Cowl Crazy

Happy New Year everyone.  I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and received some nice knitting and crafting gifts.  My sister gave me Clara Parkes’ new book The Knitters Book Of Socks and that made me very happy.  I have a ton of sock yarn lying around the house, and I can’t wait to dig into some of the patterns. I made several pairs of socks last fall (OK, I confess: I still need to knit the second Jaywalker) so I’ll put socks away for awhile.  But I’m going to read the book from cover to cover first and savor Clara’s incredible knowledge and love of all things yarn.

Right now I’m knitting two cowls at once. I know, I’m crazy.  I started Ann Weaver’s Albers Cowl in November, fresh off my sock-knitting jag.  You can buy it on her website or on Ravelry. It’s a devilishly cute and easy knit made up of log cabin squares.  It’s nice mindless knitting that I can churn out on my lunch hour at work.  This pattern made me overcome my aversion to all garter-stitch garments.  So why am I knitting a second cowl?

I’ve developed a little New Year’s tradition over the past couple of years.  I like to cast on for a new project bright and early on New Year’s Day, no matter how many WIPs I have going. I choose a small or simple pattern like basic mittens or accessories so I can finish it relatively quickly and return to the other projects I have on the needles.  I cast on for a new year to symbolize a new beginning.  I choose something that can be finished quickly to symbolize the importance of following through, but I take care not to put any obstacles or anything insurmountable in my path.  In other words, enjoy the process, don’t sweat the small stuff.  I like to think this will bring me luck for the new year.  This year’s new project is Lion Brand Yarn’s free  Cloudsong Cowl pattern.  I adore the color palette and the simple fair isle.  Keep reading for cowl details:

Albers Cowl

The Albers Cowl uses sock yarn and is a great way to use up all that extra stash sock yarn lying around the house.  Not that I’d know anything about that…I used Knit Picks Palette because I love the stuff, and I have the warm palette sampler they sold a few years ago still in its original plastic bag.  This cowl was a perfect way to make something useful out of it.  Plotting out all the colors to use for each square made me realize something about this sampler: no matter what the color, all of the shades are very similar to each other.   The browns and tans in particular are virtually identical when placed side by side.  I did a lot of playing around before settling on the color sequence.  I actually cast on for this project twice.  The above picture is my second attempt, the square that I like.  This is the first square I knit:

It’s feeling…groovy. Not that I take the comments of others to heart, but my sister remarked that the color combination made it look like a potholder from 1972.  And I have to say, I agree. :0  I think the yellow is the real culprit here.  I was desperate for a color that stood out from the others, but when taken together, all I can see is that “classic” harvest gold/avocado combination those of us of a certain age grew up with (think  kitchen appliances).  It was a pain to cast on for another square but I’m glad I did.

Cloudsong Cowl

The cream, magenta and green colors Lion Brand uses spoke to me of the spring blossoms that will be here before we know it.  They were too perfect together to alter.  This is knit with Cotton-Ease yarn in Sand, Hazelnut, Azelea and Cactus on circular needles.

I didn’t have the right sized circular needles so this project gave me the perfect excuse to try the Knitters Pride circs everyone on Ravelry has been talking about.  My LYS’s owner had positive things to say about them and showed me a pair she was knitting with.  Each sized needle uses a different color of wood.  These are size 7 on a 24″ long cable, and they’re a gorgeous black with white marbling.  But the real test is how they knit and not how they look.  These are very nice to work with.  The join is smooth and doesn’t snag my knitting. Now, I love my Addi Turbos, but the real reason I have so many pairs is that they are the only circs the LYS closest to me stocks.  The store that stocks Knitters Pride also stocks Knit Picks needles.  It’s nice to have a cheaper option close by, even if it is a slightly longer drive (the Mexican restaurant nearby also makes the trip worthwhile!).

Last week brought temperatures in the single digits.  Some areas saw below 0 with  the windchill factor.  On Wednesday it was 8 degrees in the Boston area.  It was not a good day to lose knitwear, yet two people did just that.

This is the first piece of sad knitwear I came across.   Someone lost this, or left it on the coat hanger, at work.   This is a cute little scarf, and it looks handknit.  Someone either made this and left/lost it, or someone made it as a gift and it was left behind.  Maybe it was deliberate? We all know how some people don’t appreciate handmade knitwear. But I don’t think it was deliberate. 🙂 It’s too bad, because single-digit days are the kind of days where you definitely don’t want to forget stuff like your knitwear.  I shrugged my shoulders and passed it off as an unfortunate oversight until I stepped outside two minutes later and saw this:

Someone else did the same thing. Or maybe it’s just one forgetful person.  Either way, there was at least one person kicking him- or herself on one of the coldest days of the year.  I just hope they didn’t have to wait for a bus.

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