Orange are the new cowls

This is Taiga Hilliard’s Alana cowl. It’s a very different knit for me. Way more fashion-forward that I’d usually mess with. This is not going to be a warm cowl and I am typically a utilitarian knitter. Oh, I suppose it could take the edge off office air conditioning. But I left the office behind more than 4 years ago. Even though I like this, it’s just not me and I’ll be gifting it to someone. But I haven’t yet figured out who. This was a quick, fun knit.

Another reason why this knit is different for me is that I knit Alana in Anzula Vera, a sport weight fiber mix I’ve never worked with before. It’s 65% silk with the remaining 35% described as “linen/flax.” I’ve never knit with an Anzula yarn that wasn’t a satisfying experience. Vera was deeply discounted. I gave it a try. My reaction to all silks is that it’s a very dry yarn to work with. Borrowing an expression I heard recently from the young plumber who worked on my water softener system, “dry as a popcorn fart.” That’s not a feel my hands like. As I knit I feel as if the yarn’s sucking out all the moisture from my hands. Still, the yarn was uniform, with no knots.

You may be wondering about this stitch pattern. That was a first for me and it’s what drew me to the pattern. I figured it was a dropped stitch pattern, but I had no idea how it was formed. I won’t spill all the beans. It combines an elongated stitch with a dropped stitch. You knit tightly compacted cables all across the rounds of the cowl. Then, on the last round–as you bind off– comes all the magic. With apologies for the color disconnect, that’s when this:

changes into this:

Next up is yet another Wolkig, this time in Sun Valley Fiber, an 80% merino, 10% cashmere goat, 10% nylon fingering weight.  It’s Martina Behm’s freebie pattern, available on Ravelry. I’ve knit it seven times and only have one Wolkig in my personal collection. When it comes to my holiday-pick-your-gift gathering this year, I’ll wager that this orange one won’t last long.

I am always pleased with the organic look that the super-simple Wolkig pattern produces. Check here for other Wolkigs I’ve knit. 

Yellow Tail


This is Yellow Tail, by Taiga Hilliard. She’s Cashmere Junkie on Ravelry. Honestly, what I most like about Yellow Tail is the Caterpillargreen shawl striping yarn. This is fingering weight. Twenty percent is what’s described as “cashmere goat,” with seventy percent merino and ten percent nylon. I had some trouble with dye spill-over in the yellow. That was very disappointing. But Catherine totally made it right with replacement yarn. It’s possible none but the knitter’s eye will notice.

I find some projects fight with me. This was one. It’s a very easy pattern. But it’s written idiosyncratically. I did not rate the pattern highly and Hilliard contacted me and sincerely asked for feedback on the problems I had with it. I offered that feedback and she received it with genuineness and open spirit, which I much appreciated.

You can see that the pattern is easy peasy. If you like the design, don’t be put off by my critique of the way the directions are presented. You’ll be able to figure it out.


Heck, you can practically just look at this thing and figure it out. It is a situation where the yarn makes the pattern. And, by the way, I ran out of yarn with about 40 rows left. It really doesn’t matter. You can almost end this thing anywhere and still have a finished object.


Here’s a look at the yarn still skeined.


This is going to be a lightweight, scarfy shawl. No photos of me wearing it though. It’s been around ninety degrees for days and days and it’s hard to even believe at this point that it will ever be cold again.