knitting it up in a big way

Category Archives: cowls

colorblock rikke, bitsy & bobbsy (II), mistake rib hat

21 finished objects: 13 hats, 2 sweaters, 2 scarves, 1 cowl, 1 pair of mitts, 1 pair of socks, 1 toy. a slightly ridiculous amount of hats. an unprecedented amount of sweaters. 1,561 yards, though that is a very approximate conjecture. as opposed to last years 16 finished objects: 4 cowls, 4 hats, 2 mitts, 1 pair of socks, 1 pair of slippers, 1 pair of legwarmers, 1 camisole, 1 sweater, 1 baby blanket. so less diversity than last year, but more FO’s.

rosy fingered dawn, honey block hat, belafonte

goals for 2012:
publish one pattern
knit one sweater (doesn’t have to be for me!)
finish 20 knits
knit for pleasure
knit selfish
go back to spinning. maybe 6 skeins?

with an olive, winter is coming, bough

welp. i failed at a few of those. no patterns published, as i never could choose one to start pursuing! and i didn’t spin 6 skeins, though i did actually start making headway on that goal! i think i got 2 skeins spun up? but the balance on my spinning wheel got a little wonky, and i still need to get that looked at.

what the frack-tal, reduced circumstances, pops hat

but i accomplished more goals than not! 21 FO’s, one more than i hoped for! 2 sweaters! knitting for pleasure and knitting selfishly. this was kind of a big deal for me. in 2012 i experienced a bit of… knitting malaise. primarily due to taking on projects i did not have enough interest in. so i tried to be more careful about the projects i took on this year. i tried to make sure that even when i was knitting for others, that i was making choices consistent with what i wanted to be making. and it worked out! i’m still knitting a little less than i used to. but my peak was when i spent a minimum of 10 hours on a train every week. i don’t commute by train anymore. and now that i’m more active in the producing of PoPS, i don’t know that i can expect my output to equal those heights. and that’s okay. it’s just an adjustment.

stripey magee, tinker bell mitts, el pescador

this next year:
– de-stash. i want to have a stash that inspires me, not weighs me down. i don’t mind how i de-stash. it doesn’t all need to be knit up, i can donate, gift away, whatever. right now my ravelry stash claims i have 93 yarns in my stash. let’s aim for… 85 by next year? i would also like it all to fit in the closet i have allocated for it.
– try a new technique. i made a toy for the first time this year! one of the things i love love love about having knitting as my favorite hobby is that there are always new ways to challenge yourself, to learn more. if there’s a ceiling to what you can know about knitting, i’ve never glimpsed it! that said, i certainly can get sucked into remaining in my comfort zone. so this year, i want to make sure there’s at least one adventure! maybe brioche stitch? i’ve never done that. or stranded colorwork with more than 2 colors per row? maybe it’s time to get over my intarsia aversion?
– work from some new designers. while i was doing the round up, i realized how many designers i admire but haven’t knit from! so i’d like to try at least one design by joji and alicia. i’ve admired both of their styles for quite a long time now, but never made anything they’ve designed!

once upon a midnight dreary, ne me quitte pas, sloe berries

and i’m keeping the following:
– knit 20 objects. this is just a goal, not a resolution. i’d be happy with less, if they were a little larger in scope this next year.
– keep spinning. i was really loving getting back to it before i got interrupted.

slow news day, turn a square, clean slate cowl

i think that’s plenty to accomplish, honestly! i wouldn’t mind publishing another pattern, but i’m still not sure which one to pursue, so i’m not going to toss it on the official list. what did you knit this year? which was your favorite project? are you making any goals for the new year?


i’m a little later getting this party started than i would have liked, but let’s see just how much of this party we can fit in before christmas!!! (for you chanukah celebrators, i apologize, the deck was stacked against me this year.) hopefully you will see something to inspire and delight!

lane's mojave
mojave by lane

$6.00USD. the cowl shown above is a modified version of the original mojave pattern, so make sure you take a peek at the original. but lane’s is a great shorter (therefore faster!) substitute. this is a good project to use up skeins leftover from projects that didn’t take as much yarn as you originally anticipated. i love love love the muted palette shown, and i have a hard time picturing it in anything other than muted dusty tones, or warm jewel tones.

neil by dandiliongrl

$4.00USD for the neil pattern. this is probably going to be the fastest pattern of the bunch, clocking in at a low 240 yards. break out the chunky yarn and the bigger needles, and buckle in for an easy ride to a handmade holiday present! did i take that too far? i like the diamond pattern, and this looks both quick and fun to knit!

shandon by beatka

free! shandon pattern, featuring a fun chevron stitch. textural, gender neutral, what more can you ask for? this could also be easily modified by knitting it flat instead of in the round, if that’s a thing you’re interested in! the chevron ribbing is great for showing off a more complex yarn. it obviously works well with a gorgeous semi-solid, but i think a multicolored yarn would really shine in this pattern, too!

