Once upon a time a knitter in Toronto, who had a tremendously messy house, took some of the time that she should have spent on housekeeping and knit something. Now, part of the reason that this knitters house is trashed all the time is because this is pretty much how she lives, and thing have only gotten worse not that she's reached middle age without anything really bad happening because she doesn't clean- but we digress. This slacker of a housekeeper sat down with a little ball of cashmere, and she fussed around until she had a very pretty cowl.
So pretty in fact, that she called it Pretty Thing, and it turned out that some other knitters (who probably had trashed houses too... since there seems to be a connection - not that we're judging or anything, just noticing that you can't knit and vaccuum at the same time) thought it was very pretty too, and they asked her for a pattern.
Now, the first knitter, the dumpy one with the sticky kitchen floor... she may have given these other knitters (the ones who are suspected of being way, way behind on the laundry) the impression that she would eventually get them the pattern, and then realized that she doesn't really make or sell patterns (and that making and selling patterns sort of isn't knitting) and then started hoping that they would forget about it.
Problem is, they didn't. Turns out that all of that time that the other knitters didn't spend doing laundry, was actually time that they had freed up for cowl stalking, and stalk it they did. Comments to the first knitter became charming but persistent like "Beautiful hat, you've done a lovely job with it. Don't forget I want that cowl pattern you slacker." Or "I've found that slipping the first stitch of every row gives me a nice selvedge, perhaps you could try that RIGHT AFTER YOU GET ME A COWL PATTERN WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG DON'T YOU LOVE ME?" and every time the knitter saw those she sighed and made a mental note to get right on that. She even wrote the pattern and forced her friends to knit it to make sure it was right. She just didn't do the second part. The part where she put it up for everybody. She knit instead.
The knitter was reasonably sure that the other knitters (the persistent ones with the smudged windows) had a crush on the cowl and would forget about it before she had to figure the next part out.
That didn't happen, and by the time the first knitter (who travels for knitting all the time and actually meets a lot of knitters) figured out that things were going to get personal (this was right about the time that a knitter asked her for the cowl pattern while they were in the ladies room at Sock Summit) and that it was probably worth getting on with it. Then, inexplicably, the knitter didn't do that, but she did send it out to a few more people for test knitting, while the other knitters, the ones who don't even think about the way the kitchen sink is anymore, upped the requests from "persistent" to "absolutely nagging". Still, a woman who's been ignoring a gansey for 3 years despite a level of nagging that is nothing short of elaborately dedicated is not going to be coerced easily.
In fact, the knitter pretty much let all of that be water off her back until two things happened. First, RachelH knit the cowl and said "There is nothing wrong with this pattern, stop pretending it isn't ready" and when the knitter countered with not knowing how to put a pattern up for sale, the formidable RachelH then emailed her instructions on how to do it, thus effectively painting her into a corner. (RachelH can be like that. It is her ability to wield the twin swords of fact and logic that both annoy the snot out of the first knitter, and compel her to love her to absolute bits, depending on what direction this superpower is pointed.)
The second thing, was that the first knitter decided that she would like to knit another one of the Very Pretty cowls, and then realized that unless she wanted an unprecedented level of nagging in which the comments to her blog (yeah, she had a knitting blog. Get over it) that she would have to knit in in secret... that she realized that she should just do it.
Turns out that it only takes about an hour, once you've taken 9 months to do all the other parts. Pattern available on Ravelry, or by clicking on the link under the picture there (which the knitter thinks will work for people who aren't on Ravelry?)
Moral of the story? Nagging eventually works. Bummer.
Yarn: I used 20g (.7oz) of Roving Winds Farm 2ply cashmere in soft grey-brown, which was less than 150m. (164y) Almost any very soft fingering weight yarn would do.
Needle: This cowl is knit in the round on a 40cm, 3.5mm circular or DPNs (that’s a 16” #4 for Americans) but use whatever needle gets you gauge. (There are not enough stitches to go around a circular larger than 40cm. Don’t try.)
Gauge: 24 stitches to 10cm (4”) but gauge isn’t tremendously important, as long as you don’t knit it so tightly that it won’t go over your head.
Size: small-medium (fits over my 21 inch head) Feel free to upsize if you don’t care to have it fit so closely to your neck, knit very tightly, or have concerns about big-headed- ness. You can add another 17 stitch repeat of the chart very easily, and each repeat will add about 5cm (or 2”). Remember that increasing the size will take more yarn.
This pattern has a chart, but does not provide line by line instructions. It’s only 61 rounds though, so I encourage you to try.