Fingering weight cowls

This is Stella Ackroyd’s Seascale. I knit mine in the yarn the pattern calls for: Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. Peerie comes in 45 shades. I chose “Aurora,” which is basically teal. This 100% merino yarn is from Utah and Nevada sheep. And it’s spun and dyed in Maine. Pricey? Yep. But I only needed 1.4 skeins of the 50-gram skeins–295 yards. The yarn is wonderful and I very much like the pattern.

You probably have a version of this “Wearwithall” pattern that gives wrong directions for the seed stitch border. I’ve been in touch with the designer. She initially wrote correct though somewhat idiosyncratic directions for the borders. As the pattern photo clearly shows, and as the pattern stitch is labeled, it’s supposed to be seed stitch. But if you follow the directions you’ll be knitting one-by-one ribbing. It would only be a newbie knitter who’d go awry, but still the error is unfortunate. My pattern is a paper copy, not digital. Hopefully the error will be corrected soon in the digital copies. After the original round of each border section,  you’ll be knitting the purls and purling the knits for the remainder of the border and all will be well. This works:  Round 1, K1, P1, ending on a K1. Round 2, P1, K1, across the round. Repeat rounds 1 and 2 for a total of 10 rounds.

I’m not an expert at lace and it took me a few pattern repeats to be able to confidently read my knitting in the lace section. But a bit of concentration was so worth the effort.

Until fairly recently, I’ve not been much of a fan of fingering weight cowls. For me, cowls are about warmth and I thought DK or worsted would be best. This next cowl, Martina Behm’s Wolkig, is probably what first convinced me to consider revising my view.  Wolkig has more than 2000 Ravelry projects posted since it was released by Knitty in the fall of 2017. Ahem…this is my 6th Wolkig.

And it’s the first one I’ve not gifted!  Mine is knit in Hedgehog Fibers Sock. The colorway is “butter.” I am so pleased with it that I’ve been wearing it around the house this spring, and outside. It’s lightweight enough that I don’t look silly wearing it even though it’s finally (but just barely) not cold anymore.

Here’s a closer look:

Soon after knitting my yellow one, I needed some mindless knitting and decided to cast on for another. OK, whoever wears this is going to be making a bit of statement. But I still like it:

This one is knit in Baah Yarn’s LaJolla in the Blueberry Lemonade colorway.

I’m setting my LaJolla version aside to possibly include as an upcoming charity auction item. Or it may make it’s way into my holiday “pick your knit” gift baskets. Maybe you’ll want to check out some of my earlier versions?

 

The knitting community owes Behm a big “thank you” for this great free pattern. In fact, I may go to Ravelry right now and put the pattern in my queue again so I don’t forget about it.

Every little bit counts

My 2019 resolution was to try hard to knit all usable quantities of a colorway before I proceed to a new yarn for a new project. Kind of “finish your peas before you eat dessert” thing. Well, except that Schoppel-Woole Zauberball and Cascade Yarns Superwash Sport are hardly the peas of the yarn world. Apologies, to you pea lovers, but peas taste terrible and I bet somewhere deep down you know that too.

So, first I used a smidge of the Daffodil colorway to knit my Annita Wilschut Vera bear a rain hat.

Perfect. That was in the summer of 2014.

My Daffodil languished. Next, in the fall of 2018 I knit Wolkig in my black/gray/white Zauberball.

I broke into the  Daffodil for the cuffs of my adult moc-o-socs.

Such a great pattern by Rebekah Berkompas.

Then, with most of the leftover Zauberball and a dainty amount of the Cascade 220 sport Daffodil, I knit Justyna Losorska’s freebie beanie, Fasolka. I followed her instructions exactly, except that I went my own way on the color combination.

I see this sportweight hat as a great success. It even has an excellent crown, with no hint of the dreaded pointy beanie syndrome.

The Zauberball colorway worked out so excellently, I will be indulgent and give you another view.

What next to knit. I’d been eager to give Cecelia Compochiaro’s “sequence” knitting a try. My first attempt was her Swirl Hat, using her spiral sequence method.

