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cowl

My Favorite New Knit for Fall: Bayland Cowl

I’ll be honest. I am devastated that summer is coming to end. I truly am. I love the heat. The sun. The swimming. All the light that never seems to end.

And then there’s fall. Which has its own positive attributes. Pretty leaves. Pumpkin scented candles. Golden tinted light.

My new Bayland Cowl reminds me of fall. It’s not just the seasonal colorway–it’s the thickness from the worsted weight. It’s about preparation for cool mornings. Hikes through the redwood forest.  Walks around the bay at dusk. Layers.It’s been an adjustment moving back to the coast this past year. It’s so, well, coastal. The weather is different. The light is different. Everything just smells different. It’s cold when it should be hot.

And there’s water and wind everywhere.

And boats.

So many boats.

Did I mention my house is covered in beach sand?

I guess things could be worse.

This cowl is all about the bay. That unique ecosystem that bridges the gap between the Pacific and inland rivers. It makes me thinks of mudflats and salt marsh. Oysters and salmon. Egrets everywhere.

The Bayland Cowl is knit in the round with worsted weight yarn. Wear it long or loop it for warmth. The stitch pattern is easy–it’s all a balance of knits and purls with some slipped stitches thrown in the mix.

Easy peasy.

I worked up this cowl in Spincycle Independence. It was my first time working with their yarn, and I really loved the handspun look of the their yarn, even though it’s not actually hand spun. Plus, the company has an awesome ethic that I couldn’t’ support more.

The Bayland Cowl is available on Ravelry for $6 USD. As with all my contemporary patterns, the design has been reviewed by a tech editor. It has also been test knit by a remarkable group of volunteers, to whom I am indebted.

P.S. If you miss me between posts, keep your eye out for my quips of wisdom on Instagram and Facebook!

Garden Party Cowl Pattern Release

Like all good things in life, this new Garden Party Cowl design has been a long time coming. It was a quick and delightful knit–one of those designs that just flew off my needles. No problems. Completely cooperative. No frogging. No cussing. No crying.

That’s how I like to knit.

And then this dear cowl just hung around while I moved. Waiting.

Well, knit-universe, wait no longer.

This is the second time I’ve experimented with making videos to support a pattern launch. Fun+Terrifying+Kind of Goofy! There’s a second video here that’s actually a tutorial for working the smocked rib in this design.

Yes, I still have boxes to unpack and that latest cozy buzzword hygge is utterly and truly missing from my life at the present…BUT, I know (hope) I will get there. Besides, who said cardboard boxes laying about weren’t cozy? It’s all a matter of perspective.

The Garden Party Cowl is my second collaboration with an indie yarn dyer. I know you all were able to meet Stephanie from Knitley Road  last month. I loved using her yarn for this design. It was a single spun rustic fingering (three cheers for Canadian Wool!) that reminded me a lot of Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter. You can tell it comes from a sheep (a plus) but it isn’t itchy and has a ton of loft, especially after blocking (double plus check!). Stephanie sent over (down?) a speckled colorway, which have been super popular lately. I get the speckled craze after working up this design–all the flecks of color really are a lot of fun.

The cowl is knit in the round. Wear long or loop twice for warmth, coziness, or reducing your risk of getting hung up on a foreign object. #SnagsHappen. The design is nearly reversible (I am not a fan of the “wrong side,” to be honest) and is a good balance of knits and purls. This means there’s no folding, rolling, or general misbehavior of this cowl. It just works.

The Garden Party cowl is now available on Ravelry for $5 USD. (Subscribers, check your inbox for a 20% off coupon code!). As with all my patterns these days, this design was independently reviewed by a qualified tech editor and is available in a professional format with measurements in both English and metric.

This is a perfect project for those single skeins of sock and fingering weight yarn, and the gauge is flexible.

You can totally knit this.

Or, at least hit the little heart on Ravelry to add it to your favorites.

A few quick administrative notes:

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Solution to Too Many Scraps: A Leftovers Cowl

In our house, I am the primary consumer of leftovers.

I attribute this to at least an extra ten pounds of, well, squish.

Reed won’t even LOOK at leftovers in the fridge. The thought of eating something two days in a row is unfathomable to him, lest it be cookies or cake.

This leaves me with two options: eat it myself or share it with the chickens.

It kills me to see all my hard work in the kitchen and expensive organic groceries/home grown veggies go to waste, so I of course eat the leftovers myself.

Being a mom is hard work.

Leftovers aside, I have spent the past three days subsisting solely on Kozy Shack* chocolate pudding in a bowl with a banana. Usually I do the chocolate-berry combo, but I am still on a banana kick after Panama (where the bananas actually taste like bananas and not cardboard) and thus am pretending the imported bananas taste better than they actually do. The chocolate helps.

Would it be so bad if I fed Reed chocolate pudding and bananas for dinner every night too?  This would save me so much cooking time!

Hmmm.

You wouldn’t judge me, would you?

When it comes to yarn, I realized I suffer from the same overwhelming urge to Use It All Up.

And thus arrived the day when I realized my stash had three skeins of new yarn alongside three baskets of leftovers.

It was a little disproportionate.**

(Also disproportionate: my exercise time to knitting time ratio.)

On the bright side, I’ve done a reasonable job keeping the scraps organized and labeled, like with like. (Extra chocolate pudding as a reward for me!)

I gathered up my large Ziploc of Madelinetosh Pashmina worsted, collected from a handful of projects over the past couple of years, and decided to knit a cowl.

