Jumping On Board the Cowl Train

In case you haven’t noticed, cowls seem to be quite the “in” accessory this winter. Never let it be said that I’m one to avoid a good trend when I see one. Of course, the sun is shining in my window, the temps are rising, and I swear I heard a robin singing the other day so I might be a tad late to be hopping on board the cowl train this winter but hey! Let’s just say that I’m getting a jump start on next winter’s chilly woes.

In case you’re wondering what in the world IS a cowl, perhaps I should give you a definition. The Collins Essential English Dictionary, 2nd Edition defines a cowl as “1. a loose hood, 2. a monk’s hooded robe, and 3. a cover fitted to a chimney to increase ventilation and prevent draughts…”. For purposes of this discussion, we’re talking about definition #1.

Spiraluscious Cowl

Spiraluscious Cowl

This month, the Loopy Ewe Spring Fling group up on Ravelry was challenged to knit up something by that talented designer Anne Hanson of Knitspot http://www.knitspot.com/knitting_pattern/
so I picked her pattern Spiraluscious Cowl. It’s an interesting pattern with swirling lines of stitches that create that spiral effect. I goofed in a few spots but once I got the hang of it and could see what was supposed to be happening, things calmed down and I was knitting merrily along.

closeup-of-fringe-on-cowl

Looking at the edging on the bottom of the cowl, you can see Anne’s trademark gorgeous design work. It is actually very easy to do with a simple row repeat that is knit on after you’ve finished the body of the cowl. I viewed this as a learning experience. You learn how to do a provisional cast-on for the edging and then you learn how to do a knitted-on edge. Then, with a quick Kitchener stitch to close up your edge, you’re done. I soaked and did a gentle blocking of my cowl because I had used fingering weight yarn and Size 1 knitting needles. Without the blocking, it fit over my head fine but the bottom curled up. With blocking, it was just right.

closeup-of-spiraluscious

I used Cherry Tree Hill’s Possum Sock Yarn to make up this cowl. It was a soft yarn to work with but I am finding it a bit scratchy on my skin. Hopefully, it will continue to soften as I wash it. I’m loving the colors , which is their colorway “Never Land.” This yarn is made up of 80% Superwash Merino and 20% New Zealand Possum so I think I can wash it in the washing machine on delicate and then lay flat to dry.

For those of you who have been considering trying a cowl, there is a Ravelry group devoted solely to the discussion of all things “cowl.” The name of the group is “Cowls.” There is also a group up on Flickr that posts their pictures of cowls. That group is called “Cowl is the New Scarf” and you can find it at http://www.flickr.com/groups/728395@N23/ . Of course, along with great patterns on Ravelry, if you aren’t a member on Rav (and what are you waiting for?), you can check out the free patterns at Knitting Pattern Central http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory/cowls_neckwarmers.php . And last but not least, if you just want to buy a pre-made cowl, I’d highly recommend heading over to Etsy http://www.etsy.com/ to drool over the many handcrafted offerings there. Just type “cowl” into the search window in Etsy and have fun. You’ll see all manner of cowls offered for sale.

  • Your Spiraluscious is beautiful…I love Anne Hanson’s patterns and have knit many of them but have yet to try one with a knitted on edge…it just seems a little intimidating to me.

    • booklassiedee

      Thank you, Karen. I’ll bet you could do a knitted on edge, especially if I can do it. There were only about 8 or so stitches in this edging so, even though it seems like it would be quite complicated, you are only working back and forth on a few stitches and then picking up one or two of the cowl stitches as you go.

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