Shawl to Cowl Experiment a Success!

I know I’ve already professed my love for bandana cowls on this blog, but it bears repeating, I think.  I love this accessory, so much so that one of my latest projects turned a shawl pattern into a cowl.  Any that I’ve made before have all been patterns for this particular style, but there aren’t a lot of patterns on Ravelry, at least, not a lot of patterns easily found with searches.

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Knowing the basic structure of the cowl, I took a shawl pattern and adapted it to become a cowl.  In a nutshell, I knit flat, increasing 4 stitches every other round until a certain length, then I joined in the round, increasing 2 stitches every other round, at the centre of the cowl.

It worked really well with the Jocassee pattern, a free shawl by Kemper Wray.  It features garter sections and drop stitch sections, and because it didn’t involve any super fancy stitch designs or lace, it was a good shawl to experiment with.  I’m rather happy with the finished cowl but am looking forward to cooler weather before I can wear it more often.  It’s far too hot here in Canada for any extra wool around the neck!

I’d also like to try this again, perhaps with a more complex stitch design and see if I can replicate my results.  

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Heat Wave

I’d like to know who is propagating the myth that Canada is a cold country, because for the last week or two, southern Ontario has been hit with a heat wave. Temperatures are in the 30sC and feeling like 40sC (which, thanks to a handy conversion online, I can tell you is high 80s/90s in Fahrenheit). It’s hot. It’s especially hot for someone who doesn’t have air conditioning, and while I was able to fare quite well in the first few days, I very quickly lost the battle in trying to keep my house at a normal, comfortable living temperature.  New fans have been purchased, I relish my time at work with AC, and I’ve gone to a movie or two to escape the heat.  It was also quite lucky that we got a reprieve over the weekend and it cooled off somewhat, but summer has most certainly arrived, and she’s come with a vengeance!

This heat has also affected my knitting behaviours. My Doodler shawl, made with wool blend yarns, had to be put aside because working the the fibres was like a strange form of cruelty to myself.  Instead, I’m gravitating towards cottons. My Boxy sweater has come along with me to a few movies.  It’s knit in the round over what feels like a bazillion stitches, and right now I’m working towards almost a foot and a half in plain stockinette. It’s a perfect movie project, being worked in Berroco’s Weekend.  Also getting some attention as of late is my Sanibel Cowl, worked in Cascade’s Ultra Pima Paints.  I’m so in love with these colours, which is why I bought the skein to begin with.  I also adore how soft Ultra Pima feels, with excellent drape.  I’m looking forward to finishing this project, although I have a feeling wearing it won’t be possible until the first few autumnal days.


So, to that person who goes around asking Canadians if they live in igloos and take their dog sled to work, please, come visit the Greater Toronto Area. Not an igloo in sight, although one would be a welcome relief from the heat.

Happy knitting!

Foiled by Meterage Yet Again!

How is it that it’s Monday already? I have not intentionally fallen behind on my posts, but it feels like I’ve just blinked and June has somehow ended.  Anyone else feel this way? Just me? Great.

I’ve been busy, making really great progress on my Doodler shawl by Stephen West. See:


I’m done Section 1 and am well on my way with section 2, and all in all I’m really happy with this project.  That is, I’m happy I’m no longer playing Yarn Chicken, a game I woefully lost.

Remember weeks ago, when I wrote about my Captain America shawl and didn’t pay attention to required meterage? And remember when I had to frog almost half a hat because I, oh that’s right, didn’t pay attention to meterage.  Well, I wasn’t about to do that again.  Pattern called for 325 metres.  I had 345 metres in my skein of Mineville Wool Project.  I’ll be great, I foolishly thought.  Only a handful of rows to go, and I ran out of yarn.  A trip to the yarn store later, I find a skein that’s as close of a match as I’ll be able to get, so I work a few rows, and the new yarn sticks out like a sore thumb.  It was painfully obvious that the skeins didn’t match.  So I frogged the entire wedge, rows and rows of work, and I re-worked the wedge alternating the two skeins.  It worked, and with the cabled edging being worked along the top, I don’t think it will be as noticeable.

