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 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.
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.
Lava Flow Cowl
We finished this cool accessory a few weeks ago, but unfortunately the holiday season always keeps us super busy. The design is so cool, the technique that makes the waves is really interesting, a fun new skill to add to your box of tricks. We used two skeins of Malabrigo Merino Worsted (ON SALE!) and 5.5mm/US9 needles. The the closure is a removable/reusable JUL Designs Leather Pedestal Button (size medium), you can see all our JUL closures HERE. (The grey sweater coat is something cool I picked up at Winners many years ag0 – sorry, there is no pattern available).