Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Crazy for Cowls

I've moved on from an early flurry of fingerless mitt knitting, now I'm into cowls. I'm generally a late adopter - I only started wearing cowls last spring, and like most things I finally adopt (ipod, kindle), I wonder why I waited so long. They are fabulous!

Last spring I knit a small cowl, loosely based on the Infinitude Scarf, out of fuschia Debbie Bliss Fez. I love the yarn, but not the cowl - I was impatient to finish it quickly, and made it much too small. I could just about get it around my neck twice, barely.

So I've frogged it and plan to start the Welted Cowl pattern from Vogue Knitting Holiday 2010.

© John Brinegar

Same concept, more coverage. I should learn one of these days that it doesn't pay to cut corners.


Completed welted cowl in Fez over Christmas. LOVE it!

I especially like cowls that you can wrap several times around your neck, but there are some very nice small quick cowl patterns out there. Earlier I tried Madelinetosh's Honey Cowl with the Fez, but I felt the yarn was too soft and fluffy, and didn't show off the stitch pattern well. I think this would work better with a single plied yarn (like Madelinetosh tosh merino dk, coincidentally).

© madelinetosh

An even quicker knit I just discovered last week (and promptly knit over the weekend) is Purl Soho's Bandana Cowl. This is a brilliant little pattern that incorporates the best qualities of a cowl and a shawlette - stays in place AND covers the chest area.

I knit mine in the new Debbie Bliss Paloma, which is a super chunky yarn, so I had to modify the pattern slightly. By the time I finished the short rows in the lower triangle portion the cowl was already getting too long, so I only knit 2 rows between the decrease rows, instead of the 3 rows the pattern called for.

The Eggplant Bandito

I love the finished project, and the yarn. I had planned to do it with Rowan Drift in the nomad colourway, which has a purple-black heathered appearance (what this has to do with nomads is anyone's guess). But I realised that would probably create too dense a fabric, so I went with the Paloma instead. Paloma is a luxurious 60% baby alpaca / 40% merino wool blend, plaited in a chain to give bulk without extra weight. It is amazing. I would love to knit a more substantial garment out of it, because it would knit up so light and snuggly. But it is really far too expensive for my budget - I'll have to stick to Rowan Cocoon, which I can just about afford.

There is one last cowl I've been working on for almost a year - the Mohair Bias Loop by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. I'm doing it in a lovely rusty melange Annie Blatt wool/mohair. But I'm knitting it at a glacial pace because it is straight stockinette in mohair, for God's sake!

A thing of ethereal beauty and excrutiating boredom
© Churchmouse Yarns & Teas

Maybe I'll be able to finish it in the New Year, after the Christmas knitting panic is over.


Finished the Mohair Bias Loop in the end - a nice enough
piece, but I can't say it is worth over a year's knitting.