Tag Archives: cowl

And It’s Done

Well, that was fun while it lasted. I know it wasn’t a full-on sweater. Obviously. But still! I thought that my Ben-ish Cowl would take me a little longer than it did. (I think I finished it about 3 days after I wrote my last post about it. And I’m being pretty slow about knitting these days…)

Oh well…

At least it turned out super cute!

The colors are slightly off here, but about as close as I could manage. The red is more burgundy (think: cranberry sauce) and the gray is slightly more blue (a slightly overcast autumn sky… if you’re feeling poetic).

It’s super cozy and soft. Maybe too cozy for Seattle…

But, the takeaway for this project is that I want to put this cable/texture pattern on every garment I make for the rest of the winter. Socks? Yes. Hats? Yes. Scarves? Yes.

And sweaters? Definitely.

Why do the most fun projects always go the fastest?

A Sweater-ish Cowl

I’ve gone through phases as a knitter. There was a while when I started knitting that I almost exclusively knit mittens. Then it was stuffed animals. Then socks. And lace shawls (for some reason…). Lately (as in the last few years), it’s been sweaters.

I love making sweaters. I’ve probably made a couple dozen over the last few years (more, if you include baby/kid sweaters). I find sweaters to be just the most satisfying project. I love everything about them, from designing them to adding details to picking yarn to thinking about the practicalities of their construction. I love knitting sweaters that are my own designs, and I love knitting sweaters other people have designed.

However, two factors are getting in the way of my sweater-dreams these days.

  1. Covid means I haven’t been to a yarn store in 8 months. I’ve been slowly draining my stash of any sweater-quantitates of yarn. Sure, I could probably cobble together a sweater’s worth of sock yarn or something, but… that sounds difficult. And annoying.
  2. As I write this (in late October), I’m less than a month away from the birth of my second kid. Which, needless to say, will cut into my knitting time.

So that means I’m making a point of knitting non-sweater projects.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t dream, does it?

This is one of my favorite men’s sweaters to make (and wear). It’s a super easy, FREE, cabled, comfy, pieced sweater. I’ve knit it twice- once for my husband and once for my father-in-law. I have since more-or-less adopted my husband’s sweater since apparently it’s “too warm for Seattle” for him. It’s the perfect “I’m having a day and just need to be comfy” sweater.

I kind of want to knit another one.

But instead, I’m going to hold myself back and use up the skein-and-a-half of Knit Picks’ Twill I have in my stash drawer to make a nice, cozy Ben Cowl. (I had hoped the gray-blue would have been enough, but it’s not quite as tall as I wanted. Luckily the burgundy looks nice enough with the blue, so we’re going to pretend it was supposed to be color-blocked.)

What other small projects should I work on? Do you have any favorite one-skein patterns?

Quick and Finished!

You guys know I’m a big sweater knitter.  I love a great big, weeks- (or months-) long project that I can really sink my teeth into.  And if it’s a pattern that I’m making up as I go along, and documenting the whole thing, even better!

But sometimes, there’s nothing better than finding a great pattern and banging out a project in a little over a week.

This little cowl is one of those projects.

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It’s finished!  And it’s super cute!

It’s not perfect (the decreases are a little weird, and I don’t love how the CO edge pulls a little, compared to the super-stretchy brioche fabric), but I don’t mind.  The pattern was quick to work up, and the finished object is cute and totally wearable.  It was a super fun little knit.  I’m not going to say it was “easy”, but once I got my brain around the whole brioche thing, it was pretty straightforward.

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One thing I really love is how it’s totally reversible!  The big color-blocks on the right side are fun, but I kind of love the way the contrasting colors peek out between the bright blue ribs.  (It’s even prettier, and more glow-y in person!)

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This is definitely a piece that I intend to wear a lot in the future!

Have you finished up any fun, quick projects recently?

A Little Something New

It’s been a while since I tried something truly new in knitting.  I’ll try a new cable or stitch pattern, but even the most complicated stitch pattern still just uses a combination of the same handful of stitches.  And I’m not afraid to try a new pattern or come up with a new design, but it’s all really just putting the same stitches in different order.  I’m not complaining, I love my usual knitting, but none of that is really a new skill.

So I decided to try something that’s truly new to me.  Brioche!  (This isn’t a tutorial about brioche knitting- I’m not even finished with my first piece, so I’m very much not an expert!) Brioche is super cool! It’s knitting, but its stitches are just different enough from regular knits and purls that it’s a little tricky.  It took me a few evenings to really get the feel of it.  The finished product ends up with a sort-of two-color ribbing, and is seriously fluffy.  It’s kind of magical.

