05 January, 2012

knitted cowls

[There are some really not great photos coming up- apologies.]

Remember when I went to Soho for the day before our friends got married at city hall?  Well, when I was in Purl Soho, I splurged and bought myself two skeins of gorgeous kitten soft baby alapaca yarn in this beautiful teal colour called summer sky heather (teal is my new fav colour).  Walking around SOHO, it became very obvious to me that I needed a cool and funky cowl.  Now, while I have always loved a good scarf, I do find them difficult to wear- they become unravelled and never totally embrace my neck the way I want.  

A look in a few shops for some inspiration had me GASPING at how much shops charge for a cowl/neck loop or whatever they want to call it.  So I found a free pattern on ravelry which was basically 141 stitches knit in the round in seed stitch (k1, p1 all the way around continuously, but because the stitches don't land on top of each other, it isn't a rib) on 7 mm needles  for 12 - 15 inches or there abouts.  And I have to say that I am super happy with the results (just not the photo).
 Look at the difference in colour there- it's somewhere in between.  The seed stitch makes it stretchy and able to trap air for warmth, the alpaca makes it nice and drapey.  And all for around $27- it was my Christmas present to myself (and took less than a few days to knit).

 And seriously, I have been wearing it almost continually since I finished it.  In fact, it could do with a wash- it has absorbed perfume smells and bonfire smells.

But wait...

While I was up in VT I dug out an old vest that I (ahem) designed and knit way back in 2006

This is actually a photo of it before I added another couple of inches to the band at the bottom.  And while it was a good learning experience for me to do the designing bit, and I love the wool that I spun for it, I never really wore it that much and I'm not as big now as I was back then.  So I spent a few days pulling it apart.  And I wanted to do something with that super soft and warm alpaca (the white bit in the middle).  I also wanted to play around with some stitch design for another cowl- something that would have lots of texture, but be soft, so that it would create more air pockets.

So, without even rewashing that yarn to get rid of all those wiggly bits when you pull something apart (I LOVE the look of those), and doubling the super soft white with the little more rough, coloured, wool, I dove in.

I wanted a pattern that would be fully reversible as you see both sides as you twist these things around.  I also wanted something close to a waffle weave to trap air (air that warms up from body heat = extra warm).  It also needed to be stretchy, but to have the give that a ribbing does.

This time I knit on  big 10mm  circular needles ( with the two strands held together. I created this pattern of a 4 stitch repeat that alternated every row.  As I was knitting in the round, this meant I had to place a stitch marker, so I could remember where I had to change rows. [The k is knit, the p is purl].
I cast on 140 stitches, and the result was a super long cowl, but long enough to be able to wrap around 3 times comfortably.
And while it isn't as "Waffly" as I'd like, a combination of the wool that I used and the stitch make it really springy and warm.  
Of course, it will need to be blocked as some point (when I can spare the warmth that it provides to my neck- maybe April!).  And I do love the variations in colours (unfortunately these photos wash them out)

 But I still wanted to try and create the stitch I had envisioned.  I still had some of the white handspun (I'm pretty sure that I spun this BEFORE I had my spinning wheel- ie on a spindle) and another nice teal wool in my stash; a nice soft bulky roving [Seems teal has been my new fav colour for a while], and I just knit with them together.

So this was the pattern I came up with this time around.  Once again, a 4 stitch repeat (although this time I went for 96 stitches on the 10mm needles), but over a 6 row repeat. (I coloured in the Ks and Ps just to make them easier to see).  This required a little more concentration to make sure that I changed rows as I went around the circular needles, but the stitch marker made it easy enough to keep track of.

 The result was exactly the reversible, textured look that I was going for. [Although once again the photos are really bad]
 And warm- yes, nice and toasty.  As I said in my previous post, I slept in the long one wrapped around my neck 3 times last night, and it was soft and divinely warm.
 So now, I have a cowl for every occasion- and I didn't spend $100 on each!

What about you?  Do you wear scarves in winter?  Do you like the idea of a nice big soft puffy cowl around your neck?  Do you think you'd wear one at all?

1 comment:

  1. I love all your cowls, especially the last pattern, as far as I can see from the photos. And I do remember the vest!! Will ring you tomorrow as I have to dash to work now. Good luck with the treatment, mum xxx


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