I never would have actually bought these colors to knit into the same project. I’m no color mastermind, but I don’t think they coordinate particularly well and better choices surely could be made for a colorwork project.

You know what I thought to myself?

Good enough!

Good enough it was! I just started knitting and making stripes! Easy peasy. I wish I would have transitioned the first big blue chunk differently into the first big rosey red chunk, but my vision adjusted as I knit.

Here’s the thing: I love this cowl. It is so stinking soft and snuggly and knit from one of my all-time favorite yarns. Who doesn’t need a wool-silk-cashmere blend cozied up around their neck?

I mean, seriously!

I have been wearing this cowl day in and day out. I even wear it when I do house work or the dishes (which is like 85% of my life).

Other project pluses:

— I finally learned how to knit stripes in the round.

— I switched up cowl shapes…usually I knit thin and long cowls, so they can be looped and twice. This time I went with the narrow and tall shape, which I almost prefer.

— It didn’t cost me (an additional) penny!

And….it used up all of my scraps! One bag down. Another half dozen or so to go!

 

*Have you tried this stuff?!?! The container boasts it is gluten free and kosher, two important qualities in any dessert. (Wink of sarcasm…)

**Scrap yarn blankets have absolutely NO appeal to me. ‘Nough said.

Linto Creek Cowl Pattern Release

Linto Creek Cowl knitting pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. Knit with two skeins of Lang Asia (yak silk blend). Simply dreamy.

In case you were wondering what you were going to do this weekend, I’ve got you covered. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to the Linto Creek Cowl, now available on Ravelry for $5.00 USD.

Bam.

I seriously loved this cowl from the very beginning. The silk-yak yarn was just so dreamy to work with. This is easily my favorite cowl I have ever knit, mostly because it behaves itself. Plus it was easy. I don’t like finicky. Or messy. I knit to relax. This cowl has been drama-free ever since it came off my needles.

Truly.Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

This is a simple knit-purl pattern. No cabling.

YOU CAN DO THIS.

Oh, and did I mention it’s knit in the round? Well, it is. No seaming, either.

Double bam.Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

I loved working with Lang Asia, a yak-silk blend. This was one of the few times I have strayed from wool. What can I say, I am sheep (or occasionally alpaca) loyalist.

The Linto Creek Cowl has been knit by a lovely cadre of test knitters. Many of them substituted yarns of the wool variety and seemed pleased with the results. (Check out their fabulous cowls over on the Project page.)

DSC_0015Linto Creek Cowl pattern by Andrea @ This Knitted Life. No cabling. No rolling. Knit in the round, so no seaming. Easy!

This is one of those patterns that will always work. Just grab some fingering weight yarn from your stash and go. The cowl can be worn long or looped twice for the cozy-snug effect. (It was HOT during our photo shoot, so we stuck with Loop Once.) Many thanks to the lovely and talented Anna for modeling!http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/linto-creek-cowl/peopleI really loved this mock cable stitch. It had so much depth. We’re talking yarn topography for miles. The hills. The valleys. So much going on.

(Did I mention the whole yak-silk combo was INSANELY soft?)

FullSizeRender So…if you are wondering what to cast on for the Olympic Knitathon or Ravellenic games, this is your knit. Think of it as fate.

(Note there is a new Ravelry thread for Olympic Knitathon Finished Objects here.)

IMG_1021-2

The Linto Creek Cowl can be found here on Ravelry. Enjoy!

When Blocking IS a Good Idea

When blocking is a good idea and basically rescues your project from certain death.

Call me a hypocrite. I know. I can’t even follow my own advice on the matter. I didn’t want to block this cowl because I feared the honeycomb stitch would wither flatly away. Before blocking, it was so plump and dimensional. And I loved that.

When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I developed this cowl in a big, fat loop because I wanted to avoid grafting. While I have FINALLY done enough grafting this past year to remember how to do it without re-watching the YouTube tutorial every stinking time, it’s still not my favorite thing to do. It requires a lot of concentration. I know myself well enough to know that my brain is not currently capable of such undivided focus.

My big ol’ loop construction created a problem. Of the devastating variety. My simple ribbed edges were folding in on one end, and the cowl was rolling a bit on the other end. The honeycomb was so luscious, but my cowl seemed fatally flawed.

I thought for sure it was going to require scissors. Or something drastic. Again.When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I didn’t want to do much. I sat with it for a week or so, picking it up now and again to ponder. I felt lazy. I didn’t want to cut the darn thing or unravel the cast-off. I just didn’t.

So I blocked it. Come as it may. What the hek.

I hereby offer this post as a compendium to my former opinion.When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea.

I was EXTRA careful to wring out all of the water before laying it flat to dry. I hoped this alone might spare my beloved stitch.

It didn’t. My plump honeycomb wasn’t quite so voluptuous. BUT my edges were behaving themselves and my cowl was rescued for a perilous fate as a cat blanket. Good thing too, because it’s a cashmere blend (Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted in Dried Rose).When blocking IS a good idea. A compendium to a prior post on why blocking is NOT a good idea. Now that all the drama is over and I’ve  come out the other end all smiles and sunshine, I love this cowl. It’s long enough to loop twice perfectly. The worsted yarn gives it enough heft to stand firmly in front of my neck, showing off what’s left of the honeycomb luscilicious with just the right pizazz, snuggle, and warmth.

I am happy.

Which just goes to show, sometimes you can be standing on the brink, fearing all is lost, drowning in the dark morass of knitting hell.

And then you block, that magical formula of wool and water that, with a bit of luck, has the uncanny ability to make all right in the realm of yarn and needle.

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