I browsed Ravelry and found the Fingering Brioche Bandana Cowl by Lavanya Patricella.  It looked simple enough and like something I’d actually wear.  (These days with a very grabby kid, long scarves and shawls aren’t terribly practical, but my neck is still cold!)fingerbandanacowl01I pulled out those mini-skeins of Tosh Merino Light, fired up Google to look for instructions, and after a few false starts, I was cruising along. img_1234I love how the royal blue peeks through to the outside of the cowl, and I love how squishy the fabric is!img_1236(Though I might actually like the “inside” better.  The color-blocking is a little more subtle, just peeking through between the ribs of blue.)img_1240I’ve still got a way to go before I perfect my brioche knitting though, my gauge is a little bit all-over the place and my decreases are a weird and sloppy (though I might be able to block them out a bit).  At least I have a reason to keep practicing!img_1247Have you tried any new techniques lately?  What were they? How did it go?

Inspiration: Stormy Weather

When we moved to Seattle, I knew what I signed up for.  Rain (often, but not a lot), cloudy skies (a good excuse to stay in the house and read), and cool weather (perfect for wearing sweaters).

This year, that has not been the case.

We had warm weather (in the sixties) almost all the way through September with sun (SUN!!) nearly every day.  Then the weekend before last, we had snow (SNOW!!) for several days in a row.  It didn’t really stick, but, still!  And the last three days we’ve had pouring rain and whipping winds.  (My yard is a disaster- leaves and branches everywhere!  But I figure I should wait to clean it up until the storms have passed, so I’m just sitting here looking out the window at the mess outside.) It’s like being back in the Midwest!  It’s bananas!

I guess there’s just one thing to do.  Knit.

(What, you can’t really be surprised that that’s my response?)

I love this cowl.  I know the lace pattern is supposed to be waves, but I think it looks like my big pine trees whipping back and forth in the wind.

Storm Water Cowl by Kim McBrien Evans

And this little pullover is too cute (and too cozy) for words.  It’s exactly what I’d want to wear on a stormy day if I was a cute little kid.  Ah, who am I kidding, I’d wear this today, if it was big enough!

Stormy Day Jacket by Hannah FettigAnd this shrug is so perfect- I might actually need it.  It would bring me one step closer to my goal of wearing nothing but blankets all day.

Stormy Shrug by Charm KnitsI’ll keep my fingers crossed that the weather breaks soon, but in case it doesn’t, at least I have some cute knitting to think about.

How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

Inspiration: Christmas

It’s October 25th… you know what that means.  2 months until Christmas!

That means you have 61 days to get all your Christmas knitting done (or at least started enough to have a good excuse when you wrap up a half-finished scarf in the wee hours of Christmas morning… not that I’ve ever done that).

Might I suggest a few patterns- a few of my free patterns?  These are some of my favorites, they’re small, simple, and fun enough (if I say so myself) to whip up a handful in the next two months.  Plus, they’re nice enough that even the pickiest gift-receiver will be happy to open them up on Christmas morning.

I love the Snowbank Spa Cloth.  It’s a super simple dish-cloth (with almost no finishing-just two ends to weave in!).  The pattern calls for fancy-pants cotton yarn to make it a “spa” cloth, but you could use any cotton you have on hand, and just rename it “dishcloth” or “washcloth” depending on how soft your yarn is.  It’s a simple repeat of knits, purls, and slipped stitches, surrounded by a nice garter stitch border, so it’s easy to work up.  Make a stack of them, or just one and wrap it up with a fancy bar of soap for a lovely gift.

Get the pattern hereI’m also a fan of the Snoqualmie Cowl.  I can’t wait for the temperature to drop enough so that I can break mine out again.  It’s worked with really bulky yarn at a massive gauge, so it works up in almost no time.  I used fancy leftover yarn from a big shawl I made years ago, but you can use whatever you have on hand- the colorblocking is perfect for using up leftover bits and bobs of your fancy bulky yarn that you couldn’t bear to throw away.

Get the pattern Snoqualmie Cowl.

If you ever need a super fast gift (for Christmas or otherwise), you’d be hard-pressed to find a simpler (or easier) project than my tiny Coffee Sweater.  Worked in the round with just enough cabling to make it interesting, this little guy knits up in an afternoon.  Use your favorite yarn, or whatever worsted-weight yarn you have laying around your craft room- it doesn’t take more than an ounce or two. If you start now, I bet you can make Coffee Sweaters for everyone on your Christmas list before Thanksgiving has passed!  Wrap up each sweater with a gift card to your favorite coffee joint- and I can’t imagine a better gift!

Get the pattern Coffee Sweater!What are your go-to patterns for gift giving?

Inspiration: All Snuggled Up

I know it’s cliched, but holy cow do I need a vacation after my vacation.  I’m still exhausted, even though it’s been almost a week since we got back.

I think it must be a combination of the following:

  1. Too much traveling- a full day of air travel to get to the Midwest followed by a full day of driving to make it up north, and the same thing in reverse to go back.  (Plus all the driving we did over the week there.  I forgot how far apart everything is in the country!)
  2. I was surprised to discover that the part of the UP we were visiting was in the Eastern Time Zone, three hours behind Seattle.  I spent the whole week trying desperately to get on local time and failing miserably.  Now I’m back here, but I think my brain is still somewhere between Eastern and Pacific time.  I’m a mess!
  3. I picked up some nasty stomach bug somewhere on my trip back home, and I can’t for the life of me shake it.  I won’t give you the details, because ew… but suffice it to say that I’ve felt better.

