This is a project, that I love. I am so happy with how it turned out. Starting with a great yarn, always helps though! The yarn in question is Countess Ablaze Count Cashmerino High Twist in a one of a kind colourway called "Finish The Deal". This yarn couldn't have been more "for me" if the dyer had tried. It has purple, teal, pink, green and it is in my favourite base of merino/cashmere/nylon, that I used in my Striped Shawl, in the Grey Skies Over Manchester colourway.
I snapped up this little beauty as soon as I saw it, and really wanted to cast on with it, straight away. The trouble with variegated yarn is that it can look a little odd when knit up into things. I wanted this yarn to shine and I wanted to wear it next to my skin. So I started looking for the right pattern. I eventually found it in Wandering Wildflower, a cowl pattern by Lara Smoot. This pattern was pretty much designed for this type of yarn and I started knitting it fairly quickly.
I cast on, joined in the round and started knitting. I got this far.
I then realised that I'd twisted the stitches when I joined in the round. Doh!!! I had been so careful too. Ah well, these things happen, and as I enjoyed knitting it so much, I didn't really mind. I ripped back and started again. This time I didn't join in the round until I'd knitted a few rows. I left a longer tail than normal when I cast on and I used it to sew up the gap at the start of the cowl.
You can barely see it. When I knit this again, I think I'll use this same technique. Yes, you read that right, I am absolutely positive I will knit this pattern again. It is perfect for the sock yarn I've got that I've picked up because I love the colours and don't want to wear as socks because it's too beautiful. These skeins don't always work well as shawls, but as this pattern, they are glorious.
As you can see, the pattern uses sections of short row shaping, interspersed with eyelet rows. The short row sections move round so you end up with a fairly straight sided cowl.
When blocking this cowl I decided to try a little experiment. I bought some foam pipe insulation and used a piece at either side of the cowl, where normally a hard fold would be created when blocking something knit in the round.
I used blocking wires along the long edges and pinned the whole thing to my foam blocking boards. I also pinned to the foam tubes.
It worked brilliantly and I'll definitely be using it again, as I knit lots of things in the round. The tubes only cost a few pounds and I bought around 2m worth. I bought it from here, but I imagine it's easy to pick up at a DIY store.
The cowl is beautiful, and has no folds from blocking. It drapes elegantly and I am incredibly pleased with it.
It's a perfect length to wear it as a scarf, so you can show off all your lovely yarn and knitting. When doubled up, which is my favourite way to wear it, you have an elegant necklace length cowl.
Then, of course, you can go for tripled up and that keeps your neck toasty warm in cold weather.
I like how, when the cowl is doubled and tripled the reverse of the stocking stitch knitting is revealed. Reverse stocking stitch gives more "pops" of the variegated colour.
As you might gather, I adore this project. I even started messaging the designer, and as a result I have a little gift to you! Lara has very kindly offered to give one of my blog readers, or podcast listeners, a choice of any of her lovely patterns. All you have to do is go to her pattern store and take a look at what pattern you would like to win, there are other patterns as fabulous as this one, so you will have plenty of choice. Then you need to go to my Ravelry group and enter your preference in this thread. As this giveaway is open to both blog readers and podcast listeners I will leave the thread open until I record my next podcast in around 3 weeks time. This gives everyone a good opportunity to listen to the podcast episode and to see this post.
You must be a member of the Ravelry Group to win this contest. I hope this isn't a major hardship, you don't have to join in on the other threads, but it would be lovely if you did, especially as we have the Crafting Library KAL coming up. We are already discussing patterns and yarn choices over there, so we'd love to hear if you are planning on joining in.