If case you haven’t heard about or tried sequence knitting yet, let me intrigue you. All the patterning on this hat repeats the same 10-stitch sequence. Yep, the diagonal slices, separated by a few rows of stockinette, are several rounds of the same sequence worked over and over again, ignoring the end-of-round marker. The shift in the direction of the slice happens magically (or so it seems to me) by a minor adjustment to the number of stitches in the round that happens in the stockinette section.

There was even enough Zauberball left for a right-sized pompom.

My Cascade 220 superwash sport hadn’t run out yet, so I couldn’t quit on it. This next hat is Susan Villas Lewis’s Vitruvian Man.

The Vitruvian Man, at least the one who isn’t a hat, is DaVinci’s drawing of a man stretched out in a circle, with his arms stuffed into the top of a square and his legs stuffed in the bottom of a circle. You know, this guy:

It’s a fun motif to knit. The entire hat is very cleverly designed.

Check out the great crown.

I have a big gumball sized ball of Zauberball left. And what’s left of my Cascade 220 sport isn’t quite a golf-ball sized ball. Every useful bit is used up.

More for your neck

This pretty is Betangled Cowl by Jennifer Weissman. It’s designed for an Aran weight yarn. But I decided to knit it in Stonehedge Fiber Shepherd’s wool, a worsted. It was mid-December during a dreary stretch of days. I succumbed to the lemon yellow colorway. And that luxurious 24-stitch cable. Yep. 24-stitch. I was finally able to use a gigantic j-hook cable needle that I’ve never used before to hold those 12 stitches.

I obviously knew that I was under gauge. This wool, in these stitches, wasn’t happy until I moved down to a size 8 (and 7) US-sized needle. Since it was going to be lemon yellow come hell or high water, I decided I’d accept a narrower version and just add some pattern repeats. My gauge was 20 stitches to 4 inches (not the 17 the pattern calls for) and 34 rows to 4 inches (not 26).  I knit the medium size and ended up knitting 10 pattern repeats (rather than the 8 that the pattern called for). Mine is 9.5 inches tall and 36.5 inches edge-to-edge.

I like this one. A lot. The pattern is available for purchase here on Ravelry.

I thought I’d sworn off buttoned cowls. Generally, even lightweight buttons add more weight to a cowl than I prefer. And then the cowl sags along the button-band line. But Betangled bewitched me. If I make this again, I believe I’ll do a provisional cast-on, ditch the buttons, and graft the ends together. I’m not sure how I’d manage the ribbing sections though.

This looks and wears much better on my glass head than it does on me. It seems to take more precise wearing skills than I possess. But I’ve been advised “Just put it on and ignore it because it’s beautiful.”

I sewed a button on both sides of the top buttonhole so that when the cowl flips forward, there will be a button.

This is Ann Budd’s Crimson Leaves Cowl. Mine is knit in Sun Valley Farms MCN fingering weight. The yarn is a great mix of 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, and 10% nylon,

This cowl was a lot of work. 252 stitches and size 2 US needles. There are no resting rows in the 4-round, 18-stitch repeat lace pattern. But the pattern is not complicated. To the awake and alert, anyway. I am not a skilled lace knitter and I was able to manage it without lifelines, just using stitch markers to frame the pattern repeats.

I’ve not knit many fingering weight cowls. Glass head is able to keep it from flopping over at the neck and showing its reverse side. I’m not so successful with that because, well, because I move. Despite it’s floppiness I like this cowl and have already gotten a good deal of wear out of it.

I used Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind-off, as the pattern suggests. It’s very elastic, which assures that the bind-off won’t bind. And it does leave the fabric somewhat wavy. But it’s not much of an echo of the waviness of the cast-on edge. Sort of the nature of the beast, I guess. This cowl needed a rather stern wet block to open up the pattern. I wasn’t successful, though, in matching the bind-off edge to the handsome cast-on edge.

