Still Winter….

…despite Daylight Savings Time starting this morning.  (Ack.)  Well, a little more time to wear my newly completed handknits, right?

My Big Herringbone Cowl, made out of dreamily soft and lustrous single ply 50% silk/50% merino Catnip yarn from Twisted Fiber Art, in the Intriguing colorway (sorry, a club colorway), dyed Evolution-style.

This cowl is a long circular loop that can be worn like a long scarf that can’t slip off, or can be worn doubled around the neck as above.  It took a while to make, but was fairly straightforward once the stitch was mastered. (Though a warning:  If there is a way to drop a stitch down and fix, I can’t figure it out. I had to painstakingly and carefully undo the pattern stitch one at a time, which was not necessarily easy, to undo any mistakes.  There are a couple wonky stitches in there which remain, to teach me humility.)

At the link above to the pattern is a great photo tutorial about how to do the Herringbone Stitch in the round.  This stitch (also found in Barbara Walker’s Stitch Treasury volume 2, I believe) works up very densely, so that it needs to be done on large needles to have drape.  For this worsted weight yarn, I used US size 17 needles (12.75 mm), just as called for in the pattern!  And the fabric is perfect, to my way of thinking; drapey, but with a bit of structure, as you can see, I think.

The needles were a bit of a challenge. My Addi Turbos seemed so dull for the maneuvering called for in the pattern stitch, especially with slippery silk being knit on huge needles.  So I dug out a Susan Bates circular needle, bought some time ago and never used.

The tips were hollow plastic (light-weight is good, with huge needles!) and nicely pointy and smooth.  But the cable! (The part between the tips.)  Initially SO curly! A double curl, and stiff!  I foresaw fighting the memory in the cable the whole project.

However, I bethought myself of a trick I’d read about and never really had to use (being spoiled by Addis and KnitPicks cables, which are more flexible).  I boiled some water and carefully dipped just the cable part into the very hot water.

The cable went limp just like cooked spaghetti.  MAGIC!

I dangled it straight while it cooled, and the needles and their cable behaved themselves for the rest of the project.  Amazing.  Wonderful!

Other notes about this project: the Herringbone stitch has horizontal elements of what look almost like stockinette columns turned sideways on the ‘wrong’ side, as seen on the ‘on the needles’ photo just above. The wrong side thus also looks good, which is definitely hugely desirable in a scarf/cowl like this.  This is especially beneficial because the cowl does tend to curl.  Granted, I didn’t take the time to block it….but being essentially stockinette based (the pattern stitch is based on knit 2 together or knit 2 together through the back loop, on every row), it will curl up at the top and bottom edge a bit no matter what,, I believe, even with blocking.

Another note: the instructions say to cast off in pattern.  I found that when I did this on the project needles, the bind off was outrageously loose, floppy and sloppy.  So I switched to the approximate size needles (US size 8s, 5 mm) that the yarn would normally be knit on, for the bind off, with good results visually.

Still wants to roll, though.  The roll looks fine, so I let it.   It flips like a little turtleneck.

So:

an amazing yarn and dyeing tour de force (as always from Meg of Twisted Fiber Art), a cool and unique stitch pattern which works well with the color-changing Evolution colorway, and a great pattern combine to create a practical yet pretty winter accessory that goes with my winter-pale skin and my black winter coat.  What’s not to love?

That certainly seems to be the RockStar’s opinion too.  She asked if she could borrow this a week ago. I haven’t seen it since….

4 responses to “Still Winter….

  1. Lovely! Rock Star has good taste😉

  2. So pretty! I made a long cowl/scarf too and adore it. very lovely and nice.

  3. This is gorgeous! I want to make one too – is it one skein?

    • This was a double skein of Catnip: 420 yards. A truly luxurious cowl! (I am SO getting this back from my teenager.) The original pattern called for 500 yards of Blue Sky Alpaca’s Worsted, which actually is even spendier. I just knit until I ran out, which was a little shy of the 14 inches depth/width called for in the pattern (but is plenty wide for me when worn).

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