As a knitter it is very important to take care of your equipment. And what piece of equipment could be more important than your hands? As someone who has a history of hand and wrist problems, including repetitive stress injuries, I am always trying to be cognizant of maintaining good practices for hand health. I think that it is better for your hands to be alternating between different kinds of knitting, and in particular between different weights of yarn and needles. In that vein, I decided to cast on something using a thick yarn.
I tend to prefer knitting with lighter weights, but I had bought this yarn last fall with the intention of making a quick Christmas gift, and then never got around to it. It is incredibly soft and is in a very vibrant and saturated purple. I love how the chunky yarn in a heavily cabled fabric makes such great texture – it results in beautiful hills and valleys bursting with light and shadow.
The yarn is Whitfell Chunky by Eden Cottage Yarns, a 100% baby alpaca in the colourway Damson. The pattern is the Umbra cowl designed by Louise Zass-Bangham. I tried this cowl on at a wool fair last year, made with this yarn, and it was wonderfully cozy; I bought some on the spot.
Do you know the other advantage of knitting with chunky yarn? It takes no time to finish something!
This cowl took a few short evenings of knitting. The pattern is intuitive and doesn’t require much attention. It is good TV knitting, or carrying-on-a-conversation knitting. The only difficult part was grafting it together. Here I will let you in on a secret: I suck at Kitchener stitch! Really, this is on my list of knitting techniques that need major work. I inevitably end up with more stitches on one needle that the other. (Many more than the one stitch you would expect.) If I stop concentrating for even a second, something goes wrong. Here you can see how lousy I am at Kitchener; look at this terrible join:
Oh my! Quelle horreur! Am I going to let my knitting perfectionism take control and force me to rip it out and re-graft, and then re-rip it out and re-re-graft, and then re-re-re-rip it out, etc. etc? No, I’m not. It’s staying this way! A New Kelly is evolving!
Having had a week in the thick of it (knitting-wise and otherwise in fact), I will return to my colourwork fingering-weight jacket with happier hands. I hope you are safe and dry this weekend.
The cowl is beautiful. And that’s why I love knitting with chunky yarn and big needles- goes fast.
Thanks, Jossie. It does go fast, but it also has a higher cost per hour of knitting (cost of yarn divided by number of hours). I know I am a nerd, but I do think about these things.
Never thought about it in those terms- cost per hour of knitting. very true.
Around a year ago I was inspired by your striped gramps to knit one for my new grandson. I found your blog and read back. I have so enjoyed my year of your posts and have heeded your warnings about hand injury and have more than one project with different styles of stitch on the go. Not thought about yarn weight. Inspired thank you for all the sharing and inspiration.
Jill, thank you so much for leaving this lovely comment. I am glad that you are enjoying the blog. Gramps is a lovely pattern, isn’t it? I bet your grandson looked fabulous in it!
Beautiful cowl and beautiful colour! I knit a similar cowl for my (now) daughter-in-law: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wolcott-2. The cables go up instead of around the neck – no grafting – well, that’s not exactly true – I did a tubular bind off (Interweave). Always something to learn!
What a nice pattern, Kim! I have yet to do a tubular bind-off so you are ahead of me. As you say, there is always more to learn.
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My only and favorite way to Kitchener. http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/05/easier-way-to-kitchener-stitch-also.html