Zen and the Three Colour Silk Cowl

I’ve felt pretty burned out in the last month, and didn’t feel up to the challenge of embarking on another big knitting project. Instead, I decided to give my brain a break with Joji Locatelli’s ‘3 Color Cashmere Cowl’ which seemed a perfect combination of easy but absorbing, and gave me an excuse to use up bits of my best left-over yarn.

3 colour cowl 2

I used Fyberspates Scrumptious 4-ply/sport (left over from my sister’s ‘Rivage‘ scarf) in ‘Oyster’ and ‘Water’ for the main two colours, and one treasured skein of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in ‘Peridot’ (left over from my ‘Relax’ jumper) for the colour block section. The easy thing about using leftovers is that you can’t spend hours agonising over colour options!

Although both yarns have silk in them, they feel very different. The Fyberspates silk/merino is incredibly soft, and knits up really evenly, whereas the silk/alpaca is much hairier, and has more uneven stitch definition. I also couldn’t wet-block the finished cowl, because I know from bitter experience that the dye in the alpaca silk bleeds like crazy.

It was totally worth it for the colour though…

3 colour cowl 1

As expected, it was a lovely and very soothing pattern. The only section I didn’t like was the lace, which required more concentration than I was able to give (and there was much laughter at my knitting group when my eyelets refused to line up).

I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the ‘Oyster’ and the ‘Peridot’ together, but now that it’s finished, I think it works really well. There’s just enough contrast to make the blue and the green stand out, but not enough to scare my minimalist, pattern averse self.

3 colour cowl 4

I actually love this cowl more than I thought I would (it was more of a time-filling de-stress project, than a desperate desire to knit this particular pattern). It’s a great combination of luxury and practicality – probably the most expensive neckwear I’ve ever knitted, but long and close-fitting enough to be properly warm, and beautiful enough to be worth it.

I might even have enough yarn left over for matching arm warmers…

It’s a Hawser Dress!

I finished my Hawser! And I finished it before my self-imposed Valentines Day deadline! As you can see it looks a little…ahem…longer than the pattern photo. By the time I got to the armholes, I realised my row gauge was way off, but I didn’t quite grasp how off until I started the sleeves.

Hawser 3

Over double moss stitch, my gauge was about 28 rows x 10 cm (pattern requires 32 rows x 10cm…), so I tried to do some maths to accommodate this in the sleeve increases. I couldn’t understand why the maths didn’t work, until I realised that my row gauge over stockinette stitch was different again – about 22 rows x 10 cm (a whole 10 rows per 10 cm out!!).

As well as knitting the sleeves two sizes bigger to fit the giant armholes, I ended up halving the number of rows between increases so I wouldn’t look like Stretch Armstrong (‘memba him?).

Hawser 1I actually really like the length, despite the initial shock when I sewed up the shoulders. I think it works with the oversized look of the jumper, and I could feasibly wear it with leggings without looking indecent (not that I could wear it with just leggings, it’s way too cold).

The pattern has super fitted sleeves, and I’m glad I knitted them bigger. I hate it when you can’t wear long-sleeved layers under a winter jumper (something that bugs me about my Owls), and these are just roomy enough without looking ridiculous.

Hawser 4I ended up only using 11 of the 15 balls of Rico Soft Merino Aran that I bought (with a very generous staff discount, thanks Social Fabric!). It’s super soft, with virtually zero itch, especially after blocking, and the colour makes a much-needed change from the greys and navys of my winter wardrobe. It’s like a big red hug!

I used big needles for aran yarn (6mm) so the knitted fabric is very light and squishy, and seems to trap heat really well. I do worry that the loose knit will mean it eventually loses its shape, but I guess only time will tell.

Hawse r2All in all, this was a really enjoyable knit. I’d definitely knit this pattern again (I think it would be really cool in a denim-y cotton yarn…) and unlike some of my previous jumpers, this one is loose, comfy, and non-itchy enough to relax in. I really think I’ll wear it to death.

I’ve learned my lesson about row gauge though…

It’s Growing…

My ‘Hawser’ was on the back burner for a while during the pre-Christmas madness, but I got it out again on Boxing day and it’s been growing steadily ever since.

Hawser wip4

It’s actually getting a bit too big because, despite careful swatching, my row gauge seems to be off. The idea with this project is that it’s going to be an oversized, slobby kind of jumper, so hopefully it won’t matter if it comes up a bit big. I’ll just need to be really careful when I knit the sleeves, so they don’t end up ridiculously long…

Hawser WIP5

I was initially a bit dubious about the number of special techniques required for what’s essentially a simple jumper style (tubular cast-ons, sloped bind-offs, unusual increases, etc), but I’m finding myself coming round to the Brooklyn Tweed way of doing things. The sloped shoulder bind-off looks so much better than the stepped bind-offs you get in most patterns, and I’ll definitely be using it again. I also like the way that yarn-overs are used to make the huge cables lie flatter. It really works!

I’m hoping to finish this in the coming month. I’ll see how it goes. One of the perks of living in rainy Devon, is that sweater weather continues until April at least…