While in Vancouver, I knit two cowls in shades of rust and burgundy. The first was a gift for my sister-in-law Vivian. I don’t have any photos of Viv wearing it because the light fades very quickly this time of year. So you will have to make do with a few hastily taken photos of me (taken before my morning coffee no less).
While this photo does not do much for me, it does a good job of showing the lovely rich colour of this Cocoon wool. The pattern is the Infinitude Scarf, designed by Jeni Chase and available for free on Ravelry. I cast on 170 stitches on a US 10.5 needle and I used all of two skeins of wool. It didn’t look nearly so nice before blocking; the blocking transformed the wool into a very light, breathable and warm fabric.
Emma’s friend Indi has spent part of the holidays with us and I knit her a cowl as well. Indi’s cowl presented some difficulties. Indi is vegan and doesn’t wear animal fibres. Emma and I spent quite some time searching for a suitable yarn. Unfortunately, we searched online, which means the tactile portion of the yarn buying experience was missing. I must admit here to being a bit of a yarn snob; I don’t want to use manmade fibres. It’s likely that there are some very soft acrylic yarns out there that would make wonderfully cozy, vegan-approved cowls, but I only looked at the cotton and linen options. The yarn that we settled on is really very lovely and has a great sheen to it, but let’s face it – it just doesn’t feel like wool. But as Emma kept reminding me: “That’s sort of the point, Mom!”
This is a Danish yarn called Allino, made by BC Garn. It is a 50/50 cotton and linen blend. I really like the colours; you can see that the linen and cotton take to the dye differently, thus producing this interesting marled effect in the yarn. (Neither of these photos shows the colour very well but my light is limited this time of year.) I knit the cowl using the yarn held double on US 9 needles. I started by casting on 200 stitches and knitting in 4×4 rib. My intention was to knit the whole cowl in rib, but about half way through Emma said “Mom, this is pretty boring.” She also said “You can buy a boring cowl in any store. The reason to knit a cowl is to avoid buying the boring cowls from the stores and have something beautiful and interesting to wear.” So, I put in some cabling in what I thought was an interesting way, and then went back to the 4×4 ribbing. The cabled portion is placed assymetrically into the ribs, which I find pleasing.
I put in the cabling without once thinking about the fact that it would pull in the fabric; I must have been having a bit of a mind meltdown over Christmas. This means that the cowl is considerably shorter and tighter than it should be. (I cannot double it over my head.) Indi is quite small so I was aiming for a short cowl to begin with, and then inadvertantly made it even shorter. The moral: think before you cable.
I do think that this cowl is pretty and has an interesting structure. The linen makes it quite stiff, which gives it a sort of architectural feel. The colour is wonderful and looks great on Indi. (I will post a modelled shot tomorrow.) In retrospect, however, I should have shopped around more for a good vegan cowl option. This yarn would be great in many things but I think a cowl should be soft before all else. Next time I will go for a cotton yarn and bypass linen all together.
In addition to these pretty gifts, I also gave a knitted cowl to my lovely neice, Lydia. I don’t have a photo of Lydia in it, but here is one of me modelling it:
I made this last month and posted about it here. I made this one especially thick and warm as Lydia lives in cold and snowy Ontario.
Emma also received a little knitted cheer in her stocking: the pair of Noro mitts that I posted about here. If I am able, I will post a modelled shot tomorrow because everything looks better when Emma wears it.
For regular readers of this blog, let me say that I have steeked, it went well and will be reported in due time. Tomorrow I will post up my end-of-the-knitting-year review.