Basically, all I want to do is snuggle up in some cozy knits and go into hibernation.

Let’s play the “what Allison wishes she had in her closet” game.  (I’m too sleepy to start any new projects right now… it’s that bad!)

I know this is a men’s sweater but man, I’d totally wear this.  I love the slightly variegated/tonal yarn and the cowl-like collar.

Cosy Hubby by Marzena KolaczekSpeaking of cowls- I can’t imagine anything cozier than this ridiculous cabled cowl.

Cozy Cable Cowl by Purl SohoBut really, this is what I want to wear right now.  It’s coziness personified… It’s halfway between a cocoon and a sweater (actually, it might be closer to a cocoon than a sweater).  I love the thick textured fabric, and the thigh-length oversized silhouette.  It would take about three pounds of yarn to make a sweater of this style for someone my height, but I think it might just be worth it.

Cozy Sweater by Anna and Heidi PicklesWhat do you like to wear (or knit) when you’re feeling under the weather?

Knitting Big

I spent my Sunday at a little local yarn festival, Knit Fit.  It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, browsing through the little marketplace, squeezing the yarn and admiring all the gorgeous colors (and wishing you had infinite money and infinite time so that you take home and use all the yarn).

Of course, I had to treat myself to a little (big) souvenir.  It’s a wheel of The Big Squeeze from Hazel Knits in the colorway “Electric Slide.”img_3861 It’s 135 yards of slightly-felted oversized single ply merino softness in the most gorgeous shades of violet, purple and fuchsia.  I’ve salivated over the Big Squeeze before, but didn’t know what to make with it.  But then I saw this gorgeous color… and it was all over.

So now I have to decide what it’ll become.  It’s soft enough that I want something I can wear against my skin, but I don’t care for super-bulky hats, and mittens are kind of impractical in this climate.  I’m thinking it’ll make a big cowl, or maybe an oversized lace scarf.

I like this cabled cowl.  I love how it twists and turns and looks like it’s been very artistically rumpled.

Rainbow Twist by Thao Nguyenphoto_medium1And I like the openwork on this cowl.  There’s something really satisfying about lacework at such a gigantic gauge.  Maybe I’ll do something like this.

Spidey’s Spiral Cowl by Abi Gregoriospiralcowl_medium21And this one is just beautiful in its simplicity.  Sometimes you just need a big tube of ribbing in a beautiful color.

Castle Leoch Ribbed Cowl by Karen Clementscastleleochribbedcowl1_medium21What would you do with a big skein of oversized yarn?

Patern: Zagged Cowl

Surprise!  A fun new FREE pattern!

Let me introduce you to my newest pattern, the Zagged Cowl.55942220_21It’s knit with Knit Picks’ newest yarn, Woderfluff.  It’s super soft and light and cozy, yet surprisingly strong (because it’s not actually spun- it’s a teeny tube of nylon filled with baby alpaca and merino).  (But really, you could use any bulky yarn.)

The Zagged Cowl is worked in the round with no shaping, just garter stitch and an impressive-looking oversized cable up one side.  The pattern only uses one skein, and works up on big (US 10.5) needles, so it knits up super fast.  Talk about a great holiday gift!55942220_31Head on over to Knit Picks to pick up a free copy of this pattern (and maybe a skein or two of Wonderfluff)!

Inspiration: On the road again

I’m on the road again.  Somewhere between the Shell gas station and the Wendy’s on the side of the freeway.  I’m having a great time hanging out with my extended family and I’m getting tons of time for knitting. Win-win!

I can’t stop at any yarn stores (which is probably good, since my suitcase is already full), but all the hours in the car have made me think about all the other road trip knitting I could be doing.

This beanie is just too perfect for words, after all it’s a “Road Trip Hat.”  I love the interesting, minimalist use of cables  I could see this becoming a favorite for years and years.

Road Trip Hat by Emily Williams

Roadtrip-cover-rev-600px_medium[1]Of course, my perennial favorite, the Hitchhiker Shawl, would be perfect for knitting on a road trip.  A simple, easily memorized pattern and acres and acres of garter.  I can’t think of a more perfect pattern to work on while staring out the window, watching the scenery go by.

Hitchhiker by Martina BehmCIMG7885And, if you’re looking for something a little more practical… maybe a pair of driving gloves?  You could wear them to keep your hands warm while the A/C is blasting.

Men’s Driving Gloves or Fingerless Gloves by Tara Smolinski

IMG_0163_medium2[1]But, really, if you want the perfect road trip project, it doesn’t get any better than this adorable road cowl.  Cute!

Road Trip Cowl by Ping Woodvalleypat550.550.zoom.1_medium[1]What do you work on when you go on a road trip?