promise that a cowl would soon follow. Soon was not exactly accurate, as I boxed up the finished cowl just in time for Christmas 2013.
It’s tall enough to fully cover your neck and just loose enough not to make your feel like you’re being choked. The Casbah is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon so it’s amazingly soft and perfect for having right up next to your face.
On of my favorite aspects of this cowl are the wrapped stitches that form the bottom of each shell. I’d never done anything like these wraps before and I really like the effect it gave this pattern.
I used about 60% of my skein of yarn, so unfortunately I won’t be able to get a second cowl from one skein, but I may have enough left over for some coordinating fingerless mitts. Maybe I can get a jump on Mom’s Christmas 2014 present…
Don’t let the fact that this hasn’t been made many times (according to Ravelry) fool you. This pattern is really wonderful! I don’t know this designer or anything about her and I didn’t get anything for this post, I just really like the pattern.

Quicky

Sometimes, you just want to feel like you’ve accomplished something and finishing a knitting project can be just the thing. At times like that, it’s nice to whip up a quick little project that you can take from start to finish in just a few hours. Marian is just the ticket.


Knit with super bulky yarn and size 19 needles this seed stitch cowl only takes about three hours. I love that it hangs a bit lower for a single-loop cowl. I don’t like having things right up against my neck.
Mine is knit with Malabrigo Rasta in colorway Azul Prfundo. I’ve always wanted to use Rasta for something, but it’s hard to find a use for such a bulky yarn. I don’t know that I would want a hat or traditional scarf out of such fat yarn. Mittens and slippers would be way too unwieldily. Something about this one-loop drapey cowl is just perfect for this nice fat yarn. I think it will be a popular go-to in the winter.

Persephone

Every knitter had those meh projects. Projects you work and work on, and when you finish you look down and just think… eh… not for me. Persephone was that way for me. I taught a class last March about cables and this was the featured project. The original is a scarf, but I got so tired of the cables after about two feet that I turned mine into a a cowl with buttons.


I should have known I was never going to be able to finish a whole scarf in this pattern. 1) I dislike knitting scarves in general because they feel like never-ending swatches. 2) I dislike scarf patters that are not reversible because I am anal and the fact that the “wrong” side shows drives me bonkers. 3) I dislike heavily cabled projects because they make my hands crampy when I knit them. 4) This pattern is not charted, it is only written, and I strongly prefer to  All of these things and problems related to my personal knitting preferences, not problems with the pattern.
 I didn’t write down my modifications, but they were dead easy. Basically I stopped knitting the body after 2 feet or so and then in the final garter stitch portion I threw in a row with 3 evenly spaced button holes, then finished the garter stitch portion. Then I played around with the best placement for the buttons and decided I liked the “folded over” look. I sewed on the buttons and ta-da.
The yarn is Madelinetosh DK (I know, you’re not surprised) in Moorland. It blocks out in cables amazingly! Their plied yarns are not the softest (except for Pashmina) but they have amazing stitch definition and they are plied nice and tight so they wear forever without looking ratty the way that some yarns get after a while. Basically the yarn was fantastic, but I still feel meh about the finished project.

Major Fail

Did you get any awesome yarn-y things for Christmas? I know some of you did because there was a parade of husbands/children/siblings through For Yarn’s Sake in the past few weeks picking up gift cards and fun treats.

I got a very generous gift card to the shop from Ryan (THANK YOU). I will use it to pay for a very large order of Madelinetosh that I had special ordered in a moment of “order it now, figure out how to pay for it later” weakness. The Dana Cowl Pullover will be mine!

My brother is not one for shopping. I discovered long ago that if I want presents from him, I have to buy what I want and invoice him. It works out pretty nice. When he grumbles about the bill I just say “next year you can come with me to the yarn shop and…” and about that time he reaches for his checkbook. This year, from him, I picked myself up a skein of Malabrigo Rasta in Azul Profundo and the new Malabrigo 4 book.

I expressly did so because I wanted to make the Uroboro cowl that Stephen West designed for the collection. Here is what it looks like in the book.


