Tuesday, September 3, 2013

on knitting with art yarn: a cowl recipe

so what i wanted was to knit with some handspun. i also wanted one of those scarf-type things that you wear around your neck like a cowl, and can pull up over your head like a hood. this did not end up to be one of those things. just means there's more knitting to do, is all. never a bad thing.

but i got to knit some handspun, and really, this is something that one just needs to do that every so often. there's something that feels more real and dirty about it, you know? in the best possible way. lumps and fluffs and lanolin, a bit of hay every so often. real life, real yarn.

handspun cowl in progress

i had a particular skein picked out. a big reason for it being that it has been in my stash for so so so long. embarrassingly long. years. i was never quite sure how to do it justice. now was the time.

after much swatching, i found that the best stitch pattern for this would be.. garter. just garter stitch. on big needles, for some nice drape. but it wouldn't really look, or stretch, quite right.. so sideways garter stitch it is. of course it would be much easier to calculate how many stitches around it should be, and then just knit in the rounduntil the yarn ran out, so it could be as long as possible. but if there's one thing i'm good at, it's making things more complicated. and i can now tell you that this stuff stands up to multiple froggings. nice!

handspun handknit cowl

here's what i came up with.

needles: size us 15 (10 mm)
gauge: 9 sts per 4 in (10 cm)

cast on 28 stitches. knit every row until you run out of yarn.
(once i started getting toward the end, i measured in inches how much yarn it took to knit one row. i kept going pretty much until i had just this much left, for a three needle bindoff.)

if i had extra yarn, i might just knit it with a button closure.. but buttons may have been a bit too busy for this yarn anyway. just something else to think about for the next one.

at this point, i took it off the needles, ran the remaining yarn through the live stitches like a lifeline, soaked and wet-blocked it. extra drapey-ness! then for the three needle bindoff. not the most elegant (or elastic) thing in the world, but it worked in this case. and while you're working from the inside, this would be a good time to poke any cool fluffy or loopy bits to the outside.

weave in your ends and it's done. this was all i had left.. used every last drop.

yarn ends

of course this sort of thing doesn't really look like anything until it's being worn, so.. enjoy this hastily edited mirror photo! (i don't really do selfies.)

fo: cowl scarf thing

finished dimensions were 12 inches high, and about 22 inches around. and it still smells like fresh sheep.

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