Knitting Through Hurricane Sandy

When Hurricane Sandy was approaching, one of the first things I did (after I did my grocery shopping) was make sure I had plenty of knitting on hand.  God forbid that I should run out of knitting if we ended up housebound for a few days.  I’m happy to report that the hurricane has come and gone and we weathered the storm with ease.  Most folks in my area were as lucky.  There are some who are still without power but we didn’t even have a major flicker.  Most businesses WERE shut down Monday and Tuesday, though, which gave me plenty of time to work on my current knitting project – the Inspira Cowl.

The Inspira Cowl is a fantastic pattern that comes with three different versions that you can knit.

1.  There is the Steampunk version, knit with fingering weight yarn.  This is the version that I am knitting.  The columns of colors are designed to have a staggered effect.

2.  There is the Afrique version, knit with Aran or Bulky weight yarn.  This has a very dramatic braided edge on the bottom, usually knit in a highly contrasting color to your other yarn choices, which really makes it pop.

3.  Finally, there is the Mesa Rock version, knit from Aran or Worsted weight yarn.

Cowls are such fun to knit.  They are usually quick to finish, economical (you don’t need a lot of yarn), and very versatile to wear.  The Inspira Cowl can be worn bunched around your neck like a regular cowl OR you can pull it down over your shoulders to form a capelet effect while it still is tall enough vertically to provide warmth for your neck.  This particular pattern is also free on Ravelry.   Believe me, it doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at Continental Knitting or knitting with two hands/two yarns, which is a great skill if you ever want to do Fair Isle knitting, this cowl gives you an easy practice piece to master a new muscle skill.  You’ll learn to work with a different yarn in each hand PLUS you will also learn to carry your non-working yarn across the back of your cowl.  You’ll get the chance to work on keeping your tension nice and relaxed so that your cowl will have stretch and be able to lay flat when blocked without being all puckered up because you might have pulled that yarn too tightly in the back.  I like to frequently spread my worked stitches out as I go for about a 3-4 inch area just to make sure my carried yarn in the back is staying loose enough.  Just don’t panic as you are working around the cowl if you think the carried yarn in the back looks too loose.  It’s normal for it to look that way because your stitches are being pushed together as you work around your circular needle.  Check it by stretching a section out to what would be your normal width and see if the yarn straightens out, instead of hanging down in unsightly loops.

If you go back and look at the top picture, you’ll probably be able to spot a little “blip” in my pattern.  I’ll tell you more about that when I finish the cowl.  It’s a good story and an excellent object lesson for double-checking your calculations before you begin a project.




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