I love the deconstructed look and the giant cables. How glamorous I would look in that cowl I thought to myself. And it only takes one skein of Rasta. How perfect. (Can you hear the “dun dun dun”?)
Untitled
Mistake number 1: I cast on using the crochet cast on. While it’s normally a very serviceable cast on, it totally ruins your project if you use it for this. You see, you dorp you stitches when you get to the end of this to make those long floats and you let them drop all the way through the cast on. Well, stitches can’t drop through a crochet cast on because the crochet chain is locked in place. This means you have an unstreatchy crochet chain ringing the bottom of your cowl. The only solution is to start over. Of course, you don’t realize this until you are completely done with all the knitting.
Mistake number 2: Thinking that because the pattern said it could be done with one skein of yarn, it could be done with one skein of yarn. Two thirds of the people who have made this on Ravelry have commented that they ran out of yarn. I was so excited to get my awesome cowl that I didn’t read the Ravelry comments. I ran out of yarn with 4 rows and the bind off left to do. I decided I could live with it being 4 rows shorter at the top and bound off early. Which is of course when I discovered mistake number 1.
Untitled
Mistake number 3: Not thinking critically about the pattern picture. Look at it. The model is literally holding the cowl up! That’s because with so many dropped stitches it has no structure to hold itself up. When you wear it it collapses in on itself and you can’t see the lovely cables. All you see are the loose strands. It looks like you just wrapped an unknit skein of yarn around your neck.
I love Stephen West, but this design gets one star from me. My goal for the evening is to find a suitable replacement pattern for my lovely new skein of yarn.

Roam

Don’t be fooled. I know I’ve shown you a long list of finished projects recently. This may lull you into believing that I am some sort of super knitter, able to crank out projects at an envious rate. Untrue. I just have a stockpile of old things that have been done for a while but haven’t show up here yet.

Case in point. My Roam Cowl by Jennifer Dassau. I started this baby over a month ago but never got around to mentioning it.

IMG_1020
I’ll be honest, when I first saw this in this year’s KnitScene Accessories I wasn’t that taken with it. Then one of the other teachers at the shop taught a class on the mobius cast on using this as the class project. The class was completely full and everyone loved it. It was so popular, it was offered a second time and I snagged a seat in the class. The mobius cast on is certainly unique. I doubt I could have picked it up from just the drawings in the magazine.
IMG_1023
The mobius cast on results in knitting your cowl from the center out. Half of the cowl shows the front side of the knitting, and half of the cowl shows the back of the knitting. This is why it is very important to chose a lace pattern that looks good from the back as well as the front. In the picture above, the backside is on the right. I think it looks great.
The only thing I really don’t like is that it curls like crazy. There is no way you could get this to lie flat and open, which sort of defeats the purpose of all the lace.
IMG_1025
The designer put a very frustrating note in the pattern regarding the required yardage. She basically said that the sample was knit with 400 yards but it was close, so you might need more yarn. This is frustrating since the yarn she recommended comes in 400 yard skeins. (She recommended String Theory Caper Sock, one of my favorite sock yarns.)
I read a lot of project notes of people who ran out of yarn in the last few rows, so I decided not to use the String Theory. Instead, I opted for Malabrigo Sock which comes in 440 yard skeins of 100% merino wool. That gorgeous bright pink colorway is called Light of Love.
IMG_1031
I almost always wear long cowls like this looped double around my neck, both for warmth and to give me more range of movement. Doubling it up tends to obscure the lace anyway, so the fact that it curls isn’t really too annoying. Plus, new scarf for the winter. Of course, what I really need are hats and gloves since I have many many scarves and shawls, but such practical considerations mean nothing to my knitterly whims.

Gray Days

We’ve entered the time of terrible picture taking weather here in Portland. It’s been very gray for quite a while now so I have a huge back log of projects that need to get photographed so that I can show them to you.

I know I’ve posted the occasional crappy cell phone or iPad photo, so clearly my standards aren’t THAT high, but I do like to show you what I make in a way that make it look at least a little pretty. Today the best I’ve got are photos from inside the yarn store. For Yarns Sake is extremely well lit, but it still doesn’t compare to natural light.