The full skein on the left is my new one – the colour difference is clear between that one and my original colour…

After two painful instances of not paying attention to meterage, I thought I did good and was in the clear. Maybe this is my trend this year. Oh I truly hope not…

ASSEMBLE!

So, unless you’re living completely off the grid, a certain movie came out a few weeks ago, and I was SUPER excited to see a lot of super heroes hitting things. Okay, so maybe I’m over simplifying the new Avengers movie because OH MY GOODNESS what a movie! So much happened in that 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there is still so much to happen in Part 2! I had so many different feelings throughout the movie, but I won’t get into specifics, because, spoilers.

I did get the chance to debut my new Captain America shawl:


Quite a bit went into the making of this shawl: the yarn was all hand dyed, it was my first time trying beading, and the cast off involved casting off over 1500 stitches using the Jeny’s Stretchy Bind Off method. When I was around the one-third mark, I messaged a friend and asked her to send either help or vodka. Casting off really was a test of patience, but totally worth it.

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As well, I faced yet another instance of not paying attention to required yardage. One would think I’d learn my lesson, and this one hurt.  All of this yarn was hand dyed, and when I was about to start the second red stripe, I realized rather painfully I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish it.  Did I mention it was hand dyed?? I was able to dye another skein, and I was pretty impressed at how close I was able to get the colours! In the picture above, the original skein is on the right, already caked and almost half used, and the newly dyed skein in on the left, waiting to be wound.  When it came to knitting the final red stripe, I blended the two colours, alternating skeins every row. Seriously folks, pay attention to yardage.

I have to add, I’m kinda loving this designer. Lalíe Roque has five patterns available FOR FREE on Ravelry, and all three relate somehow to a fandom. Right before Avengers Part 1 came out, she released a new pattern: a pair of fingerless gloves designed in the style of Thanos’s gauntlet which holds the infinity stones. I’d highly recommend checking out her designer page on Ravelry because I am simply inspired by her creativity.

Maybe I’ll make the gauntlets before Part 2 is dropped.

Just Thrumming Along

While watching the Canadian Men’s Snowboarders take both the SILVER and the BRONZE MEDALS Saturday night, I was keeping my hands busy trying a new pattern and new technique – thrumming.

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The start of my thrummed mitts, two rows of thrums complete

In case you haven’t heard, it’s been a miserable Canadian winter.  There’s been snow, and lots of it, and on some days, the temperature has dipped to the mid -20s°C.  In short, Canada’s been Canada-ing. I’ve been wanting warmer mittens for a while now and have been rather intrigued by the idea of thrumming.  So, after a visit to my LYS and riffling through my stash, cast on.

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Preparing the roving to make thrums

This technique has its roots in Newfoundland and Labrador, because, Canada.  Joking aside, the economy of Newfoundland and Labrador has long been tied to the fishing industry, and these mittens would have been excellent for fishery workers, spending time hauling nets and working on the northern Atlantic coast.  A ‘thrum’ refers to waste yarn/fibre from weaving and spinning, and engineering knitters ‘from the Rock’ realized they would make an amazing insulating layer inside the mitt when the thrum is knit with a regular stitch in the pattern.  Some sources say this technique has been in use for hundreds of years; today, I’m quite happy it’s still around to help me combat this Canadian cold.

The pattern I used was Thrummed Mittens by Tanis Lavallee.  If you’ve never done this technique before, I’d recommend either watching a video or two, or perhaps giving this article by the Yarn Harlot a read.

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A peak inside the mitten – just look at that fluffy warmth!

In all, I wouldn’t recommend this pattern, and when I thrum again, I’ll find a different one to make.  It’s written as if you know exactly what the designer means when they say ‘Knit 3, Thrum, repeat to end.’  Never having thrummed before, I had to google to ensure I was doing it right.  It uses the afterthought technique for the thumb, certainly not my favourite (exhibited by my cursing and repeated ‘I hate this’ while removing the waste yarn), and I think I prefer the fit that a gusset provides.  Finally, if you knit the pattern exactly as written for both hands, you’ll end up with two right mitts.  Long story short, the pattern needs updates, but once finished, I’ll certainly have warm fingers.


Want to read more about thrumming and its history?