This is Allison Goldthorpe’s Ziyal, a free cowl pattern available on Ravelry. I knit mine in one of my all-time least favorite yarns to work with, Berroco Lustra. I had enough left over from my Walkover Wrap to complete this cowl. Giving Lustra the bit of credit it deserves, if you get through your knitting and soak it in a wool wash afterward, the garment ends up with a great comfy feel and good drape.
Ziyal uses what Goldthorpe calls a smocking stitch. The stitch is very easy to work and Goldthorpe’s blog has an excellent photo tutorial to help guide knitters. I know it as bowtie stitch. The pattern staggers the smocking by moving the end-of-round marker 4 stitches after each set of rounds that make up the pattern repeat. Clever.
If you have any difficulty with the smocking stitch, I prepared this video “how to” that should help.
Ziyal is the Black Sheep Knitting Guild‘s selection for our July Knit-a-long. It’s a quick, fun knit. Just the thing, if you’re me, for knitting when the weather gets hot and muggy. Just knitting something for next winter cools me off.
This next cowl is Stephen West’s great Windschief pattern, knit as a cowl instead of a hat. I am a big fan of close-fitting cowls.
Here’s a better look at the spiffy construction.
That swath of twisted rib puts just enough zip into an otherwise very simple pattern. This Windschief is knit in Berroco Worsted Weight Ultra Alpaca, a wonderful yarn in zillions of solid and heathered colorways.
This will be just the ticket for chilly mornings paddling to Ghost Bay come fall.
This is Walkover Wrap, designed by talented Canadian designer, Ash Kearns. Her patterns are available on her website and on Ravelry. This wrap is a very simple knit, for sure. Basically, you knit a rectangle with a buttonhole.
It has a bit of the unexpected going on with that buttonhole, though. One buttonhole, three buttons. That’s definitely a new one for me. I actually didn’t realize it when I purchased the pattern. It’s knitter’s choice about whether you wear the wrap asymmetrically or evenly. I find the look I’m enjoying most is asymmetrical, as here.
The wrap is knit in the yarn the pattern called for: Berroco’s Lustra, a 50% wool, 50% tencel concoction. I’d tried to work Lustra up in a few other patterns and it proved very ill-behaved and I gave up. So I searched for a pattern that called for the yarn and that’s what let me to Walkover Wrap.
The good points of Lustra are that it has a wonderful shimmer and it’s warm but quite lightweight. The colorways are varied and beautiful. I used Seine (3181), a great blue with deeper blue-black highlights.
The bad points of Lustra are that it is nasty splitty yarn that occasionally snaps for no apparent reason. The final gift to me was that it snapped while I was binding off very very gently. Lustra has a mind of its own and also kinks up after you work with it. Kearns suggests a 15 minute bath in wool wash, and it needed every minute of that to relax.
But, if you can get through the hassle of working with Lustra, the finished garment feels great and looks great too. And Kearns’s pattern is wonderful–you could always use a different worsted weight.