This next pattern is Martina Behm’s great freebie, Wolkig. It’s another fingering-weight cowl. But this one-row pattern (that’s not a misprint) is incredibly easy to knit.

Behm explains: “The Wolkig cowl is twisted and has extra volume due to strategically worked decreases and increases, so it can be stretched a little to fit comfortably over your head when putting it on. Stretched in the other direction (lengthwise), it will fit snugly around your neck without leaving any gaps where the cold wind might sneak in.” Here’s a look at it off-neck.

Wolkig, which means “cloud” in German, is even interesting on its non-public side, as this next photo shows. That’s especially true worked in a variegated yarn like my Zauberball by Schoppel-Wolle. Zauberball is a sportweight, though maybe a lightweight sportweight. It still worked out well.

This is my fourth Wolkig. You might want to check out the rest. I measure the success of this pattern partly by the fact that every Wolkig I’ve knit is sprucing up somebody else’s neck. My knitworthy folks like this pattern a lot. I really should knit one for me.

Wolkig Trio

Sometimes designs just grab hold and I want to knit something in multiples to see how they’ll work up. Wolkig (cloudy in German) is Martina Behm’s free one-line pattern and it had that effect for me. No joke. One line.

First I knit this one, in Dream in Color Jilly:Oops. That’s Wolkig wrong-side out. Here it is right-side out:

That’s part of the charm of this fingering weight cowl.

I decided to stop mine short of the 21 inches Behm suggests. Mine is about15 inches and is soft enough and scrunchy enough that it doesn’t look like some kind of Queen Victoria wooly neck-brace.

This next one is also about 15 inches tall, knit in Thede, one of Rhichard Devrieze’s fingering weight speckled yarns. It’s 80 percent merino, 20% nylon, and would typically be used for socks. But I like the way it turned out in Wolkig.

My Thede Wolkig bunches more easily than the Jilly one.

I kind of just couldn’t stop at two. Here’s Wolkig in Mirasol’s Khusku. Khuska is an interesting combination of 40% bamboo, 40% wool, 20% nylon. Right side out:

Wrong side out:

Glass Head declares it very soft. She wonders why I’ve never knit anything in bamboo before. Who knew it would feel so excellently soft?

Imagine Knit

Sometimes yarn surprises. At least I think so. The pattern I knit this up in is Michele, by Sarah Punderson. Free on Ravelry. Looking at the pattern photos, you see a dignified, low key, beautiful DK weight slouchy hat.

A guildmate of mine mentioned that when she saw my yarn choice for our knit-a-long, she thought I must have screws loose. Well, no. She was actually very polite about it and said something like that she’d plan to watch with interest. And, no doubt, much skepticism.

But this is one great hat. Really. It is. I’m tooting my own horn, I know, but this hat makes such a lively statement that its wearer and everyone around will put on their happy face. And how can you not love that bulls-eye crown decrease?

I know. Not everyone’s cup of tea. Our yarns start out life in our stashes like this.

And then they turn into this.

This Mountain Colors Twizzle in the Mardi Gras colorway turned into a great Rikke Hat. Rikke, designed by Sarah Young, has been knit and posted on Ravelry about 9500 times since it debuted in 2010. These yarns will pool, but tamed by the garter stitch, they work out really well. I especially like how the brim pooled differently from the body of the hat.

Sometimes you start out thinking that your wonderful skein of fingering weight Jilly, by Dream in Color, will turn out to be a shawl. And it would have made a really nice one.

But, instead, you find Martina Behm’s great one-line free pattern, Wolkig, and then your Jilly turns into something else entirely. A little silly rather than classy. Behm’s sample is a lovely pale gray. Really beautiful. But I like my version. Glass heads thinks it’s the cat’s meow.

Here’s a closer look. This pattern is worth downloading just for the fun of figuring out how the heck one round, repeated over and over, turns out like this.

I even like my Wolkig, flipped inside out.

Wolkig. It means “cloudy” in German. That is a perfect name for Behm’s gray version. Mine? I might call it something more like “cloudy with a chance of meatballs.”