mesa view by rainydaygoods

$5.00USD for the mesa view pattern. a nice textural cowl, with a scarf option and the bonus of buttons! the buttons are great, because depending on your choice, you can really change the aesthetic of this cowl. the boldly teal yarn with cherry red buttons shown is very quirky and contemporary! but in wispy cream yarn with crystal buttons? quite feminine! imagine it knit up in a muted dark green with some natural wood buttons. sounds pretty masculine friendly to me!

gentille by hupsis

€4.50 ($6.35USD) for the gentille pattern, which is part of the feathery delights, all of which i find quite lovely. even this cowl, which features lace, could work for a guy. when scrunched layered around the neck, the lace in this pattern reads more as a textural elements than a lacy element. lately, that’s been something i’ve really been drawn to. i can picture it in a dark dark grey, almost black, so that it really amps up the element of shadow and texture.

not enough cowl inspiration for you? visit my first cowl round-up! or my second cowl round-up! i still like every single one of those patterns!

colorwork cowls seem to be my favorite. more that i’m currently in love with: the flambeau cowl ($4.00USD), has a short and a long version. the pine bough cowl is maybe a little intense to take on as a christmas gift right now, but it’s free and so so gorgeous. i also love triangle loop (free).

stripes can be super addictive and make knitting easy! tilted shadows cowl (free! and i especially love this one) is fun. or if you’re feeling the striped cowl, there’s also the… striped cowl (free!), and ships & seaside ($5.50USD, and so so so addictive, y’all).

if you need something quick, this lovely lace ptarmigan cowl is less than 200 yards ($6.00USD). if you’re feeling lacey & ambitious, solaria ($6.00CAD) and rivendell smoke ring ($6.00USD) are both beautiful. if you’re feeling another option for a textured cowl, cocoon me cowl ($6.00USD) or avery ($5.00USD).

i feel like i overused the word textural in this post. and exclamation points. but that’s besides the point! which of the above is your favorite? have you found any new patterns that look perfect for some quick gift knitting? or any tried & true cowl patterns that you always turn to in a pinch? share in the comments!

FO: clean slate cowl

FO: clean slate cowl <– ravelry project page

pattern: state street cowl
yarn: from a thrifted outdated gap sweater that i pulled apart.
needles: US size 11 & 13

FO: clean slate cowl

mods: well, i knit this up on slightly smaller needles, as i don’t believe i own 15 circulars. and considering how massive this knit up on smaller needles, i think it’s a good thing! also, technically i did one row wrong, but good luck figuring out which one!

FO: clean slate cowl

this is a pattern i’ve had a crush on for quite a while, and after my push to finish a couple of obligation knits at the end of 2012, i wanted to work on a purely selfish knit. but my queue of obligation knits is still a little long, so the large gauge and low yardage of this recommended it. clean slate is a bit of a misnomer, but calling it that made me feel a little better…

FO: clean slate cowl

also shown: my harry! hat (ravelry project page, blog post). back to my backlog of knitting and my frontlog of obligations!

last FO post from my 2012 knits. only a few weeks late, no biggie! i only finished it in march! of 2012! and these pictures were taken in december!

colorblock cowl

FO: colorblock cowl <– ravelry project page

pattern: angora snood
yarn: wolle rodel kid-mohair, 4 skeins (one lilac, 2 purple, 1 blue), 440 yards (total. each skein is 110 yards)
needles: US size 6 (4mm)


the yarn was a present from my grandparents, who brought it back from a trip to southern germany.





isn’t the halo the funnest thing to photograph when it comes to mohair?


i love my booooots! the people i talk to on a daily basis are getting sick of hearing about it, so i’ll tell you folks. they are so warm! so comfy! so cute! i hope to have these for many decades to come. i bought some boots about four years ago in the hopes that they would last me a long time… they started falling apart during year two. so i have been on the lookout for my (hopefully) forever boots for a few years, and when i saw these shearling lined darlings, i fell in love. i also love this outfit. it’s my favorite palette, and i’m warm* and comfy and i feel cute. oh, wait, that’s basically what i just said about my boots. well, it’s true. whatcha gonna do?


