From Shawl to Cowl

Recently, in trying to decide what to make next, I turned to my stash for inspiration.

Almost two years ago, I bought this skein from a museum gift shop:

It’s 100 grams of 50% Merino, 25% Alpaca, 25% Nylon. I stared at it. No inspriation.

I wound it into a cake. No inspiration.

I spent, what was likely, hours on Ravelry. No inspiration.

Then, I remembered, the Museum had a few self published patterns, including
12 Days of Shawlmas

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, then you’ll know, I love me a good bandana cowl. A shawl, like the pattern as written, I’m not very likely to wear, but make that shawl a cowl, and finally, I had the inspiration I needed!

The pattern was written in a way that encourages the knitter to work 12 rows each day, and by Day 12, you have a finished shawl. First, let me assure you, I did NOT make the 12 rows/day goal. I saw that as more of a guideline…

I followed the instructions for the shawl (working RS / WS) until the end of Day 6 / Row 72. I worked Row 73 as written, but, when I got to the end of the row, I knit that last stitch together with the first stitch in the row, essentially joining in the round. Standard for triangular shawls, there were increases at both sides and at the centre, four stitches increased at the end of the RS row. Once it was joined in the round, I continued to increase at the centre, but I stopped with the increases at the now-back of the cowl. I did, however, keep the garter ridge detail that was started with the border, and I continued with YOs before and after those garter stitches, but every YO was counteracted with either a K2Tog or SSK.

One detail of the pattern that I ADORED was the centre – where most shawls/cowls have that centre stitch, this pattern had two that you were working as a Right Twist (essentially a 1×1 cable achieved by k2tog, leaving stitches on LH needle, then k the first stitch again, and slip the stitches off the LH needle). It gives a lovely twist detail on a part of a garment which is often overly simple.

Turning this shawl into a cowl required a little thinking and counting when you got to sections that had textured details, like the lace section, or the RT sections, but simply counting, and double counting for good measure, kept me on track and was easy enough to accommodate for.


So, it appears this is the season for finishing things!

Last year, the patterns by Skeindeer Knits were brought to my attention by my friend, Victoria. The designer released patterns for Summer 2021, and I was immediately taken with Sealine (RAV LINK). I loved the vintage feel to this piece, and on a shopping trip to a LYS, I bought the yarn I would need to make one.

And then the yarn sat.

Well, actually, for some reason, the grey, which I had wound into a cake, caught the eye of my puppy, and on a few occasions, I discovered he grabbed it from my shelves and had a GRAND time getting the yarn all over my bedroom. Cut to me, de-tangling and rewinding. He’s darn cute, so a little mischief with the yarn can be easily forgiven.

So, earlier this summer, I cast on, and while I’m happy with the final sweater, it was a little fussy in its construction.

What do I mean by fussy? Well, there were a lot of folded hems. The bottom hem required a fold and knit live stitches with cast on stitches. I started the folding process but had to rip back and start again as I realized I was accidentally twisting the fabric. I carefully kept it folded with removable stitch markers, and it helped avoid the twisting / pulling that was happening. There was also the top edge details, which involved a fold and sewing live stitches and picked up stitches together.

Finally, there were the straps. They weren’t folded, but they were double thick, achieved by knitting a small amount of stitches in the round, and small amount of stitches in the round is, indeed, fussy. I started with the stitches on three very slippery DPNs, and it was, in a word, awful. I switched to a set of bamboo circulars and worked magic loop, and it was so much better. Still fussy, but better.

That said, the final top is lovely. It’s bright and attention grabbing, and I was able to finish it off with buttons scrounged from my Grandma’s ancient button box. If I was to make it again, I would have sized down. I made size 4, to accommodate a 40″ bust, but it just feels like there’s a lot more negative ease. I’m not mad at the final fit, but something to keep in mind if I was to make it again.

Is the past tense of Icefall Icefell?

I knew all I needed was some dedicated knitting, and sure enough, with some early morning rounds, I got Icefall finished.

I am really pleased with this sweater. It is giving off such Autumnal vibes, and all I want is for it to be cool enough to wear this, with some boots and warm beverage in hand, the leaves falling around me.

Oh, I’m sorry, the humidity of late August started affecting me, and the idea of fall crept in there as I’m sitting under a few fans, trying to stay cool… back on topic…

Icefall. I’m so glad I bought this pattern from Tin Can Knits. If I do say so myself, I think the final sweater is rather flattering.

I’m also pleased with how the yarns came together. The contrast is Urth, a gradient. When it was wound as a skein, I didn’t realize that it would be the gradient it ended up being. It was perfect to use for the contrast as it adds interest with the yoke without needing to change colours.

The main is Cascade Heritage, however, there are two different dye lots for the yarns. If you look carefully just below the yoke detail, you can see striping, where I alternated the different dye lots. I made the body with one lot (for which I had two skeins) and the sleeves was a different lot (for which I had one lonely skein). I waffled about how to handle the two different lots, and I while the striping by the yoke can stand out under the right light, I think this was the simplest approach to using these yarns.

One of my goals this year was to get this sweater finished, and I’m so happy that it’s ready well before the cooler Canadian seasons set in.

Usually, my next question is ‘What next,’ but luckily, I have a few projects in mind, including dedicating more time to Bright Axis tee. So, I suppose it isn’t ‘What next,’ but rather ‘When will I cast on?’

Finished Object Friday

Last weekend, I was able to FINALLY get my Vatsland Jumper (RAV LINK) off my needles! It only took months and months of knitting and then sitting idle, realizing I didn’t have enough yarn, buying more, sitting idle again, and then more knitting until it got complete!

The yarn, well, the yarn is itchy. It’s 100% wool, and it’s rather wooly wool. Wool is itchy. Such is life. But a warm, albeit itchy, sweater is perfect for fall and early spring. This one has 3/4 length sleeves, so it is paired nicely with longer gloves.

Just in time for sweater weather.

Finished Object Friday: Little Secret Crop

Last week, I finished the Little Secret Crop (RAV LINK) by Jessie Maed Designs. Just a refresher – I made it with DK weight cotton yarn I frogged from a shawl I never wore. It was an addictive knit, with the 3×3 ribbing being perfect for webinar or virtual meeting knitting. It felt like it flew off my needles.

I will note, I made the large size and noticed two minor errors with this pattern. Being a confident knitter, it didn’t throw me at all, but I feel like a lot of new knitters make patterns by Jessie Mae, so I was clear in my Rav notes, and I’ll be clear here, about what the mistakes are. For size Large, when decreasing for the front, rows 3 & 4, it says to repeat 3 MORE times, but I think, in order to get the required number of stitches, it should be 3 times TOTAL. At least, I’m hoping I mathed correctly on that… Also, for the right strap set up, work as follows: sl1pwyif, K1, sl1pwyif, K1, sl1pwyif. Turn. That way, your stitches are correct for the start of the right strap.

For real though, this is now the third pattern I’ve made by her, and all three of these garments are so very flattering and comfortable.

Happy summer knitting!