Friday 23 May 2014

Starshower Cowl in Countess Ablaze Lord Kitchener Yarn

I have a completed a very successful project. I am delighted with it. I think it has something to do with the glorious yarn I used. Which is, as you could probably have guessed, from Countess Ablaze.

Image ©Countess Ablaze "Come Back in the Seventh Year" - Lord Kitchener 4PLY - BFL & Silk

This yarn is stunning. It is 55% Blue Faced Leicester and 45% Silk and it decadently soft and drapey. The yarn is a 4-ply/fingering weight and the colourway is a limited edition that has subsequently sold out, so you can't get your hands on this particular beauty, I'm sorry to say.

As soon as I got the yarn I knew I wanted to knit with it straight away, a common occurrence with Lyndsey's yarns. I had the perfect pattern in mind, Starshower by Hilary Smith Callis. I have been wanting to make an accessory with this structure for some time. It is a cross between a shawl and a cowl, having the benefits of both and few of the downsides. I really liked this shape because it had more a soft curved semi-circular edge, than some of the other patterns of this type that I had seen, and that mirrored my favourite shawl shape.

Starshower 05

This cowl is created by working the the top section flat, as though starting a top down shawl, until the top edge is the right length to form a neck. The cowl is then joined in the round and the rest of the cowl is created.

Starshower 02

As you can see (if you look closely enough) the top section of the cowl is at a tighter gauge than the body, after it joins in the round. This is because I forgot to take into account the difference in my gauge when I knit flat versus in the round.  If I made this again, and I probably will, I would use a bigger needle in the start section before dropping back down after joining in the round.

Starshower 03

The stitch pattern is easy to memorise and fun to do. The increase rounds are carried out in the garter stitch sections of the repeats, which means the lace sections don't have to incorporate any changes in stitch count. This design really lets the yarn stand out. I think it would work with a variegated yarn quite well too.

Starshower 04

The one thing I would change about this cowl would be to add an extra chart repeat in, so all the yarn got used up and more of my shoulders could be covered like the pattern photos.

I have worn this cowl as often as temperatures have allowed, since finishing it. It's a brilliant design and I know I'll be making another one. It's wonderful to have something so pretty round your neck and not have to worry about it falling off. This design also means that your throat doesn't overheat, as there is only one layer around it. With a shawl wrapped about to create this sort of shape you have several layers of shawl around your neck which, whilst lovely and snug, can create overheating. I think the design could work well in a cotton or silk to create a Summer weight accessory.

I really do love this project and the yarn matches the pattern brilliantly. I do love it when a plan comes together!


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