Time for another knitting post! Here are the main details:
Pattern: Moonwake Cowl
Designer: Drea Renee Knits/Andrea Mowry
Yarn: Berroco Vintage
details: worsted weight; machine washable blend of 52% acrylic, 40% wool, and 8% nylon; colors are midnight blue (#5185), sky blue (#5170), goldenrod (#5127), and pale pink (#5110)
Needle size: US 7, 16″ circular wooden interchangeable needles from Lykke
And now for the chatty details:
Today I want to share the Moonwake Cowl pattern that I knitted up in Berroco Vintage yarn. So far, stranded colorwork is my favorite type of knitting. I absolutely love it. You get to use different colors while creating what is essentially a print as you make your fabric/item, and it’s interesting to see the design emerging little by little as you follow the chart.
The structure of this cowl is a tube that is twisted into a Moebius strip, so it always sort of has that twist that you might see in a long cowl that has been doubled up, but without the bulk. The tube construction means that you are always seeing the outside when you wear it, and you really don’t have to do much (or any) weaving in of yarn ends, because they’re hidden inside the cowl. Since I had never made a cowl like this, and I liked the colorwork pattern, I wanted to give it a try.
I got my yarn this summer while in Michigan at Yarn on Front in Dowagiac, MI. I basically copied the colors in the pattern sample. I looked around the shop at different options for awhile before settling on Vintage. I’m finding that I choose Berroco yarns often for projects these days. They have a decent variety of yarn types of good quality at a fairly reasonable price. They don’t have every color in the rainbow, but they have a pretty good range of colors and, in this case, the exact colors that I wanted. I can get a little snobby about only using natural fibers, but I have to admit that this is a nice-feeling yarn that was great to knit with. So, I’m trying to be just a little more open-minded on that front.
I held my pink as my dominant color when I was knitting with it, and generally just tried to keep my lightest color dominant on any given row. If you’re wondering what in the world I am talking about, it’s this: when you are working with two colors of yarn, the position you hold each color in determines if it stands out or recedes, so I held my pink (or other lighter colors) in the position that would make them stand out more than my darker colors. It’s pretty cool how that works.
I didn’t bother with a gauge swatch before beginning since this isn’t a really fitted garment. The pattern starts with a provisional cast on, which Andrea has a YouTube video tutorial for. Then you knit in a tube until a specified length, twist one end 180 degrees, and join the two ends with the Kitchener stitch (she has a video for that, too). I tend to knit loosely, so I ended up not needing to repeat the colorwork chart more than twice to get the length I needed. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure my work and find that out until I was half way through the third repeat of the chart, so I had to rip back a bit, but I’m glad I did, because the length specified by the pattern is just right.
I didn’t enjoy knitting this quite as much as I expected to, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the pattern, which is excellent. I had other projects I wanted to get to, and I think my excitement for them took away from my enjoyment of this project. One thing that was great, though, was that my husband got me a Cocoknits Maker’s Board at Pintuck & Purl’s Maker’s Day sale, and this was the first project I used it on. The Maker’s Board is really just some metal sheets inside washable kraft fabric, so it’s a simple design, but it’s really helpful for holding colorwork charts and keeping your place in them. It comes with several small, very strong magnets. I eventually also bought the magnetic ruler and gauge set to use to keep my place on wider charts and asked for the metal-backed row counter for Christmas, but for this project, I didn’t have those, and putting the two small rectangular magnets that came with the board together helped me keep my place since this chart isn’t all that wide. Prior to this, I kept my charts in a plastic sleeve and kept my place with washi tape and a row counter, just in case my pattern shifted inside the sleeve. That worked, but this works a bit better and it’s also such a pleasure to have nice tools. I’m very thankful for the gift.
As for the finished cowl, I really like it. It is comfortable and warm, and I love that no matter how you wear it, the right side is always out. That is the saddest part of wearing the couple of other colorwork cowls I have–they always flip over so the inside shows instead of the patterned outside. I love that this solves that problem. Andrea Mowry has another cowl with this same construction called the Velvet Mirror Cowl that I wouldn’t mind trying one day. I think it’s a really smart design.
The Mookwake Cowl took me from the beginning of September to the beginning of December to finish, but most people could fly right through this. I tend to have a few sewing and knitting projects going at a time, and usually only knit for a little while each evening, so things take me awhile.
Final estimation: great pattern, great yarn, great tools (the Maker’s Board). Item needed: I should have focused more on enjoying this pattern while I was in the midst of it. I’m definitely enjoying the finished cowl now.