I’ve been asked more than once “How many of those things do you own?” I usually answer “more than is normal, less than is crazy”. In my opinion, the cowl is the perfect knit accessory. They’re warm, fashionable, easy to make and fun to wear. My new mantra:
The cowl is to the scarf what the muffin top is to the muffin. -me.
Okay, my love for cowls may be verging on crazy. I’ve recently started justifying shoe purchases by knitting cowls to match them.
Example #1 – These little green ballet flats. A fun color, but with a netural wardrobe, I wear them surprisingly often. Well, I’ll be wearing them even more often this fall with this matching cowl.
It’s the Ridged Lace Cowl by Elinor Brown. I knit it in the luxurious Angora Bamboo yarn by Patons. It’s lacy and soft without being bulky. The perfect compliment for these dainty little flats.
Yeah, it’s hard to imagine how a pair of bright pink knit boots will fit into your wardrobe. That is, unless you know how to whip up a matching pink cowl in two hours or less. These boot/shoes are by one of my favorite shoe companies, Simple. They use great ecological manufacturing processes like non-toxic glues, recycled tire soles, natural and organic materials.
Their perfect compliment? – another one of my 50 stitch cowls. (Actually, this one’s 46 to be exact). Lion Brand Thick and Quick yarn, size 13 circulars, knit til you’re out of yarn. And Voila! A simple, sporty knit cowl to match those Simple sporty knit boots.
So go ahead, find that piece in your wardrobe that you love but never wear and see if a matching cowl doesn’t move it to the front hanger.
Posted by hilary on October 19, 2010
I just got back from a vacation in northern new mexico. It had all the elements of a great summer getaway – cooler weather, secluded mountain cabin, high altitude backpacking, and plenty of quiet time to knit. In preparation, I picked a project ,Triangel by Caroline Lang, that I’d been admiring for months. Granted, I’m a sucker for triangle shawls, but I love the eyelets and V pattern. It’s knit with a sock yarn on size 4 needles so I knew it would keep me busy most of the week.
I had a ball of Lion Brand sock ease in Rock Candy that I thought would be perfect. I love the colors and the self striping pattern. Well, I cast on and set to work. After the 10 hour car ride, I was making good progress, but a nagging feeling started to set in. I love this pattern but the yarn just wasn’t doing it justice. The horizontal stripes vs. the diagonal pattern was making me nuts. And, let’s face it -no one wants to see another yellow hat catastrophe. So, I took a big gulp and a quick trip to a yarn store and made the tough decision to start over.
Well, I’m happy to report it was worth it. I switched to a solid gray skein of Berocco Ultra Fine Alpaca and never looked back. It’s hard to walk away from 10 plus hours worth of work, but considering how many hours I put into the finished product, it was definitely the right decision. So, the lesson is – yarn choice is crucial to a great knit. Trust your gut and don’t be afraid to walk away and start over.
Lesson #2 – Inspiration is everywhere. The very next day I wandered into an outdoors store in Taos with a shelf full of hand knits. My favorite item? A pair of fingerless gloves knit in none other than the striped sock yarn I’d just abandoned. I’ve never been more excited to start frogging.
Lesson learned, inspiration found, and a lovely new scarf for fall. A great vacation indeed.
Posted by hilary on August 18, 2010
While visiting my sister and knitting coach in South Dakota last week I started leafing through her library of knitting books and stumbled upon Boutique Knits. I’d packed some Cascade Yarns baby alpaca that I’d gotten on sale and found a pattern that I thought would suit it perfectly. I may have thought wrong.
The sideways grand cloche looked perfectly elegant knit in grey. It’s a very unique pattern with a ribbed body, flat top and faux side cable. In my ambition to finish a vacation knit, I cast on with reckless abandon. It wasn’t until the next day that I finished up, tried it on, and realized…the look was less boutique and more, beehive. Maybe it’s the pattern, and maybe it’s the color, but I have to admit I’m having a touch of knitter’s remorse.
So the real question is, to frog or not to frog?
Frog (verb): to rip out a knitted project.
Sure, this sunny yellow yarn was a bargain, but does it really want to stay a hat, or be frogged into something new. I’m on the fence, so I’m asking for your help.
Thumbs up or thumbs down? Be honest, be brutal. I can take it.
Posted by hilary on July 26, 2010
I know what you’re thinking….Isn’t that nice that you made those cute matching cowls for your 4 friends. Well, don’t nominate me for friend of the year just yet. What you’re looking is my single biggest failure as a knitter.
And when I say biggest, I mean that literally. I was doing a little spring cleaning in my closet and came across the ‘scarf of shame’. And while my first instinct was to shove it back into the dark regions of my closet, it made me realize how far I’d come. And, how far this scarf had come – believe it or not, this is the second ugly product I made with this same yarn. It began life as a saggy weird bolero jacket and when it became apparent I could never wear it and be taken seriously, I decided to set out to make an “infinity scarf”.
I knew how to knit, I was young and naive, I didn’t know anything about gauge, or needle size, or circular needles. Here’s what I learned:
1. Knitting is a science. Needle size x yarn weight is directly related to the overall size of the finished product. And I’m not too proud to do a sample swatch when it really counts.
2. Circular needles are a tricky species. And when the stitches don’t go on straight, neither does the scarf. This one ended up horribly twisted and was a huge pain to knit.
3. And lastly – grey, black and white stripes look a lot better on a skunk than they do on your neck.
So, it’s back to the drawing board with this yarn. But, that’s the beauty of knitting – you can take a perfectly good ball of yarn, knit it into an ugly bolero, an even uglier ‘infinity scarf’, and, through the magic of knitting … someday a perfectly adequate pair of socks…for an entire soccer team.
Live and learn.
Posted by hilary on May 1, 2010