Dec 10, 2017

FO | Colsie Mirror Gradient Cowl/Scarf

Long ago, we agreed there's no such thing as too many mitts, and with temps plummeting and snow on the ground, the same is clearly true for coordinating shawls, scarves and cowls. With this in mind, I've been diligently plugging away on several cowls knit in luxe yarn to accompany some of my favorite fingerless mitts.

This past week, I focused on finishing the Colsie cowl worked as a modified mirror gradient. The strategy was similar to the mirror gradient mitts, but instead of two colors, I used three:

  • Section 1: Teal
  • Section 2: Teal and cloud
  • Section 3: Cloud
  • Section 4: Lake and cloud
  • Section 5: Lake

I'm fond of skinny scarves that can be worn multiple ways, so that part was a no-brainer. The reversible ribbed slip stitch is extremely elastic, which means it could be stretched or blocked wider, but in its relaxed state, it's just the right width and length to wrap twice around my neck without becoming overwhelming.

For maximum flexibility, I chose to work it flat with small buttonholes at both ends so it can be worn closed like a cowl, open like a scarf, or twisted and draped in a variety of configurations. With buttons from stash, I made simple barbell or cufflink closures that can be removed when I want to wear Colsie as a scarf.

Colsie Reversible Cowl / Scarf
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Champagne (Grignasco)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Yardage: ~230 yards
Dimensions: 3.5 x 45 ins

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: This yarn is luscious. It knits up beautifully and looks good even in its unblocked state, as shown. The blue undertones in the teal and lake accentuate the hint of blue in the icy cloud shade. Plus, the combination of superfine merino blended with silk means the fabric has a soft sheen and feels like a dream next to the skin. 

Between life, work and the holidays, things are complicated enough. This simple knit offered just enough challenge and interest to be motivating and manageable, with the added bonus that I now have a soft, cozy cowl (or scarf) with which to welcome the winter season.

Looking for the pattern? If all goes well (fingers crossed), it should be ready to send to the tech editor this week.


Dec 7, 2017

Hand Knits to the Rescue

In this household, hand knit items see plenty of daily use, but last weekend they truly came to the rescue.

With no fanfare whatsoever, my old but highly reliable furnace quietly gave up the ghost. This unanticipated event started a mad scramble to find a reliable HVAC contractor to assess the furnace, fix it if possible, and replace it if it wasn't fixable.

The weekend timing slowed progress a bit, so the house was without heat for four days. Luckily, the weather was comparatively mild for December, so a few strategically placed portable heaters managed to keep the interior at a fairly steady 60 degrees F even when nighttime temps plummeted into the 30s. 

What's a knitter to do? The answer is obvious.

Each day I piled on the layers, opting for some combination of a basic turtleneck, heavy vest and bulky knit sweater capped with a shawl for warmth rather than sartorial flair.

A rotating array of fingerless mitts helped keep my hands warm, but thanks to my recent efforts to build coordinated sets, I was (for the most part) able to avoid looking like a hapless hobo.

Mid-weight afghans worked in wool-cotton blends were abandoned, and the bulky weight wool versions of Angletyn and Flashpoint were pulled from storage and immediately put into action.

Tikkyn Flagstone with its woolly fiber and waffle-like texture is light, lofty and wonderfully cozy, so it too emerged from storage.

The result? By the time heat was restored, nearly every chair in the house sported an afghan at the ready, a daunting array of sweaters, vests, shawls and mitts had been pressed into service, and I'd learned an invaluable lesson.

From afghans and blankets to sweaters, shawls and mitts, there's simply no such thing as too many hand knits. 

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Nov 26, 2017

WIP | Colsie Mirror Gradient Cowl/Scarf

Since last we spoke, some progress has occurred, and the skinny Colsie cowl worked in a mirror gradient has grown.

I love this simple slipped rib stitch. It produces a lush, corrugated fabric that's reversible, and as an added plus it's a breeze to work, so it's been the ideal project for knitting on the go. 

The goal is to create a cowl-scarf long enough to button and wear as a single long loop, wrap twice for a cozier neck-hugging cowl, or wear unbuttoned as a short scarf.

The original plan was to work the cowl so it was a precise match to my Colsie mirror gradient mitts which featured just two colors (teal, cloud), but plans change. 

My fondness for accessories that complement rather than exactly match meant I simply couldn't resist the opportunity to introduce the lake green shade. That offers a bonus, since this single cowl will coordinate with a pair of tonal mitts I have yet to share as well as the mitts shown above.

With that in mind, I opted for a high-contrast gradient approach that features three colors (teal, cloud and lake) worked across five sections. Each of the three solid sections is separated by a striped transitional stage that blends one color into the next. Here, I've just started the fourth section, which introduces the lake shade alternated with cloud.

This cowl has in one week progressed from the most modest of starts to the point where it's well over halfway done. With luck and a little concentrated knitting time, it may be finished before the weekend is over.

I'm highly motivated, because I'm eager to get this off the needles and into the wearing rotation, and once it's done I can tackle the next item on the hover craft list.

Here in the US we're celebrating Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for, including all of you. Wherever you are, I hope the same is true for you.

To see the FO, click here.
To read more about ombres, gradients and fades, click here.

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