I thought this cowl would make a great one-skein gift idea, so I gave it a try and I think it worked out really beautifully! I used one of my favourite bulky weight yarns, Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport, and the end result is SUPER soft and cozy! I had to make some modifications to make this project come out to it’s fullest potential, so please read the notes below before starting (and maybe print them off and keep them with your pattern instructions).
HACKS & Modifications
I made some changes to the pattern because let’s face it, you often get what you pay for with a free pattern.
- For the ribbing, I went down to a 5mm/US8 needle for the ribbing. 2×2 rib is normally a looser tension than other stitches, and you need to go down a needle size to mitigate this and prevent the ribbing from fanning out later.
- For the cable section, I went up to a 6.5mm/US10.5 needle, because the yarn is very fluffy and airy. If you are using a denser yarn with more definition (see suggestions below) you can stick with the prescribed 6mm/US10 needles
- Because my yarn is big and fluffy, and has a lot of aura (haze), the cable from the original pattern was not showing up or working well, and I had to switch it out for another type of cable that would show better. I went with a simple braided cable that I was already familiar with, Chart A from Lopi Braided Hat & Mitts. It is the same number of stitches as the original cable, so I just did the new cable instead of the old. If you use a yarn with more definition (see options below), you can do either cable.
- I worked 6 rounds of ribbing at the top and the bottom (to conserve yarn).
- I worked 4 pattern repeats from Chart A of the Lopi Braided Hat & Mitts, and changed to the ribbing after finishing row 6 of the chart.
- I don’t usually bother using a cable needle. Making cables without a cable hook is not a skill for the novice, but if you are feeling intrepid and are comfortable with retrieving dropped stitches and are good at ‘reading’ your stitches (recognizing where and what they are), you should definitely it give it a try, it can save you a lot of time and effort: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6DB6WhAKvY
- If you need to conserve yarn or change the size of the pattern, you can omit the first 4 sts of the pattern (the single rib at the start doesn’t really do much for the design). In *my project* (yours may be different), based on the total number of rounds, each stitch represents about 40 sts in the scheme of the entire pattern. Omitting 4 sts from the cast-on will give you about two extra rounds. Each cable represents 8 stitches, so you can increase or decrease the pattern in a multiple of 8 sts. If you want to modify this for a child you’ll definitely want to omit stitches, it fits an adult comfortably.
- Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport: 1 skein (colour 1870)
- 5mm/US8 – 16″ circular needles
- 6.5mm/US10.5 – 16″ circular needles
- Cable needle
- Tapestry/darning needle
- FREE Pattern for Manhattan Cowl
- FREE Pattern for cable chart we used (Chart A)
- Our Ravelry Project Notes
Other Yarn Options
We chose to use a fluffy, warm alpaca yarn, but you can use something firmer, which will give your cables more definition and your cowl less slouch – just use 6mm/US10 needles.