Friday, December 5, 2008

Cozy Critter Cowl


I finished an alpaca cowl a few weeks ago, actually. Alpaca fiber is certainly warm and cozy! It is based on the Monkey sock pattern from CookieA.

Using a circular needle (16 to 24”…16” is probably better, but I used 24”) or dpns, CO a multiple of 16 stitches. (I used long tail CO, but read the “Round 12” paragraph before deciding how to CO.) I used seven repeats (112 sts). The cowl is a bit on the drapey side. If you go to a larger gauge (or even in the same gauge, if you want the cowl a bit more snug), you might want to use six repeats (96 sts).

Using Classic Elite Inca Alpaca, and a size 5 needle, I knitted to a gauge of 22 sts over four inches in stockinette. I don’t consider that critical, except in deciding to possibly reduce the number of pattern repeats to six.

Place marker and join in the round.

Knit 5 rounds.
Round 6: *K2tog, YO*, repeat to end of round.
Knit 5 rounds.

Round 12: *K2tog, one from the left needle, one from the CO row*, repeat to end of round. This is a bit fiddly. I picked up one at a time, and I recommend placing split-ring markers every 8 stitches before trying this, so you can make sure the columns of stitches are aligned. Alternatively, you can pick up the whole CO row with a spare needle, making sure you picked up the same number as you CO, and then hold the two “left” needles parallel and knit them together onto the right needle. As an even more organized approach, you can CO with a provisional CO, then put that onto a spare needle for knitting together in the 12th round.

Round 13: Switch to the pattern stitch from the Monkey Socks by CookieA on I used seven pattern repeats around, and five pattern repeats high.

When you have the height you want in the cowl, repeat the picot edge you used to start:

Knit 5 rounds.
Round 6: * K2tog, YO*, repeat to end of round.
Knit 5 rounds.

Round 12: Use the “Sewing Down a Picot Edge…” instructions from Jeannie Cartmel to hem the picot. Before doing so, I recommend using split-ring markers every 8 stitches to mark where you’re going to sew. To place your markers: between each 16-stitch pattern repeat, on the wrong side, count down five “bumps” from the picot point and hang a marker. After you have all seven (or however many repeats you did) marked, then count eight stitches right or left and hang another marker. Now, you have markers every eight stitches, all the way around the line where you will sew down the picot edge. The markers allow you to keep track that you are sewing in the right place and avoid getting a wonky hem.

I used almost exactly 1.5 skeins of Inca Alpaca to make a cowl, so you could get two cowls if you bought three skeins. Share one with a friend! If you run a bit over 1.5 skeins, you could eliminate a few of the “all knit” rows in the Monkey pattern.

When trying on this cowl, and taking it off, I ended up with it on my head like a headband, and I discovered it would make a lovely hat if I just added a bunch of decreases toward the end (and eliminated the last picot edge, obviously). In the photo, below, it is the cowl, and I'm holding the end bunched up in my hand. I’m thinking of trying a hat next, with a double decrease between each pattern repeat (in the purl sts). Then, you could definitely get a cowl and a hat out of three skeins of Inca Alpaca, since the hat would use slightly less yarn. (I need to go buy one more skein! I only had 2.) The picot hem makes a really pretty hat trim around the face.

Happy Knitting!
Lisa Kay

1 comment:

Laura said...

That's a great idea! I love the Monkey socks, and a hat would be perfect!