Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cowl me

I've got cowl on the brain. Once upon a time I thought these things were weird and useless but now I must have one, and pronto.

Fortunately, I've got just the yarn for the job: delicious cashmere sock yarn I picked up at Loop in London. When I put it on the swift for winding I became skeptical... the colors seemed clumped together and the yarn had sort of a crispy texture (which was hard to feel in the skein because it was twisted up very tightly). Things did not look promising. Silly, silly me - the yarn cake is a delight and the swatches are even better! The colors knit up nicely without a pool in sight. Of course, it remains to be seen if this continues across 130 stitches rather than 30, but I am optimistic.

I had originally earmarked this yarn for the lace cowl from The Purl Bee, but things were not gelling (note that color in this photo is way off). I started it on 6's, which were too big for the job, and in any event I didn't feel the lace showcased the yarn color or texture; it was all a muddle. The yarn is pretty enough to be featured in something simple and elegant, so I returned to the straight-forward cowl in Last Minute Knitted Gifts.

I swatched with needles 5, 4 and 3 (4 and 3 were in one swatch) and then gave them a Eucalan bath. I know it's been said time and time again, but I am a believer: Wash. Your. Swatch. People. The linen-y quality disappeared, the yarn became buttery soft and each stitch plumped up beautifully. The swatches also grew about half a stitch per inch. I decided on the 4's, but didn't have a pair of circular 4's in the right length so I had to order them and wait impatiently.

Now that they've arrived I have a new commuting project and soon a snuggly new cowl!


Terhi said...

Oh it's going to be lovely! The yarn looks really beautiful, and the simple pattern is a good choice, I think. :-)

keri said...

Love the yarn, that is so pretty! I had started that thing a few times but all the handpainted I used was too bright for the pattern. It needs something nice and mellow.

sooz said...

I've been contemplating knitting this too! I have 150gms of hand spun pure alpaca that increadibly soft. Let us knwo how it goes!!