January 9, 2009

Pretty Thing

Very recently - about three minutes before I cast on this project, I got a skein of yarn for Christmas. It was a yarn that I'd seen a friend knitting with, and I'd fallen head over heels in love with it. This friend is the clever and generous sort, and I was so clearly and instantly smitten that she'd procured a skein for me and made a present of it.

It was this lovely bit of business...


Roving Winds Farm 2ply cashmere, in what they call a "soft grey-brown". (No. She's my friend and you can't have her. I'm not even telling you who she is so you can't suck up to her.) There's about 375 yards in that wee 60g (just over 2oz) skein, and each of them is a lovely, lovely thing. I wound it up straightaway, and began to cast about for a pattern to make with it, so smitten was I with it's comely nature. I knew I wanted a cowl, since the thought of that softness by a neck was so perfect, and I perused the internet and ravelry madly to that end. I saw many great cowls as I travelled, but it turned out that I was having that pattern problem again. The pattern problem happens to me all the time, and I bet you've done it. It's where I've already made up my mind about precisely what I'm looking for. I know exactly what it is that I want, how it looks, how much yarn it takes, what needle it's knit on, and I end up not so much searching for a great pattern, as trying to locate the pattern I can see in my head.

Now it turned out this time (as it does a lot of other times) that nobody had written the pattern for the cowl in my head, and so I decided that maybe I would try to write down what I saw, and hope for the best. Now, I'm not a designer, and the occasional good idea doesn't make you one, so this -despite being a good idea - at least the way it looked in my mind - doesn't always work for me. Usually I end up with a really horrendous kindergarten level interpretation of what was in my head, because my head cares nothing for reality or the rules of knitting.
Not this time. This time I knit a tiny swatch for gauge, called Denny to see how big she thought a good cowl was (Denny is experienced in the ways of the cowl), consulted a few stitch dictionaries to see if my brain was even remotely on the planet, worked up a chart (thank you, knit visualizer) and started knitting.


Several dreamy hours and 61 rows later (that's a lie. The chart is 62 rows but I knit 74 because I had to rip out a part and change it because I was knitting a series of strange beak like structures into the thing.)


I love it. It is exactly, precisely, 100% what I had in my head, and considering the sort of place my head is, that's a miracle. The edges swoop the way I thought they would, the middle pulls in the way I wanted it to.


It's delicate and strong, feminine without being wildly princessey, and warm without bulk. I'm really, really thrilled with it.


The best part (beyond a 61 row cowl, which is pretty darned good) is that the cowl weighs this:


And the leftovers....


weigh that. Dudes. I can make three from one skein! (This makes me want to walk into a yarn shop like it's a local pub and shout something along the lines of "cowls for all my friends!" I may do that, actually.)

I may not be a designer (actually, I'm really not) but this wee cowl was definitely one of my better ideas. What a pretty thing.

Posted by Stephanie at January 9, 2009 1:30 PM