I just finished this little neck-a-ma-thing, and it turned out really well! The pattern is Annabella’s Cowl, and the yarn is Fleece Artist Back Country, a super soft, machine washable merino wool made right here on Canada’s East coast. The yarn wasn’t exactly like the ones they called for in the pattern, so I used a larger needle and cast on fewer stitches (you can find all of our modifications in our project notes on Ravelry).
The project only took one skein of Fleece Artist Back Country, and I’m happy with the size – not too big, not too tight. The pattern was extremely easy, it’s definitely beginner friendly (probably a good project for a novice once they’ve learned knit and purl. It’s a great knit in front of the TV kind of project, especially if you need to whip up a gift in a rush.
More Yarn Options
The pattern was originally designed with a yarn like Handmaiden Maiden Hair, which would knit up beautifully on 5mm/US8-16″ circular needles (only 1 skein required). It would also be yummy made with Drops Brushed Alpaca Silk (use a single strand and 5mm/US8 needles (two skeins) for a light, airy version, or two strands held together and 6mm/US10 needles (4 skeins) for a thicker, cozier neckwarmer). If you want a yarn option that’s a little less precious try Berroco Vintage Chunky (1 skein) with 6mm/US10 needles.
I love the pixelated, woven look of linen stitch, and I also love that working it in the round makes it super easy – it’s just the same two stitches for every round. The yarn, Manos del Uruguay Alegria, is one of our favourite staples, a beautifully dyed merino blend that’s super soft, but also has some resilience which makes it great for all kinds of garments, including socks! And as icing on the cake the company, Manos Del Uruguay, is a non-profit organization that was created to give economic, social and personal development opportunities to the women in Uruguay’s countryside (they’ve been a member of the World Trade Organization since 2009).
Manos del Uruguay Alegria: 2 skeins (1 skein each of 2 colours; contrast colour is a semi-solid, the main colour is variegated/multicolour) ON SALE TO SEPT 6
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I just finished a Stripe It Cowl, it just needed to be photographed properly. I used 4mm/US6 needles for the ribbing and 4.5mm/US7 needles for the body of the cowl. I’m super happy with it, and I think all of the colourways will look glorious!
Mini Knit Hack
One secret to a happy project: use the darker end of the colourway for the bottom of the project and the brighter colour for the top, darker colours look more balanced on lower parts. In my project, the pin & green is darker than the orange & blue, so it went on the bottom.
As you may already know, I’m already thinking about my own holiday gifts (I know. it’s sweltering out there, but I’m determined to get ahead of the curve this year). I really love this yarn, Urth Uneek Worsted, and I found this extremely simple cowl designed with it. It’s so easy a beginner can do it, and it only takes 1 skein and 1 pair of needles to make it – I’m thinking perfect last minute cottage project.
I encourage you to take a look at the finished projects to see how different colours knit up – I guarantee you’ll fall in love with at least one of the colourways. To get an idea about how the different colourways knit up you can take a look at the fingering weight version of the same yarn.
I just finished making this cowl myself (I’ll photograph that pronto, promise) and it fits casual and loose. If you want something more fitted you should omit some stitches.
Superwash yarn tends to loosen up after being washed. If you like your cowls on the drapy side, stick with the prescribed 4.5mm/US7 needles. If you like the fabric a bit more firm, go down to a 4mm/US6.
I find really interesting things when I browse through the patterns on Ravelry …. one of the things I found this week was a micro-collection of the same cowl made over and over again in different colourways of Urth Uneek Fingering (ON SALE UNTIL THE END OF JULY). I thought it was awesome that this knitter, Deb-Knits, enjoyed her project and the yarn so much that she wanted to continue exploring and experiencing it. I also get it, the project is GORGEOUS, and it illustrates that all the colourways of Urth Uneek Fingering work up beautifully. And hey, is it ever too early to start holiday knitting?
Our Bulky Mobius Cowl is a great little last minute gift. It works up fast on 10mm/US15 needles and the mobius technique makes it entertaining. The yarn, Malabrigo Rasta, is stunning: it’s buttery soft and I’ve never seen a skein that didn’t knit up like a Monet painting. Plus, it’s a one-skein project!
Malabrigo Merino Worsted is simply divine, squishy, knitting pleasure. It’s a single ply, super soft merino wool with tons of loft (it fluffs up). Use it for anything worn next to the skin – it’s so soft and airy you’ll want to cuddle up in bed with it. Note: this yarn must be hand washed (it felts like a beast), but it’s so soft it not only feels like a baby’s bottom, you can also wrap a little tush in it too! It can also be knit very densely, which makes it great for knitting stuffed toys.
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.
Because all of the yarns we’ve suggested (above) bloom beautifully, you can try pushing your needle size up to a 12mm/US17 and omit a ball of yarn.
The yarn suggested in the pattern is super-bulky, so expect your cowl to be too. If this is too much for you, consider substituting a slightly thinner, bulky weight yarn, and smaller (8mm/US11) needles. If this seems too narrow, add a second cable pattern repeat.
The pattern is knit flat and seamed in a circle, but if you want to do something more knitterly like a 3 needle bind-off or kitchener stitch, you can cast on using a provisional cast-on (casting on with scrap yarn).
I’m sorry you haven’t heard from us lately, we’ve been really busy merchandising all the new stock that’s been arriving for fall! You’ve probably been doing more knitting than I have, but Liane finished this Honey Cowl last week.
It’s a super simple knit, easy to make, great to wear (or gift), the pattern is free, and there are almost 24,000 projects for it in Ravelry! We made ours with one skein of Wollmeise DK (currently on SALE), but you can use 200g of any Worsted weight or DK weight yarn. My only suggestion is do not use a yarn that is very fluffy or textured, you’ll lose the beautiful stitch definition. Solid colours, heathered colours, semi-solid hand paints, variegated and self-striping colours all seem to look great with this pattern!