Yowza and one thing leading to another

I’ve only rarely knit with Miss Babs. It always seemed like a lot of buck for the bang. But this set of 100% merino DK weight Yowza really captured me. And so did Boxes and Towers by Kirsten Kapur.

I am basically speechless, OK wordless, about how much I like this wrap.

I can’t get enough of looking at it and petting it.

I made very few modifications to the pattern. It calls for the knitter to cut the yarn and reattach the next color on each piece of the towers and boxes. Speaking of “yowza,” why would I do that and be left with all those ends to weave in? I didn’t cut the yarn except where new colors were needed in a new section. I carried the unused yarn up the side of the piece. It worked fine, including when I needed to pick up stitches along the side where the yarns twisted. When picking up stitches, I made sure to catch the float between the stitches, not merely the yarn being twisted along the edge. I was also careful to twist the yarn the same way each time, bringing the yarn I was using under the yarn I wasn’t using. I don’t know how necessary that was in this piece but I’m obsessive about such things. And I kept it loose and didn’t tighten up the yarn being carried.

The only other modification I made to the pattern was to increase the width of the edging a bit. I purled one round, knit one round, purled one round, and then worked the Icelandic bind-off–instead of picking up the stitches and immediately binding off. I did a yarn over at each side of the corner stitch on each of the three edge rounds.

Here’s another look at Boxes and Towers.

Yowza was wonderful to work with. No knots. No globby sections. The dye creates some heathering in the colorways, but there were no white blotches of undyed yarn. I’d use it again in a heartbeat. I liked working with it so much that I was determined to knit up every yard of it I could. Boxes and Towers required me to purchase six skeins of 200 yards each. The wrap used up about 800 yards. I needed to put that last 400 yards or so to good use. I had 28 grams left of Oakmoss (the green), Haydrick (the gold), Earthenware (the light burnt orange), and Slot Canyon (the light rosy shade). I had 20 grams left of Polished Stone (the gray), and 32 left of Sealpoint (the beige)–so, a total of 164 grams, about 400 yards.

I am really liking how my leftovers turned out.

Both the hat and the cowl are tincanknits knits from their “Mad Colours” book. The patterns are also downloadable on Ravelry. I just wanted to mention the book because I love to spell colors the wrong way, just like the Canadians and Brits. Just kidding. Live and let spell. The cowl is Undertone and the hat is the triangle version of their Prism hat.

I bet you spotted my little cheat–that spicey orange in the ribbing and alternating rows of the cowl. Yep, that’s not Yowza. It’s another oddment from my stash. It’s String Theory merino DK in the Rose Madder colorway. It really anchored the pieces, I think. It also left me enough Yowza to make an extravagant pompom.

Here’s another angle on the pompom, since knitters know that we knit in an era when you can work up some pretty elaborate hats and the first thing people say is…all together now…”I love the pompom.” Here’s another look at the pompom. It is a pretty good one.

Here’s a closer look at Undertone. It’s a quick, fun knit, with lots of potential for interesting color play.

Lots ‘o cowls

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This skein of Knit Collage “Pixie Dust” was a Christmas gift. I love the colors but have no experience knitting with this type of yarn. Thirty-five yards, 97 percent wool, 2 percent mohair, and I’m thinking that sparkle is the 1 percent “other.” So, clearly this needed to be something very simple to just let those yarn blobs pixie away.

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I very much like to wear close-fitting cowls. They are the no-nonsense coziest. So, all I did was cast on 28 stitches on size 19 needles, in the round. Yep, I own a pair of size 19 circulars with fairly short cables. No one will mistake this for “off the rack!” I like the pebble look of this.

The consistent theme for my recently knit cowls has been close-fitting. This is the Augustine Cowl, a free Classic Elite pattern by Susan Mills.

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Here’s a better view that shows the construction more clearly, despite my use of this difficult-to-photograph black shade of Berroco Flicker.

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Laying flat, my Augustine Cowl somewhat resembles a lampshade. But it’s actually a nice-fitting, well-behaved cowl. The slight bit of easy open work at the top folds back gracefully at the neck. The flared-out bottom fits nicely over the shoulders. Flicker is a chainette yarn, in 87% baby alpaca, 8% acrylic, with the remaining being the sparkly bits.  It is unbelievably soft, with absolutely no scratchiness from the tinsel-like filaments.

The next two cowls are both knit in Dream in Color Classy with Cashmere, a 20% cashmere, 70% merino, 10% nylon concoction. It’s a very soft worsted weight. I liked everything about working with it, except that this Amethyst Ink colorway inked my hands and everything in the vicinity of the work (including rubbery stitch markers) a deep purple. Ick. A Eucalan soak seems to have solved the problem.

This is Purl Soho’s Structured Alpaca Cowl. It is a super-easy free pattern. My only modification was to work eight rather than nine repeats of the pattern. I wasn’t sure I had enough yarn left for the 9th repeat and it seemed to me to be tall enough with eight.

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Again, the construction isn’t evident, but check out the Purl Soho link for a look at it in a light-colored yarn. The tab in front is one-by-one rib, knit through the back loop. You cast on stitches to continue working in the round. The front section is stockinette with some interesting decreases at each edge. And the back section continues the same ribbing as worked in the tab. This one is going to be great for chilly mornings in the kayak.

Here’s the same Dream in Color, knit in an easy meandering cable. It’s Angela Hahn’s Serpentine Cowl. The pattern is included in the Craft Tree Collection, “Easy Knitted Accessories,” and was also published in Interweave Knits 2011 Accessories magazine. Again, what I most like is the way the cowl hugs the neck and lays nicely on the shoulders.

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More than 1500 Ravelers and many members of my Black Sheep Knitting Guild, have knit Kirsten Kapur’s Chickadee. It’s an easy linen stitch cowl. The pattern’s available free on Ravelry. Mine is knit in Mirasol Maylla, a next-to-the-skin soft yarn of 45% alpaca, 40% wool, 15% bamboo.

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False Creek is an interesting quick-knit, worked up here in Cascade Lana Grande on Size 15 needles. The design is by tincanknits’ Emily Wessel and is available as a single pattern or as part of the Pacific Knits ebook.

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There’s a lot of “give” in those size 15 stitches. In a pinch, this cowl can do double duty as a head-hugger.

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If you’re wondering, those are JUL Designs “pedestal” leather buttons. They screw in place with that center brad.

This next cowl is a return to the close-fitting style: tincanknits’ Alexa Ludeman’s Lions Gate. Like False Creek, the pattern can be purchased individually or as part of the Pacific Knits collection.

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I knit the 96-stitch version, shown here in Cascade Yarns’ Alpaca Lana D’Oro.

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