Note: I have had this project done since October and this is the only photo I have of it, from Instagram and from the fall. The post has been written since late last year, but I needed to get it out of my drafts folder.
This was a spontaneous project, I saw a cowl Carla had made and I figured it would be a good use for the skein of Groovy that had been sitting in my stash for far too long. When I had originally ordered the yarn (we don’t have a decent LYS less than 2 hrs from where I live, so I order 99% of my yarn online) it came a different color that I had expected. It is a very nice color, but it was basically the color of my peachy skin rather than the nice cream I had been expecting.
After having it live in my stash for nearly 2 years it was time for it to be made into a gift, and I still haven’t found the right buttons or the right person for it, it will find its way to the right person eventually.
– Details –
Project Name: Tokyo Cowl
Pattern: Begbie Cowl by Jane Richmond
Recipient: The Box/Not Sure Yet
Yarn: Dream in Color Groovy in Tokyo Cream
New Skills: None
Feedback: Easy pattern, nice yarn, but not my colors.
Re-Knit?: Only if I have a single skein of bulky yarns I don’t know what to do with.
So about that Christmas knitting, it’s best to get it started as early as possible, and getting it done feels good. Except when that Christmas knitting is from 2011. Yes, that’s right I finally started and finished my Christmas 2011 knitting.
This cowl was a gift for my Mom, originally the gift was of yarn and the lessons and needles to knit the project (she was interested in getting back into knitting) or if not a new cowl for the next winter. After a winter, spring and summer it was becoming abundantly clear that she wasn’t going to be a knitter it was time to knit up a cowl for her.
The name of the cowl is telling, the designer called it cocoon me, but to me it is hug me cowl, because that is what I ask my mom to do, Hug Me. So hopefully, this will be a nice hug for her all next winter.
– Details –
Project Name: Hug Me Cowl
Pattern: Cocoon Me Cowl by Rose Beck from RosyPosy Designs
Recipient: She who hugs me, my Mom.
Yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label in Sand
- Converted Garter Edging to Ribbing – I hate garter in the round, so I changed the edging to a 2×2 rib and it flowed straight into the pattern
New Skills: None in particular
- Yarn: I like Tanis’ colors but Green Label is not my favorite base, there is something about it that just doesn’t work for me. Also, Sand is a great color.
- Pattern: Great pattern, love that it’s reversible, but P5Tog is my furthest from favorite stitch and I use a crochet hook to keep myself from going crazy.
Re-Knit?: Nope, the P5tog is pretty much what is keeping me from doing this again,
Now that the Ravellenic Games are over it is back to my previous knitting. I’m going to try to finish my plain (casserole) socks so that I can start a fingering weight pair to check the pattern.
My other priority is to finish the new bubbly cowl, which was a Christmas gift to my mom last year. The thing was she wanted to knit so I gave her the things to learn, but turns out she isn’t that motivated so I needed to make the cowl before the weather turns cool.
The other two were cast on just before the games and I’ll get to them at some point.
The one you don’t see here is that green lace stole, which I finally frogged. It had two chances with the Muir pattern, time to try it on something else.
Not long before Knitter’s Frolic in Toronto I was contacted by Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss who is a friend and collaborator with Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts to ask if I would be interested in testing a new lace cowl pattern. Knitted in TFA Purple Label, a MCN fingering weight blend, with all sorts of nupps and lace, it seemed right up my alley.
While at Frolic I was able to see all the TFA colors in person for the very first time, and with some help from Tanis herself, I picked Seabreeze as the color I would test the knit in.
While I had done some test knitting a few years ago with the Free Pattern Testers group on Ravelry, this was my first time in the big leagues. It was great to work with Julie and I hope I was helpful in finding some of the quirks, that exist in all patterns, and get them clarified before others, who didn’t have a one-on-one contact with Julie to get their questions answered right away, go to knit it.
A couple of weeks ago, this pattern finally came out as part of the Stella Collection, which included four shawls knit in four different TFA fingering weight yarns (Blue, Purple, Silver and Red). It is nice to get to share this beautiful cowl with you finally, and to see the other patterns. I’m hankering to get my hands on one of Tanis’ OOAK colorways in Red Label to knit up the Suncrest Shawl, such a neat shawl and such a wonderful yarn.
– Details –
Project Name: Sealaria Cowl
Pattern: Solaria by Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss and TFA
Yarn: TFA Purple Label in Seabreeze
- None, this was a test so I followed the pattern exactly-ish. Changes happened during the testing process but they are in the final pattern.
- Nupps: With god as my witness, I will never fear Nupps again! Seriously there are so many of them in their pattern that I am totally cool with nupps now.
- Testing: It’s been a while since I tested a pattern, its lots of fun, and I would happily do it again.
- Yarn: Amazing! My first time working with Purple Label (although I have some of it in my stash) and I’m totally impressed with it.
- Pattern: As I helped test it, I think its a pretty good pattern, but having a full set of charts is a real bonus, that is my preferred pattern type, so I was glad Julie chose to put full charts in.
Re-Knit?: Probably not, it is a bit too fussy for a gift and I have one so, probably not, but I will be making other patterns from the Stella Collection.
Sometimes a yarn bounces from queue item to to queue item so often, sometimes you just have to turn it into something before it goes back into the deep stash not to be seen for years. So after never finding the right pattern for the Tosh I decided to just use it and make the Calm Cowl, which has been on and off my queue for months.
