… I seem to have an unhealthy obsession with scarves and even more so cowls. I hate to be cold, and there is nothing worse than a draft down the back of the neck.
… last winter I decided to teach myself to knit. I had learnt as a kid but hadn’t touched a pair of knitting needles since, I had forgotten everything, but seeing a friend producing beautiful sweaters and scarves I decided I wanted to learn again. Plus I needed an easy activity for the evenings, to switch off from a crazy job, something that didn’t take up too much time or energy. I love sewing, but so often sewing projects take a lot of time – and commitment – not great for a stolen hour or two between getting home from work late and dog walking and needing to get to bed early to get up early to start another crazy day.
… I chose a pattern, found a local knitting shop, chose my yarn and bought a circular needle, then I hooked up to youtube and video by video learnt to cast on, knit in the round, purl and knit and eventually after how ever many rows, cast off again. It took me a few attempts to get it right, but that is the beauty of knitting, if it goes wrong, if you don’t like it, you can just pull out the needles and unravel (or frog) your work.
… finally I had a finished cowl – and I decided I didn’t actually like that pattern, the cowl was too stiff and chunky for me, so I took it all apart, and loosely based on some other patterns I had seen on the internet I invented a new design using my single circular needle and the same yarn, it took me a couple of attempts, but finally, with a simple design in seed stitch I was much happier.
… once I had a green cowl I liked I decided to try another pattern – I found one I liked on the internet, I trotted back to the wool shop with the instructions, and the saleswoman pointed to which wools were suitable. I chose a light grey, came home and looked at the instructions more closely – wow – this time I needed to cast on provisionally, and would end with the kitchener stitch. The instructions clearly said “this pattern is not for beginners”. Beginner me? I had already knitted 1 cowl (3 times)!
… back to youtube for the provisional stitch, a few rows later I had to learn how to do cables, and a few evenings later I put my youtube video on repeat as I kitchenered my project closed. At work the next day compliments all round as everyone admired my new cowl. And a friend asked me to make her one too… why not!
… and then another friend asked me to make her one too… and that made three.
… then I decided I really should become more adventurous, so I found another pattern online for a tank top, I bought the wool, knitted about half the top and realised I wasn’t going to like it… oh well – I undid it and made myself another cowl.
… when I went to visit a friend in New York she wanted me to organise my trip in advance, but I couldn’t get excited about monuments and museums, couldn’t decide which landmarks I had to see, the only place I knew I had to visit (apart from Grand Central) was Purl Soho, I love their blog, I was dying to explore the shop. We went, I loved it, she waited outside, I bought yarn and needles to make a hat – a 2h hat according to the instructions, it took me the better part of 2 days, but it was worth it!
… an evening on etsy, a couple of vintage patterns purchased for sweaters , a lunch time visit to a craft supplies shop, and I came home with a couple of big balls of bright wool that would be perfect. Several evenings, careful pattern following, and half way through the first pattern I gave up and started making a scarf instead…
… summer came, and with it unemployment, I had more time to sew and less inclination to knit, until the hottest weekend all summer (the only hot weekend all summer). It was 40ºC in the street and I walked past a craft shop with a fabulous display of huge, cosy scarves and cowls in the window, and something compelled me to go into the shop and buy a big ball of wool to make another cowl! A new pattern, a different length, but another cowl! I ended up giving that one away.
… and once that one was made I forgot about knitting for a couple of months, until my eyes fell on another ball of lovely yarn, and I couldn’t resist, and I knitted another variation of my favourite cowl. Different thickness yarn, different sized needles, different number of stitches, but a variation on the same pattern…
… the pattern
Using Rowan big wool and (EU) size 10 needles:
Provisionally cast on 27 stitches
rows 1-4: stocking stitch (knit 1 row, purl the next)
row 5: k3, cable 3 to the back, k9, cable 3 to the front, k3
row 6-10: stocking stitch
row 11: k11, cable 3 to the back, k10
row 12-16: stocking stitch
repeat until your project measures about 60 cm
join the 2 ends using kitchener stitch.
Wear with pride!