Saturday, March 03, 2012

Insomnia and a Cowl or How Sometimes Things Just Come Together

As you may have heard (since I've been whining about it pretty constantly) I have had a cold lately. In trying to stay bundled up and warm while not spending all my time in bed, I've been wearing my little shawlettes around my neck a lot. I do this all the time when I'm well also but in this case it was partly to stay warm and protect my neck. They kept falling off though and I was getting very frustrated. I decided, for the first time in my life, that I wanted a cowl that didn't come undone, that you had to pull over your neck and it would stay on. Since I'm still on a yarn diet and really, I wasn't going anywhere to buy yarn anyway, I went stash-diving and came up with some lovely pink yarn.

There's a big old sticker over the label so I can't really read it but it does say that it's made of Angora, wool and nylon and that total (with both skeins) I have about 250 yards. I cast on and started knitting. In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I got this yarn from a friend's destash and she originally purchased it from Tuesday Morning, I think.
The reason I'm giving you full disclosure is that I started to have a few issues. The yarn was broken in quite a few places. I was able to splice it but I wasn't too happy about it. It was turning out pretty nice and fuzzy and soft and suddenly I noticed that my nose was even stuffier and I was starting to get itchy.
I think it was the yarn. I think I somehow have an allergy to it. What finally clinched it was that I ended up with a terrible headache. Now, here's what's strange. I've worked with angora before. I like angora. I think it's soft and lovely. I wanted to work with this yarn but I just couldn't. I'm wondering if there's some issue with the cleanser that's used to process angora commercially. Angora straight off the rabbit is fine but this and some roving that I was spinning at one time that was Cormo/Angora (and absolutely fabulous) gave me the same issues.
The headache is what really sealed the fate of this poor little yarn.

There it is. Glaring out from its plastic prison. Hah! I win. Except of course that I still didn't have a cowl. I was completely through the first chart too. That's 10 rounds of 130 stitches. (Oh dear, I just realized that was 1300 stitches. A few hours of my life, then it was whisked off the needles and imprisoned.)

Anyway, I still didn't have a beautiful cowl so I went back to the stash and came up with this:

Remember this? It was easy to find since it still wasn't actually put away. It's a smaller than 4 ounces skein of Gritty Knits Merino of the Month from November 2011. (It's less than 4 ounces because I took some of the spinning fiber off the braid and plan to use it for a different spinning project.) I just recently spun it into 246 yards of a squishy and soft sport-weight yarn.
I decided it was perfect and I cast on. I was going to knit myself through those first 10 rounds and go to bed but I couldn't sleep so I just kept watching video podcasts and knitting and knitting and knitting. By morning I hadn't had any sleep but I did have this.

A very lovely cowl. I literally put it on and laid down and got some sleep. When I got up I wove in the ends and took this picture for the blog.

Here's what remains of the yarn. I'm thinking it will probably end up becoming hexipuffs.
Back to the cowl. Here are:
The Stats:
The Pattern: Eleanor Cowl by Audrey Knight from Knitty
The Yarn: Gritty Knits Merino of the Month November 2011. Spun into 246 yards of sportweight yarn. (I have about 54 yards leftover)
The Gauge: I didn't measure my gauge, I just used the needles called for in the pattern and knit. I like it though so it worked out just fine.
The Needles: Size US 7, Size US 5 and Size US 4. The pattern calls for circulars in 16" of each, I didn't have 16" circulars of all those sizes and didn't want to knit it flat so I just used DPNs.
The Notes: This pattern was an absolute joy to knit, it turned out extremely lovely. The cowl could do with a good wash and block now but that would involve taking it off so we'll see how long it actually takes to get to that point. It's a bit taller than I would have thought, it sits quite bunched up on my neck so if I were to knit it again and I might, I think I wouldn't do that extra repeat of rows 23-49 on chart B.
If you are interested in a cowl at all, I suggest you check out this pattern, it's really quite lovely and well-written. It has directions for both knitting in the round or knitting it flat.
The Modifications: I did make a few modifications to this pattern. Any time there was a knit stitch in between a bunch of purl stitches or right next to a bunch of purl stitches, I knit it through the back loop to keep those knit stitches well-defined. I think it really added to the look of it and I'd recommend doing the same.

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