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Pattern: Sculling Cowl by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Fibre Company Meadow in “Cosmos”
Needles: Size 5 Knitpicks circulars
Time to knit: Not actually that long (a couple of weeks), but then I had to pick out the cast on AND the original bind off to bind both off more loosely and that took me nearly as long as knitting the cowl did!)
I’ve been on a bit of a mission to add to my collection of “neck adornment” pieces. I get cold easily, and I love being able to wrap a shawl or a cowl around my neck/shoulders for a bit of extra warmth and color in the cooler months. One color that I wear quite a bit as an accent color is deep, dark pink – I’m really not much of a pink person except for this particular pink (because as a pale strawberry-blondish person with pinkish skintones, “regular” pink is absolutely hideous looking on me)! I knew I wanted a cowl in this color, but it took me awhile to find the perfect yarn; everything was either too far into the purple (I mean, I like purple a lot, but it wasn’t what I was aiming for here!), or not deep enough pink, too harsh looking…just something. The Fibre Company Meadow yarn in “Cosmos” turned out to be perfect!
I enjoyed knitting with it, though it was a bit “stiffer” than I’m accustomed to, given all of the plant fiber content. I don’t normally knit with plant fibers, as my hands get sore when I knit with yarn that has no bounce/elasticity (I’m a wool girl all the way!), but the Meadow blend was pretty nice, and at loose lace gauge, it wasn’t too bothersome for my hands. I did have one problem that I think was a direct result of the yarn, though, and that was my cast-on. I used a Twisted German Cast-On, which for me is normally quite stretchy, but it turns out that for me at least, doing a Twisted German Cast-On with fine, inelastic yarn being knit at a loose gauge resulted in a cast-on that was simply WAY too tight. You can kind of see how it pulled in on one side in this picture:
Since there’s no point finishing a project if it’s not going to be wearable, I set about picking out that cast on stitch by stitch so that I could bind it off loosely. With over 300 sts, each with a twist around their base (because that’s how the Twisted German Cast-On works), this was…tedious. It took a very long time.
I then bound off incredibly loosely. And then realized that now my new, very flexible bound off edge was looser than the other bound-off edge. You can probably guess where I’m going, here…I picked out the old bind-off stitch by stitch (which was at least much easier than picking out the cast-on!), and re-bound off, very loosely, to get an edge that matched the one I’d just created. All told, I spent nearly as much time fixing the cast-on and bind-off edges of this cowl than I did knitting the whole thing! Oh well. It’s all worth it, for the finished project.
I think the Sculling Cowl pattern is great – very easy to memorize, and it looks quite pretty. But if you want to make one, I’d highly recommend doing some sort of provisional cast-on, so that you can do matching bind-offs on both edges of the cowl. It’s such a long cast-on/bind-off edge that you have to be very careful to keep your gauge loose. (This might not be such a problem with a bouncy wool blend, but I can’t say for sure!). I think that if I knit another infinity-scarf cowl, I’ll try one that’s knit long and then grafted together, just to get a break from the super-long cast-on/bind-off business…perhaps the Imogen Cowl would be a good one! We’ll see!