I really need to crochet more, I do enjoy the activity and the fabric it makes is really different from knit fabric, which means it has different applications. Maybe some crocheted toys like those made by Stacey at Fresh Stitches.
– Details –
Project Name: Flower Cowl
Pattern: Calm Cowl by Suzana Davidovic
Yarn: madelinetosh Tosh DK in Smokey Orchid
- Crochet in the Round: although I don’t think I succeeded at it (there are some weird spots where the rounds join)
- Yarn: Tosh DK is always awesome, although the skeins were different and I should shave be alternating rounds but didn’t, whoops, that is the joy/danger of working with hand dyed yarns.
- Pattern: Clear and fine and the FO matched the pattern, although it could have been written in fewer steps, even for a crochet newb like me
Re-Crochet?: Probably not, I prefer knit cowls, but I do enjoy crochet and should do more of it.
So, despite all sorts of other distractions, I have managed to have a pretty good fiber week. I warped and wove a scarf since last week and my test knit is getting to be about halfway done (I’m not really allowed to show it, yet, but the Seabreeze yarn was just too pretty to exclude). I finally “turned’ my first short row heel on my Felici purse socks, and I must confess I really like knitting the garter shortrows, no wraps to pick up.
The green socks haven’t really gotten started yet, it is currently my “have to think” knit priority and once it is done I will be diving into them so I can get them done by the end of the KAL being hosted by Sweet Georgia herself. The purple cowl has made several apperances in public and I enjoy it as it is pretty much all *SC, Ch1* making it a great knit for dinners out.
Also, I have started spinning again. I was getting really discouraged about the yarns I was making but I spent most of Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at my desk finishing off a consulting project and I entertained myself by watching all the Interweave spinning and weaving videos I downloading both before I got my wheel (December 2010) and a few months ago. Thanks to Judith MacKenznie’s video “A Spinner’s Toolbox” I am managing to spin a semi-worsted yarn and that is deeply exciting. I split up this top braid a long while ago with the intention of spinning a fractal 3-ply . I am going to stick with that plan, but I am expecting it to be super bulky due to my spinning style and that I am spinning it on my largest pulley.
I think I mastered the trick of not getting loopy selvedge or too much draw-in.
Isn’t it great when you try something new, think you know what you are doing and then find out you are completely and totally wrong about it. This project was a comedy of errors, I didn’t calculate my warp correctly and I un-warped my loom, there is a reason a person doesn’t un-warp a loom then I made the primary error of combing my warp with my fingers which totally effed up my warp tension and then my warp separator wasn’t rigid enough and so my tension got even worse.
Oh look, a mistake!
And after messing up the warp I managed to increase my loom waste by a solid 8″ and make my cloth not long enough for what I was intending (a two-loop cowl), so instead I tied the fringe together to make a loop and it can only be worn as a single loop.
So this was more of a less of a project and more of a lesson in weaving. That is okay, it is a neat FO but it helped inspire me to get things right on the next project, which I have finished and will show up on the blog some time in the next week.
– Details –
Project Name: Apricot Jam Ring
Pattern: Plain Weave
Yarn: Patons Grace in Apricot
- Hemstitching – Although I kinda messed it up this time
- Yarn: This is my first time working with 100% cotton for something other than dishclothes, it certainly has a different feel than wool (my preferred flavor of fiber)
- Draft: So many lessons in one tidy little package, balanced weave, selvedge, not messing with our warp.
Re-Weave?: Yep, but I will get it right the next time.
I love me some cowls, I have knit 13 of them since the start of 2011, long and short, cabled and lace. Here is another one for the stash. The yarn, a merino, cashmere, silk blend is so fantastically luscious and the pattern as easy to follow but engaging.
The designer of the pattern called it “a thousand splendid suns”, my variation (thanks to the color and my geography) made me think of all the thousands of little lakes that are to be found in and around the Georgian Bay area. Each lake unique and slightly misshapen, much like my little circles, most are about the same size but each were made at a slightly different tension so they are all unique and interesting in their own way, and not in fact a mistake in the pattern.
I think this cowl reminds how beautiful and fun a simple (ie. not tonal or varigated or sparkly) knit in a simple pattern (ie. not a complex lace pattern) can be really beautiful and wonderful to wear.
– Details –
Project Name: a thousand splendid lakes
Pattern: a thousand splendid suns by Cecilia Flori
Yarn: Rapture by Squoosh Fiberarts in Beachcomber
- Turned Hem – I have done one before but this is the first time it didn’t suck
- Sun/Lake Motif – The slipped stitches required to make the suns was a unique stitch I don’t think I a
- Yarn: Very, very nice yarn. The color is very vibrant and the base is so yummy. It is a similar blend to madelinetosh Pashmina, but I don’t have any so I can’t compare. My one surprise was how much it draped during blocking. I didn’t put it under any tension and I swear it doubled in size. I am still happy with it, but for sweater makers, a little swatch blocking would be a good thing for this yarn.
- Pattern: A good, error-free short (which is a bonus) pattern. The instructions were clear and the finished object looked like the photo.
Re-Knit?: Probably not, it is a cool pattern but the resulting cowl is an awkward size for me (too short for two wraps and too long to be tight on a single loop). But it is very, very cool and a great color, and very, very soft.