Cowl-a-bunga!

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This year I knit cowls for Emma, Leah and Doug for Christmas.  Today the sun came out in Vancouver and revealed the city in all of its glory.  We went down to Stanley Park to take some photos and enjoy the day.

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Emma’s cowl is designed by Isabell Kraemer, and is called Copenhagen Calling.  It is a really beautiful pattern and produces a big, lush cowl.

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I knit it with two shades of Triskelion Elmet Aran which I bought at Yarnporium, a lovely event organised by the folks at the Yarn in the City blog.  I was entranced by the Triskelion display, which had a veritable rainbow of gorgeous shades.  The yarn for both Emma’s and Leah’s cowls was purchased from their booth.

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Emma’s cowl is in grey and burgundy; the colours are rich and deep.  The yarn is very wooly and sturdy – it has substance and feels good in the hands while knitting.  I was surprised by how well it bloomed in the wash, producing a lovely, lofty, warm fabric.

I purchased one skein of the grey and two of the burgundy; each skein has 160 meters. The pattern calls for 250 meters of the first colour and 330 of the second.  I adjusted the pattern slightly to make up for my lesser yardage.  I cast on with the grey, using US7 needles, and ribbed for 2.5″.  I knit only 2.5 repeats of the slip-stitch pattern (instead of the called for 4 repeats), which brought me to the end of the grey yarn.

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I made a slight change in the pattern, in that just before starting the lace stitch, I decreased 8 stitches evenly around.  Many of the photos I have seen of this cowl have a very stretched-out lace section and I was hoping to avoid this.  I knit the lace on a US6, and then knit the garter rows with a US5 (as per the pattern).  I think the result is perfect.

Unblocked the cowl measured 44″ x 10.5″. I blocked it out quite a bit to open up the lace – it ended up at 50″ x 11″.  I could not be happier with the pattern or the yarn; the combination of the two is fantastic and looks beautiful on Emma.

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For Leah’s cowl I used the pattern Slip-Zag by Lisa Hannes.  I had wanted to make this cowl for a long time and had always envisaged it in green and purple.  The Triskelion display at Yarnporium had the most stunning array of greens and purples; it drew me in immediately.  There were many beautiful yarns on display at this event, but I found myself unable to walk past their booth.

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I used a DK weight for this cowl, which is knit in Triskelion Dyfnaint DK, in the colours Llyr and Cepheus.  I had initially chosen a more grass green shade, but upon discussion with the booth attendant, I went for this teal. These two were made for each other – the incredible jewel colours become even more vibrant when paired together.

I cast on 260 stitches and used a US6 needle.  The pattern is very intuitive and relaxing. I knit this while on holiday in South Africa and found it a very enjoyable knit.  Like the Elmet Aran, the Dyfnaint blocks beautifully.  It is wonderfully soft and warm.  I will definitely be using these yarns again.

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Doug received his cowl a bit early, and I blogged about it here; the linked page includes the free pattern for the design, which I call the Business Class Cowl.  These photos, with the late afternoon sunshine, really bring out the beautiful colour of the cowl.

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It is knit with Woolfolk Tynd in Darkest Bronze; the sun picks up the bronze shade perfectly.

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It was good to end out the year exploring new yarn companies; I had never used either Woolfolk or Triskelion before.  They both make fantastic yarns and I already have projects in mind for each.

We had a beautiful day in Stanley Park.  This was in many ways a very trying year and it was good to end it with the four of us being silly together on a lovely day.

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I normally end the year with a summary of the year’s knitting.  I will definitely do that, but will likely post it a few days into the New Year.  In the meantime, I wish all of you a healthy and happy New Year, with lots of knitting and with a renewed commitment to compassion, human kindness and a just and democratic society.

Happy New Year from me, Kelly, and from my co-conspirators, Doug, Emma and Leah!

Business Class Cowl

 

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© Knitigating Circumstances

I wanted to design a cowl for Doug that could be worn with a business suit.  Doug does a lot of business travel; he needed a cowl which would be very lightweight but warm, which could be easily slipped into a briefcase or bag, and which would look both professional and classy.  This cowl meets all of these requirements and has a subtle texture which looks great on both sides.  Whether you travel business class or economy, you will look classy in this cowl!

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© Knitigating Circumstances

 

Business Class Cowl by Kelly Sloan

Size: 47 x 9 inches, lightly blocked

Yarn: WOOLFOLK TYND, 100% wool, fingering weight, 2 skeins (cowl used approximately 420 yards).   The cowl pictured used the shade 08 Darkest Bronze.

Needles: US 4 (3.5mm) or size to obtain gauge

Gauge:  24 x 40, in pattern, lightly blocked

 

Pattern stitch (knit in the round):

Rounds 1-3:  *k2, p1* repeat to end

Round 4: purl all stitches

 

Cowl:  Cast on 282 stitches and join in the round being careful not to twist stitches.  Place marker at beginning of round.  Begin pattern stitch.  Repeat these four rounds of pattern until desired length, ending with a Round 3.  Cast off in pattern.

 

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© Knitigating Circumstances

Though any fingering weight wool would work, I highly recommend the WOOLFOLK TYND.  It is incredibly soft, and is light and lofty.  It is beautiful to work with and has wonderful drape.

Note: Although gauge is not crucial, the dimensions of the cowl will vary if your gauge differs from that stated.

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© Knitigating Circumstances

Variations on a theme

The Tinder cardigan which I am making for Emma uses what Brooklyn Tweed call a classic waffle stitch.  Here is a photo:

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I have also found this stitch pattern in the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary, Volume 1; here it is called “garter ridge rib” and is stitch pattern #8.   I recently bought some beautiful fingering weight Woolfolk Tynd yarn to make a cowl for Doug.  While working on Tinder, I was also fooling around swatching many different stitch patterns for the cowl.  After 4 or 5 distinct patterns which didn’t do anything for me, I decided to swatch in the garter ridge rib.  Success!

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So now, I am working variations on a theme.  When I get tired of knitting the garter ridge rib back and forth in Brooklyn Tweed’s worsted weight, tweedy Shelter on US8 needles, I switch to knitting it in the round with Woolfolk Tynd’s smooth, oh-so-soft, fine fingering weight wool on US4 needles.  (I had to adopt the pattern to knit in the round -very easily done.)  One of the things that makes this pattern work so well for a cowl, is that the reverse side looks good too:

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This is a rather drive-by post, as I am flying to Johannesburg today.  I am taking both sets of knitting with me, so should hopefully be working my variations on a theme from 40,000 feet!