The cowl is fnished

I am pleased to announce that I managed to finish off the cowl this last week. 0549-finished-cowlI have to admit that I haven’t finished the ends and I haven’t ironed it but I wanted to show it to you today.

Just a bit better ironed. But really pleased with it!


I have learned a lot!

When I continued the cowl after last week’s post, I did allow myself to not catch the yarn even when doing three stitches as  a way to speed up the knitting.

However when I got to about half way, I started to read advice on how to knit these two colour patterns and found that there were a lot of differences which was confusing but, reading what it said in the needlework encyclopedia I inherited for my mother, I did manage to start knitting with one lot of yarn held in the right hand and the other in the left, whereby the yarn on the right is thrown and the yarn on the left is picked up. It was more of a strain on my wrist but I even managed to work out how to catch the yarn for longer runs without leaving the yarn twisted. Here is the back. 0549-wrong-sideI find that there is more than half the wool left and so making a hat to match might be in order but this leaves me with a dilemma.

Next time I would like to try knitting more traditional fair isle patterns but they normally have reflective symmetry horizontally or vertically or both whereas the patterns in the cowl mostly have rotational symmetry so a hat done like that might look non-matching even if the colours were the same.

However I am going to have a break from knitting now and so plenty of time to think about it.


Fairisle cowl

I had hoped to have more of this to share with you but last Tuesday having planned an outing with my camera, I went down with the dreaded norovirus. They say one to three days, well I make it at least four! in my case. During this time all I wanted to do was rest with eyes gently closed, and, anyway, I didn’t want to risk contaminating my beautiful cowl.0548-one-third-of-cowlI found the cowl pattern on The Twisted Yarn’s blog HERE and absolutely loved it.

She used all sixteen shades of Stylecraft ‘batik’ yarn but I knew that doing the same would leave me with a lot of leftover yarn, so I calculated that four balls should be plenty. I was rather taken with the look of the ‘batik’.

So I went to a local yarn shop and chose my four favourite shades that I thought would work well together. (Teal, Raspberry, Violet, Sage)

Of course it wasn’t enough to just substitute colours for the sixteen in the original so I sat at my computer with my favourite drawing programme and played around with the colours till I produced a chart I could use. 0548-chart-for-cowlI found I had left one row out but luckily I discovered it! Can you see where? It’s the symmetry gives it away.

After earlier very poor attempts at fairisle type knitting I thought that this was a chance to master it, or at least to see if I could produce something acceptable. I think the batik effect of the yarn is fairly forgiving of irregularity.

I have been working very slowly and have found a way, laying each ball either side of me as I twist the yarn together, of not ending up with a tangle. I felt that my mother had twisted the yarn every stitch and that is what I have tried to do before but, as I can no longer ask my mother, I spoke to someone who said that she thought you only had to catch the yarn every two stitches so that is what I have done. 0548-my-fairisle-reverseHowever not up to my mother’s standard as you shall see below.

For those of you that like a story here is why I am so frustrated by my inability to knit fairisle and similar two colour knitting.

My mother knitted the most beautiful fairisle jumpers for my children 0548-mothers-knitted-jumperThis was my son’s favourite jumper for some years and as he loved it so much, when he grew out of it, my mother made him another in a larger size.

I had wanted to do the same for my grandchildren but all my attempts as this sort of knitting, large or small, have come out with a very irregular pulled look to them.

This morning I remember my mother’s knitting bag that I had inherited and how the lining is always coming adrift. So here is a photograph of the outside – 0548-mothers-fairisleand the reverse. 0548-mothers-fairisle-reverseIt does look as it she was twisting every stitch so I still have a long way to go to achieve that smooth, could almost have been made by a machine, look.

Since I think that the cowl does not look too pulled I will maybe leave mastering the every other stitch method for later.

Now to catch up on all the blogs I haven’t read over the last week!

Alpaca cowl

Having made a scarf for my daughter 0502-After ironingfrom some alpaca 4ply wool I had been given, I decided to use the rest to make a small cowl for myself.

Since I would be using circular needles and would be knitting it in many locations, I wanted a pattern that was such that

  1. It was less lacy than the scarf but still with holes.
  2. I didn’t need to look at the pattern
  3. or count rows.
  4. Whenever I put it down I would know where I was.

I couldn’t find anything that I liked that fulfilled the above so I wrote my own.


  1. Knit
  2. Repeat (Yarn over, knit two together) to end
  3. Knit
  4. Purl

Finishing on a 3rd row. Any even number of stitches. I chose 110.

