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January 21, 2005

Holidays (Extended Play Version)

File under sad, but true: it's late January and I'm still winding up my Holiday Knitting.

cowl02.jpg cowl03.jpg

This was a special order item. Jason's mom has a bright red neck warmer/cowl that she absolutely loves. She asked me to replicate it in a more subdued color, and I jumped at the chance. Before I jump into my normal project description, however, let me say a few words about my knitting instincts. They are not what you would call "good". In fact, they are usually dead W-R-O-N-G. For a reason that I cannot explain, I was blessed with good instincts for the duration of this project. Such a rare series of good decisions is worthy of enummeration!

Good Instinct #1
I used Peruvian Collection Highland Wool in Oxford Gray Heather. In the interest of warmth, I initially cast on enough stitches to double-knit the cowl. I made it about four inches before I realized that it just wasn't going to work. The double knitting made the tube very stiff, and Jason's mom is all about the drape. (The Good Instinct here is that I only knit about four inches before I realized it wasn't working.)

Good Instincts #2 and #3
I ripped it back and started again (#2). To avoid a roll at the bottom, I cast on with size 11s and did several rows of K1P1 ribbing (#3) before switching to the size 7s I used for the rest of the cowl.

Not only did the loose ribbing keep rolling to a minimum at the bottom, it also matches the ribbing at the top. The top ribbing is modeled exactly on Jason's mom's current cowl. In fact, she told me that her favorite thing about it is that it stays up when she pulls it "up to my glasses" to keep her face warm in the cold. In order to insure this effect, I went down a needle size for the last inch of the top ribbing. Bad call - when I bound off and went to try it on, the opening at the top was too small. (IF we were keeping track, this would be Bad Instinct #2; #1 would have been to try to double knit it.)

Good Instinct #4
I ripped back an inch, and stayed with the no. 7s up to the last row. Then I did something radical: I switched up a needle size and did the tubular cast-off. Montse Stanley, who was gifted to me for Christmas, held my hand as I finished it off.

If anybody's interested in the pattern for this, leave a comment and I'll type it up for you. It's a pretty fast knit and in the brief period that I had it on for picture taking purposes ("Quick, take the picture before the hives kick in!"), I found it to be very warm.

Oh, and one more thing... any ideas about what I can do with several unused balls of this yarn?

(ETA: I've added the pattern in the "more" section!)


Yarn and needles: Whatever strikes your fancy, so long as you get gauge. (The needles must be circular, 20" or shorter)
Gauge: 4 stitches to the inch (16 sts = 4")

CO 112 stitches onto needles several sizes larger than the needles you'll use for the body. Place marker and join
Rows 1-6: K1, P1, repeat to end. (Ribbed section should be 1.5 inches)
Row 7: Switch to smaller sized needles. K 56, pm, K to end.

Continue knitting all stitches. When stockinette stitch section measures 1.5 inches, knit the following decrease row: K1, K2tog, K to 3 stitches before first marker, SSK, K1, slide marker, K1, K2tog, K to 3 stitches before second marker, SSK, K1.

Continue stockinette section, doing a decrease row every 1.5 inches, until piece measures 15 inches and there are 80 stitches. (You will probably have to knit about 1.5 inches even after the last decrease row in order to reach the 15 inch length.)

Next Row: K1 P1, repeat to end.
Repeat this row until the ribbed section measures 6.75 inches (or desired length).
Bind off using tubular bind-off method, or your preferred elastic bind-off.

Posted by shannon at January 21, 2005 4:00 PM | For related posts: Christmas Knitting 2004, For Shirley, Mother-in-Law Cowl


That neck warmer is absolutely gorgeous! I would love to see a pattern for it. I think my mother in law would love it too!

Posted by: Becky at January 21, 2005 5:27 PM

Good instincts with a F(uture)MIL knit. I think those are, indeed, good knitting instincts :-).

Posted by: Colleen at January 21, 2005 10:03 PM

Love the cowl! Wow, it looks perfect. We should talk about that extra yarn. ;0)

Posted by: alison at January 22, 2005 1:30 AM

I'd suggest matching fingerless mitts for Jason's mom...Interweave Knits had a great pattern in last winter's issue.

Posted by: Rose at January 22, 2005 8:51 AM

The cowl turned out really well. I agree, great instincts. I think I would like to make it. How much yarn did you use for it? Just curious.


Posted by: Wanda at February 3, 2005 2:03 PM

Wanda, to be perfectly honest I'm not sure. Maybe 4 balls? I knit and ripped this so many times, I lost track of how many balls I had already used. When you pick your yarn, see if you can find how many skeins you need to make a full sweater with it. My guess is that you would be safe with a third of that number. Sorry I can't be of more help!

Posted by: Shannon at February 4, 2005 10:06 AM