Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Friday Night Cowl


As much as I’d rather be chilling on a beach somewhere, there’s no denying that the Cozy Season is upon us.  It is very English outside this morning; damp and gray, and atmospheric.  If I think of it that way, this weather feels charming and snug.  I feel a sudden need to put on some wellies and go for a long walk on the misty moors, then hang my woolens on the Aga and scrub a pine table until it gleams.  The British Isles are so cozy, with your pubs and your tea and your sheepdogs.  [Reverential sigh here.] 

I digress.


This is The Friday Night Cowl, pattern by me—as if you’d need a pattern.  The story behind it is this:  a few years ago, I knit a long piece of striped fabric using lots of different blues, reds, and browns because that’s the yarn I had at the time and because I was in desperate need of something, anything, to knit.  I thought to make several long strips like this and then stitch them together (much in the manner of this blanket, which came later) but before I got any further than 42 inches along on the first strip, I began pilfering the yarns for other projects (along with getting mighty bored) and the strip went into hibernation. 


Yesterday, I wanted the needle it was on for something else and so I extracted it again.  Too short for a scarf.  I thought, briefly, about ripping it all out.  Then it hit me…a cowl!  I mattress-stitched up the long side, joined the ends together, and it became something, finally.  So easy! 


Wrapped double around the neck like this, that’s four layers of warm, soft, wooly knitting, and of course the beauty of the cowl is that you don’t have those long scarf ends to bulk up the front of your coat, hang down into your mug of coffee, or get caught in the car door.  Where have cowls been all my life? 

If you’d like to make one, here’s the simple pattern:  Choose eight or ten different yarns in worsted weight.  I really believe you will want 100% wool for this project—the point of this cowl is it’s super-duper warmness—but choose yarns that will not be too scratchy.  I used Cascade 220.  Using a needle that will give you a gauge of 4.5-5 sts per inch (although gauge isn’t that important for this project) cast on 50 and work in stockinette stitch, changing colors as your whim dictates, until the piece is 42 inches (or so) in length.  Seam up the long side using mattress stitch, and then seam the two open ends to each other the same way.  (Don’t sew them shut first—seam them to each other.)  That’s all there is to it!  Give it a quick steam block and you’re all ready to bundle up.100_8589a

Now you’re ready for Friday night—a high school football game, a mug of cocoa, and maybe a spooky hayride through the woods.