Saturday, November 24, 2018

Thread the Needle Cowl

The week the Blooming Brioche KAL was supposed to start, the designer's computer broke down and she was unable to release the pattern. To help us cope, she gave us a coupon code that could be used for a free pattern for one of her other designs.

As I was giving a little look through her patterns, one really caught my eye and I went for it. It was another cowl (I have been knitting a lot of them lately!) but I loved the design and it would be perfect to use up this ball of blue yarn I bought on our trip to Banff, Alberta (in 2013). I had only recently raveled the first project I knit with it because the yarn wasn't good for that pattern. I was itching to knit it up again.

I paired it with some Malabrigo lace I had in my stash, doubling the Malabrigo to make it a similar thickness.

The hardest part was the cast on. Oh my word, 369 stitches.
But I got it done, putting a marker every 20 stitches so I never had to count higher than that!

The cowl was shaped with short rows so at least every row I did was a little shorter than the last.
Because my left hand/wrist/arm was getting sore, I knit this cowl with many different methods to minimize repetitive movements. (Or at least too long with one movement.) The garter border was done with both continental (picking) and English (throwing). My tension isn't exactly the same, but close enough. (And I think getting closer the more I use them both.)

On the stockingnette part, I did the knit rows either continental or English, but the purl rows, I did either by purling (English) or by knitting from the front side, working left to right. (That I do "continental" by holding the yarn in my right hand.) Some people call this left-handed knitting but but I don't think that's right. Since you use both hands to knit either from left to right or right to left, there's no real "right-handed" or "left-handed" knitting. Using all these different methods also kept it interesting.

When the body of the cowl was done, you finish the neck hole and then "sew" the seam with knitting.
It was very clever and gives a very nice result.

I wasn't sure how to block the cowl since it wasn't flat, but ended up folding it in half:
I folded it wrong side out since the seam (the diagonal yellow line on the top right) naturally wanted to fold the other way. Blocking it "against" the fold resulted in a flat finish.

Besides the eye-catching design and the pop of lime I used, I really like that the cowl can be worn in multiple ways.

1. With the end slipped through the hole:
2. Double wrapped and the end slipped through the hole:
3. As a hood. (Pretty ridiculous here, but probably not quite as ridiculous with a long coat over it.)
And let's face it, if I'm cold enough to wear it this way, I am way past worrying about looking ridiculous.

4. Long and loose over the head (again, probably a better look under a long coat):
5. And the one that really caught my eye - as a vest:

I really like asymmetrical looks. And you may notice, I already had a belt and necklace to match!
The belt is from years and years ago (I covered an existing D-ring belt with a tie) and the necklace is from my last Squam retreat (2017). Apparently I have liked this colour combo for a while.

I really enjoyed the knit. The blue yarn is soft and fluffy and was great to work with. The pattern was always changing but in a recognizable repeating way so everything made sense as you went along. (Ok, it took me a minute to work out what she meant in the transition from the neck hole to the seam, but I got it. Figuring out something new and unexpected is also enjoyable!)

Project Stats
: 27 Oct '18; Finished: 2 Nov '18
Pattern: Thread the Needle by Xandy Peters
Materials: New Juniper Yarns (aka TwoJ) Merino Pure (colour Spruce Grove), 90 grams, $25; and Malabrigo Yarn Lace (colour Frank Ochre 35), 10 grams (held double), $5.50 but leftover from another project

Small note for anyone who wants to make this cowl (and I recommend you do):
I found the ending of Clue 2 confusing as to how to be prepared for Clue 3. I think the last row would be better stated as:
Row 34: K2, PM, KTNM, RM, K1, [P1 TBL, K1] rep to M, RM, KTNM, SM, K4, Break Yarn.
(Changes are in bold type.)

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