Dash-it All! Cowl

A white knit cowl with bursts of rainbow. The stitch pattern creates lines of dashes every couple of rows.

This one is going to be a little shorter than the last few because it’s being snuck in during a nap. Definitely feel a little bit like we spend a lot of money on daycare just to introduce our daughter to all the germs, poor thing has been sick on and off since early November. My husband and I seem to be on a rotating schedule of who gets which bug worse. Sometimes I have to remind myself that we’re building strong immune systems. Rome, after all, wasn’t built in a day. Also, it’s hard to see your kiddo sick! It’s a humbling reminder that you can’t fix everything.

I bring this up because even though the Dash-it All! Cowl was completed before this string of bugs, I think it would have been a good project to have on my needles at any point during the last few months. The pattern is easy enough to memorize while being simple enough to be able to work on for 5 minutes at a wack without getting lost. My last few projects have been of the squishy variety (think lots of garter stitch), but I can’t help but think back to this one and wonder what it would look like in different colors.

The tricky thing about beautifully dyed yarn is that you need a project that allows the yarn to do the talking. Sometimes this means working simple patterns with lots of garter or stockinette stitch, sometimes it means adding texture that gives the colors more depth. This can be made tricker by the placement of the colors themselves. For my Dash-it All! I used one of Wonderland Yarn’s color burst yarns thinking the color would be slashed about the cowl a bit more, I think for my next one I’ll opt for something more speckled or variegated.

Hope everyone is feeling mostly healthy this winter season! I think it’s safe to say we’re all looking forward to being able to open the windows in a few months.

Want to make one of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs). No kickbacks for me, just discounts for you :]

Petit Four Puntilla

A young woman standing in front of a floor mirror wearing a hand knit pink drop shoulder sweater with flecks of purple and red.

There are a number of sweater patterns by Joji Locatelli that have been designed to be wardrobe staples. You know, the ones that you reach for again and again because they’re a classic design/fit. Each one thoughtfully envisioned and written up so that the pattern is accessible no matter what the skill level of the knitter. Joji is one of my favorite designers for this reason, she has the perfect mix of fun wardrobe peices and practical ones. She’s also amazing at taking the practice pieces and making them fun (while leaving room for you to remove the design elements without compromising the overall garment). I have been sitting on the yarn to make a Puntilla for almost a year and the pattern has been sitting in my favorites since it came out in 2015. Way too long when you consider it’s my ideal sweater shape and has MILES of stockinette stitching in the round, perfect for meditative knitting.

This sweater flew off my needles, slowed down only by the fact that I was taking a crochet class and making objects for it. When I look at it, I can see the hours spent in the car to look at houses and to visit friends. I see time spent curled up during nap time chatting away while a movie plays in the background. That’s the thing about knitting, in addition to making a garment, you’re also freezing moments and feelings in time. While I don’t remember where I knit every object or what I was feeling at the time, there are finished objects I can look at and think “Yep, I was stress knitting through x class” or “Yep, I was going through a break up and needed something else to focus on”. It’s just a lot of time to sit and think, to sit and enjoy company or to sit and avoid thinking if the project is complicated enough.

Though I skipped the lace accent, Puntilla is a sweater pattern that will be reached for again. This was a sweater I couldn’t wait to get off my needles and on my body. It’s been so long since I’ve been really excited about a finished knit, like little kid for candy excited. I love the fit and the simplicity of the knit (once you get past the short rows). It also makes me think about knitting up a version of the Weekender, although I think I’m a little late to that party (it was so popular a few years ago!).

Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

Slowing down: Longma’s Cowl + Cockle Shell Cowl

Close up on Longma's Cowl, a repeating whale tail patterned worked in a grey gradient.

Knitting is categorically not a fast activity, even the simplest project requires time for the stitches to come together into a workable object. Several years ago, I think I accidently clocked a pair of socks by the number of graduate classes I was able to work the same pair through (it was taking me a bit less than a week and a half for those of you who are curious, now I can work the leg off a sock in a 45 minute tv episode if it’s simple enough). Despite this understanding, I have still been known to attempt to crank out a last minute knit or two during the holiday season.

