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Inspiration Monday: new classic cowls

Happy Monday again! Hope you’re safe and dry, or cool and enjoying some fresh air wherever you are. Mother Nature’s been reminding us that she’s boss the last few weeks, hasn’t she? When she settles down a bit, we’ll be able to relax into Fall (or Spring, Down Under).

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the light is coming in at an angle, lighting up the tomato bushes and their bounty; you might notice that you need a little something around your neck for your morning walk. Good thing there is a fresh crop of patterns for us to choose from with the change of seasons! My pals at Churchmouse have just released a new set of Classics patterns, and I could hardly wait to share a few them with you.

Tapered CowlThe Tapered Cowl solves the problem of how to drape a tube around your neck artfully – here, there’s a larger number of stitches at the cast-on edge, which gradually decrease away as you head toward the neck. What you end up with is a graceful pool of soothing stockinette, framing your lovely face just so.

(Bonus: if the A/C kicks in right over your desk in the office, you can pull the larger portion down over your shoulders, eliminating the need for a cardigan slung over the back of your office chair!)

The pattern calls for sport-weight yarn knitted at 6 stitches to the inch, making for a solid-yet-drapey fabric. What a perfect opportunity to take advantage of Silky Victoria’s body and luster.

One skein is all you need for this beauty – that, and a few stitch markers to remind you to do the decreases every umpty-ump rounds. (Does anyone else find this kind of project ideal for visually-rich binge-worthy shows like Outlander and Wolf Hall? Knit knit knit for most of an episode, then pause – do the decrease round, pour another beverage, get a snack and – hit play again!)

I’m thinking a skein of “Say Nevermore” on Silky Victoria might be sneaking their way into my Blue Moon shopping cart this afternoon.

But here’s a heads-up: this pattern also works beautifully with finer yarns! The 6 stitch-to-the-inch gauge on US3 needles means you can ‘open up’ lace- or fingering-weight yarns … which was exactly what I had to do with those two skeins of Yaksi Fingering. Mmm! And just as soon as I bind that one off, I’m casting on again with two skeins of La Luna Lace in “Winter Solstice” for my mom’s Christmas present (yup, it’s that time, people!).

half & half worstedIf you’re looking for neckwear with some architectural interest, how about the Half & Half Cowl? Half of the knitting is done flat, before joining in the round to knit the second half circularly. This allows the flat half to splay open over your shoulders (great to tuck under your coat when it gets really cold later in the season!), while the circular portion cozies up around your neck and ears. It’s a lavish depth at 20″/51cm, so it’s a great way to feature a colorway you just adore. It makes the most of a full skein of Targhee Worsted, which is what I cast on in “Spruced” last weekend – what a bouncy, fun knit!

The pattern includes two cool geeky techniques: tubular cast-on and bind-off methods that have been worked over and streamlined so they’re less intimidating and more approachable (always a wonderful feature of Churchmouse patterns).

What I love about these two pieces is that they take prime knitting real estate – the area that frames your face – and give you tons of room to feature glorious yarns in beautiful colorways. I can’t think of a better way to feature some of the loveliness that rolls out of the barn at Blue Moon.

Happy casting on, everyone!

 

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