IMG_0984
Also, this was after a long shift of running around the shop, so I look a little frazzled. Also, look at my awesome blue glasses!
That is the October installment of the Dream in Color Club. The yarn was a fingering weight 80% American Merino Wool and 20% Silk. Not a base that Dream in Color normally carries. The pattern is called Autumn Fern Mobius by Jessica Correa.
IMG_0982
Each month for the Dream in Color Club we do a class featuring the yarn and pattern to help people with any tricky bits and get them started down the right path. I got to teach the October class so I got to knit this lovely sample.
It is a pretty straightforward leaf motif repeated over the length of the cowl. It starts with a provisional cast on, and is knit like a long scarf, then the ends are grafted together to form the mobius.
IMG_0983
The yarn sold out almost immediately, but the pattern will be available by itself in December. Overall, a quite enjoyable knit. There are lots more finished projects at Tami’s to see.

A gift

When My mom came to visit Portland in December, she spent Christmas Eve with me at Yarnia since I had to work.  While we were there she decided that she wanted to make some special yarn to be knit into a cowl/hood for her friend Nancy who will turn 60 this year.  My mom used to be a knitter, but had forsaken the craft for cross stitching years ago (heresy, I know!)  When I asked her if she was going to get back into knitting to complete the gift, she said “oh no, I’d have you knit it.”  Oh. I see.  I’ll knit it.  Great.

This is the yarn my mom created:

IMG_0646

It’s one strand plum-colored alpaca, one strand pink-purple wool/nylon blend, and one strand lavender rayon.  The yarn is very pretty, but I don’t think it went with the pattern my mom picked out very well.

IMG_0932

The pattern is Wavy Feathers Wimple by Caryll McConnell.  It’s written for either a fingering or lace weight yarn, I did the fingering weight version.  The pattern is not charted, which for me is a bummer, but it could be charted pretty easily if you really need to work from a chart.

I don’t think the yarn and pattern go well together because I think the lighter strand of rayon makes the yarn too tweedy to show off the lace pattern.

IMG_0927

It also doesn’t help that there’s really no good way that I can think of to photograph a lacy cowl.  It’s either laying flat so the double thickness obscures the lace or scrunched up around your neck.  If you have suggestions let me know.

IMG_0935

This puppy is now taking it’s chances with the USPS to get to New Mexico where it can meet it’s new owner.  The pattern is easy enough to memorize as the majority of it are plain knit rows.  I would consider making it again, but I do wish it were charted.

Interesting Construction

I love projects that have interesting construction. Things knit on the bias like the Delancey Cardigan; things folded origami-style to get the finished object like the Baby Surprise Jacket; Things knit sideways like the spread spectrum socks… Coming up with a cool new colorwork or cable pattern is awesome, but coming up with a whole new way to make something is particularly amazing to me. That’s why I loved knitting up the Kinetic Cowl over the past week.

Photo on 2010-12-14 at 22.30

The pattern is by Amy Polcyn and it’s in the Winter 2010 Interweave Knits.This has a very fun construction. It’s knit in one 116 inch strip and then the strip is seamed together in a big coil to make the cowl. The strip is only 8 stitches wide (and knit on the bias!), so I found that I could knit about a foot while watching a 1-hour TV show. Knitting this was great for working on at Yarnia because it was easy to pick up and put down as customers needed help.

Photo on 2010-12-14 at 22.31

The yarn is Coos Bay from Yarnia 72% Bamboo/Nylon 28% Wool. The bamboo/nylon has really long color repeats, making it a great choice for this project. My cowl ended up a lot drapier than one pictured because of the bamboo. It makes a nice fall/spring cowl, but it wouldn’t be good for the really cold temps. Also, if you make this pattern, be sure to crochet very very loosely when you do the seams, otherwise you’ll never get it over your head. I thought I was being very loose, but it was still a tight squeeze until I steamed it.

Happy Holidays!