When seeking a faster knit, I find the secret is in the similicity of the project. Anything worked in stockinett stitch in the round tends to jump off my needles a lot faster than something worked flat or with a pattern that requires more focus (I’m thinking of you, Leaves of Grass) and it’s not that I’m looking for speed when working on knitting projects, it’s just that projects that are typically good for zoom meetings are the same ones that fly off ones needles.

Over the last few months, I’ve started seeking out projects with stitch patterns that slow me down and require me to focus some energy on them. Sure, this means that it’s harder to throw them down when naptime is suddenly over, but it also means that I’m required to be more mindful about my craft. Focus on each stitch and relax into the design.

This started with Alicia Plummer’s Community Cardi, with knits and purls working together to form a waffle pattern and moved onto several other textured knits before moving into the land of lace stitches. Longma’s Cowl is a ten row lace repeat that forms a whale’s tail after the second repeat. The repeat is worked over and over again until you run out of yarn and honestly doesn’t take that long to memorize.

Longma’s Cowl was an interesting experiment in “what happens if I work a gradient set out of order?”. While I’m thrilled with the way the colors look together and the stitch pattern, I’m not sure I love the idea of the two together. I worry that the stripping takes away from the stitches, but perhaps that’s more of a me problem.

Close up of the cockle shell cowl, a lace shell pattern knit up in a light purple color.

The other slow knit I’ve completed recently, or rather ironically cranked out, is the Cockle Shell Cowl. I worked up the 9 inch single wrap, but highly recommend the 7 inch double wrap as it will end up growing width wise in the end. Another easy to memorize repeat, the main reason this project worked up so fast is due to the needle size the pattern calls.

Something about this purple colorway has made me obsessed with purple all of a sudden, I’m planning on using the leftover yarn from my cowl and the dark grey leftovers from my pivotal point shawl to work a hat (Harlow? Vintage Prim?).

All these samples later and I’m still obsessed with Wonderland Yarns — I literally find myself working up their needs before reaching for other yarns/projects in my stash. It’s been such a fun way to work with colors that are outside my typical comfort zone. Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

Diminishing Colors Cowl

A stripped cowl of grey and blue where the striped start with one color being larger and decreasing and the other color starting smaller an increasing.

Every so often, I love a good knitting challenge. They’re such a fun way to test your skills and can sometimes lead to a high level of satisfaction. This is all to say when Wonderland Yarns reached out to see if I could crank out a sample of their Diminishing Colors Cowl in less than two weeks, I couldn’t help but agree (spoiler alert: it took about 7 days)

This cowl has seen many a baby lead weaning meal, hours of a baby crawling around and a few hours sitting in the sun watching the world go by. It’s survived being thrown when a nightmare interrupted nap time, inquisitive baby pats, and being quickly stuffed into bags for commuting. And then it was done before I really registered casting off the last stitch.

I love being a mom and one of the interesting things I’ve started to see come out of it is a sort of blink and the world around me shifts. Blink she’s rolling over. Blink she’s crawling. Blink she’s sitting up. Blink she’s trying to go up stairs. Blink blink blink. I guess I always thought that when it came to crafting I would see the world slow down a little bit due to the time it takes to knit each stitch, instead, the stitches are flowing much like time is. Blink one color was done. Blink halfway done. Blink nearly there. Blink sewing in ends. Is time still broken from 2020? Am I the only person who’s noticed this about their knits? Is it simply what happens as you get older? Questions I honestly don’t spend too much time thinking about and perhaps aren’t restricted to knitting and parenting.

Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs). This one was a kit if you’re interested or can be worked up with two colors of Mary Ann (my favorite base!), worked up for a trade show so I can’t speak to wearing it all the time. I will, however, be making something for our daughter out of the leftovers because you end up only using a little over half of each skein.