I counted it as a bonus that the holes lined up in a diagonal fashion as that had been one thing I had thought of doing but couldn’t see a way to achieve it without an obvious changeover point.

Here it is finished. 0529-knitted-cowlI realised that although I have seen many cowls like this, that because it was so soft that it tended to fall down so I crocheted in some shir-elastic along the top to help hold it up under my chin.

I thought it would be handy to wear when I didn’t want the extra bulk of a scarf. 0529-cowl-worn

Couldn’t get the colours to look right though! The cowl is more crimson and the cost a deeper pink.




Another project completed


In January I told you that I had acquired another couple of projects for this year and showed you a photograph of how far I had got on one of them.

Rainbow cowl

A scarf/hat tube thingy (or ‘cowl’ as I have now been told to call it) for someone I meet on Tuesdays who saw me wearing mine, wanted one and asked me if I would make one for her.

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Now having made one for myself originally, I shared the pattern here:-

but I will share a few photographs of my latest one.

Here is the whole thing – all 30 inches of it.

One side

and the other side

Other side

I think you can see the place where the yarn is joined in this one. There was one place where there was a knot and another place where the yarn went very thick and fuzzy and so I had two joins which annoyed me. Luckily I managed to finish off the ends without them showing. It is especially annoying to have ends when knitting with circular needles as you can’t have the join in the seam as there isn’t one! (Had the same issue with one of my socks.)

With something like this you need to use a stretchy cast on and cast off.

I have learnt that if you cast off onto a needle that has twice the diameter of the one you were using for the item it gives the necessary stretch.

There is a cast off out there – Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off – that I tried but that is effectively the same as using the larger needle so I went back to that.

Cast off

I rolled up the last ten inches and got this. Can you see how the pattern changes back and forth from swirly stripes to random colours? I hadn’t expected this and couldn’t decide if it was due to a subtle change in my tension or was the way the yarn had been coloured.

Have you ever had this happen to you?

End rolled up

Here is another photo showing the inside

Showing the inside

Extra projects and a repair

Since I made my list of projects for this year I have added two new ones! 🙂

Both are for things I have been requested to make.

The first that I started is here.


This is for someone who saw me wearing the (well people seem to call it a cowl) – seen on the left in the picture below – that I made a few years ago (Post HERE)

The new and the old
The new and the old

and asked if I could make her one. She said that she liked ‘colourful!’ so I chose some similar yarn to that I used before but in a different colourway.

You may notice that the first part turned out rather differently to the later part. I can only imagine this is a change in the way the yarn was coloured as it is simply a tube. Luckily that part will be under the coat or jacket or I could roll that part up instead of the end. (I have to make 30ins altogether).

In order that it doesn’t delay me too much on my other projects, I am trying to knit it on the bus and other in-between times.

Interestingly, I remember when I made my Buff® – HERE that after the first few inches I found it a bit boring to go on round after round for, in that case, just a total of 18ins. I am not finding that this time and I think that that is largely because I am enjoying the colours so much. (The Buff® was made in shades of brown and white.)

The second item I have made for someone else, is because I remembered that my dishcloth had been approved of as being good for cleaning surfaces over Christmas and the person concerned had said they would like one.


As it does not take long to make a dishcloth I made them one but this time I used a different pattern in the hopes that this dishcloth would be as good at cleaning but would be easier to wring out and quicker to dry than the previous one.


It is simply a row of chains then trebles (US – dcs) into each stitch and on subsequent rows trebles worked into the spaces between the stitches on the previous row. I used a fairly large hook to make it looser.

I noticed that when I did a Google search that there are an amazing number of different and some very pretty dishcloths out there but very few are loose and holey.

And repair!

Well I should have taken a picture of the hole, but much to my regret I found that one of  my beaded slippers had developed a hole underneath the toe part. Luckily I had some of the yarn left and I realised that if I undid back to just before the hole, I could re-knit from there to the toe.

Here is a picture showing where the hole was.


You can see that most of the non-slip spots I had put on the underside have either come off or been removed by me because they were too bumpy. Next time I know, if I use that method, that I need to open the bottle and use it just once. Which has made me look for other solutions.

Since I didn’t want to end up taking the whole thing apart, I found myself using the circular needles ‘magic loop’ method but knitting back and forth, to knit something that had originally been knitted on straight needles.


I was able to rescue some of the original yarn. Here you can see the scraps and the ball of useable yarn I had after undoing to below the hole.


I am trying out a cheap idea for reinforcing the sole of the slippers. I had some thick dishcloth cotton that I thought was too thick for dishcloths, so I crochetted a simple sole and here it is tacked to the bottom of the other slipper. I am still thinking about the best way to sew it on.