It’s time for a little knitting…only a very little, because these days I’m primarily a garment sewer, but before I got serious about sewing, I was serious about knitting. Lest that give you any false impression of my skillz, let me set you straight. I’m no expert. I thought I had progressed pretty far, but I took about a three-year break once I really got into sewing, and in that time, not only did my skills atrophy, I started to realize how much more there was to learn. I discovered that if I really wanted to, I could become an excellent knitter…but that’s not my goal right now. Yes. I just told you I am choosing mediocrity. 😉
So what do I really want out of knitting? I want fun, small, easy- to moderately-challenging projects that I can do while talking with friends or watching a movie. I really enjoy knitting, but I don’t want to have to pay too much attention to it or fix mistakes. I want projects that don’t require perfect sizing, because that’s an area where I struggle, and I’m not ready to give knitting enough attention to fix that. I want my mental energy to go toward sewing, because right now, that’s where I want to be excellent.
So! We come to the point where I keep seeing truly gorgeous skeins of yarn. How can I use them in a project that fits with my requirements? Looks like it’s time to knit cowls! Cowls are the perfect project for someone like me. A cowl, as I’m using the word here, refers to a scarf that is a loop rather than a rectangle. I can choose a simple cowl and I immediately have a project that is portable, fun, and doesn’t require precise sizing. Once I figured this out, I made three cowls! Want to see?
Cowl #1: The Very Gifted Cowl
This pattern is from Churchmouse Yarns and was free. It’s very simple, with a cast on, an edging row, a body in basic stockinette stitch, and a bind off. The pattern also comes with a nice calculator so you can figure out how deep you can make the cowl with one skein of yarn depending on the weight you choose.
I used sock yarn from Hedgehog Fibres held double in a color called Cheeky. I just need to tell you that this yarn company is largely responsible for bringing me back to knitting again. I used to follow the owner, Beata, on Instagram because I just loved her beautiful yarn, but I had to stop because she was making me want to knit, and I wanted to focus on sewing! In the end, though, my
enabler friend Maggie at Pintuck & Purl, ordered some Hedgehog Fibres yarn for the shop, and that was it. I had to give it a try. I really enjoyed knitting with it, even though I normally shy away from such thin yarn. I still have a tiny bit plus a mini skein left for some future project.
Cowl #2: Portillo Cowl
This one is by Gale Zucker and is from the book Drop-Dead Easy Knits. It ticked all the boxes for me because it’s a cowl, it uses big yarn (which means it’s fast), and it’s also easy but still kind of interesting. You’re just using the garter stitch, but you change color a bit, which gives the cowl a cool look.
I used yarn from Yates Farm in Windsor, Vermont. This yarn dates back more than a decade to my initial yarn phase. I love it and wanted to use some of my partial skeins up. This was just the right project, but because it’s so chunky, it knits up pretty huge. This cowl’s going to keep me nice and warm! I still have a ton of needles from when I started knitting, but I didn’t have circular needles long enough for this project. In case you find yourself in the same boat, check out this economical option from Amazon. Score!
This cowl is not perfect. It’s not hard to see where I wove the yarn in or ignored a mistake, but I was going for a pleasant experience over perfection, so it is what it is. It bugs me a little, but not enough to go back and fix it. My friend’s and my motto for knitting is: “Don’t be a stressed-out knitter.” In other words, feel free to ignore your mistakes if you want to. So I did.
Cowl #3: Spidey’s Spiral Cowl
I’ve made this cowl before and given this pattern + yarn to knitting friends as gifts. You can find it on Ravelry for purchase or you can buy it through your local yarn store (I got mine at Pintuck & Purl). I really like how interesting it is, and because it uses such nice, chunky yarn, I actually don’t mind going back and fixing mistakes (once in a while). My attempt last year in Yates Farm chunky yarn didn’t turn out the way I hoped. It was more like a stiff neck tube, and I think it eventually made its way to the thrift store.
This time I made it in Baah Yarns Sequoia in a color called Yearling. I had plans to use a different colorway, but this pink was like cotton candy or a fluffy cloud, and when I saw it at Pintuck & Purl, I knew it had to be mine (See? Enablers!!!). I do think the final shape looks a little funny, but I don’t care! This is the softest, most luscious yarn ever, and I needed to make something with it. I even saved my tiny scraps, so I could just touch them.
One thing I will say about this yarn and the Hedgehog is that they smell sort of like a perm. Have you ever smelled that smell at a salon before? It’s sort of weird, but I think it’s because of the dyes they have to use. You really don’t notice it unless you are keeping your project in a plastic bag, so maybe use a cloth bag (or just don’t be surprised)?
So that’s it! I now have all the cowls! What on earth am I going to knit now? Maybe another try on last year’s hat? I would love to have a version that’s a little longer.
Thanks to my photographers for making me laugh so much. Now back to sewing!
- I updated my blog post on McCall’s 6751 (the cross-back top). It felt too exposed and unrealistic for my daily life, so I switched out the back piece and it’s so much better now! You can check out the new look by scrolling to the bottom of the post.
- Can someone make me this Color Dipped Hat from Purl Soho in these colors so I don’t have to make it for myself? It’s a free pattern! If you want to make it for yourself instead, that’s cool too. 😉
- If you’ve ever wanted to make a popover shirt (I know I do, even though I haven’t done it yet), Liesl has a free popover placket and tutorial on the Oliver + S blog. Check it out here.