* for the record, i’ve got wool blend tights under the leggings which is the most amazing insulator. cold in the winter? skip the bunchy long johns, go for wool blend tights. free advice from me!

my winter boots

thrifted grey herringbone coat – target cardigan & leggings – forever21 button down & tote – j. crew super tall grey socks – l.l. bean bean bootshandmade london fog cowl (handmade by me), & sierpinski’s beanie (by chronographia)

london fog cowl

let’s talk about this cowl for a minute, shall we?

london fog cowl <–ravelry project page

pattern: stockholm cowl, by the talented julie of knitted bliss
yarn: actually is from a thrifted j. crew sweater that i pulled apart for yarn. it’s 100% lambswool, pretty close to dk weight, nice and soft, but also quite crisp, which is something i llllove in a yarn. yay for recycled yarn!
needles: US size 9 (5.5mm)

london fog cowl

notes: i used a cable cast-on, my go-to cast-on (how many times have i talked this up? have i converted you yet? it’s really stable, has quite a bit of elasticity, you don’t have to eyeball how much yarn it will take and then either end up three stitches short or having a flippin’ yard of yarn hanging out at the end.) and ez’s sewn bind-off (again, strong, flexible, provides an attractive complement to the cable cast-on). this was the knit that i carried around with me throughout our trip to england, and then for a month or so after returning. i love this cowl. but it was always intended for someone else (merry xmas, mimi!), and my other stockholm cowl got gifted away as well, sooo…. i might have to make a third? oh well. worse things have happened!

do you have any knitting techniques that you are as passionate about? what should i keep my mind open to when i get a chance?

life has been busy. it always seems to be that way, i wonder when it’s going to stop being surprising to me! but i finally got to have a saturday with no obligations, and it was wonderful! i made chili, and we bought and decorated our christmas tree!


christmas tree!

do any of you have pickles on your trees? i thought it was a fairly traditional thing, but i was teasing a friend about her lack of pickle ornament, and she had no idea what i was talking about.

we just picked up the big ben ornament! in bath, actually. ^_^

london fog

i’ve been plugging away on various projects. i bound off on the london fog cowl about a week ago, and sewed in the ends and blocked it. it’s still drying. FO shoot soon!


these are some mitts i’ve been working on. they are fun to knit, and i’m knitting two at once to not get caught by second-sock-syndrome. that having been said, i need to finish them before i’m allowed to cast on for *anything* else. which is making them a small specific variety of torture, as i’ve been feeling particularly inspired while searching for quick knits projects. on the other hand, it’s probably stopping me from casting on for a dozen new projects at once.

jake’s work holiday party was last week, and i used that as an excuse to try something i’ve wanted to for a while:


sally hensen salon effects, in glitz blitz! so sparkly! so gold! so festive! these are supposed to be super durable, but i am really rough on my nails. i have no doubt that someone who actually tried to maintain a manicure would get longer out of these. i got about five days. which for me is a minor miracle.

homemade oreos

i’m also trying to make christmas cookies for the first time this year. it usually falls into the ‘well intentioned but always fails’ category for me, along with thank you notes and taking daily vitamins… so far so good! now i just need to not eat all of them myself!

homemade oreos shown above (there’s even a gluten-free version), and gluten-free peanut butter cookies below (on a frankenstein napkin left over from halloween).

gluten free peanut butter cookies

these didn’t exactly rock my world. they are tasty enough, but they crumble to pieces as soon as you touch them… they seemed a little better after cooling, but i broke loads trying to transfer them to the cooling rack. i am still temtped by the nutella version and the chocolate chip & walnut version, though, so the i might give them another shot yet.

in case this post is feeling a little photo light to you, here’s a gratuitous kitty pic:


love her little white chin. how are you guys? anybody in the thick of hanukkah/chanukah? anybody else doing christmas prep/celebrating? or are you just counting down the days until the daylight stays around a little longer? i know i’ll be celebrating that!

[ashleybah‘s lovely cowl. around 350 yards of color A, and 90 for the color B, both dk weight yarn.]

lovely cowl (free!)
got a partial skein of some yarn that was too expensive to just get rid of? use it for color B in this cowl. this is my *favorite* kind of cowl to knit. knitting circularly, with a tiny bit of colorwork (this would be a good first project to give colorwork a try!) makes this zoom along! the provisional cast-on and kitchenered end make this project a little more tangy, but are easily subbed out for easier options, if you aren’t feeling up for it.

[knittingdropout‘s everett cowl. uses 400 yards of worsted weight.]

everett cowl ($5.00USD)
this pattern is lovely AND reversible! i always love melissa’s updated classic style. i like the longer version, but if you’re feeling pressed for time, there’s no reason you couldn’t cast on half the stitches and make a smaller cowl, like:

[carinaspencer‘s dovetail cowl. 200 yards worsted weight for the smaller version (shown). most longer versions seems to run just a little over 300 yards.]

dovetail cowl ($5.00USD)
i’ve had a major crush on this pattern since i first saw it (though i haven’t managed to cast on for it yet…). this cowl is a more gender neutral option, with it’s emphasis more on texture.

[ifandany‘s gap-tastic. i used 216 yards of bulky weight yarn.]

gap-tastic cowl (free!)
nothing like this good ole basic pattern! maybe you have some bulky stashed? maybe you have two skeins of the same yarn, different colorways? i really like the way it looks in two colors.

[veera‘s smooth edge. 360 yards of worsted weight yarn.]

smooth edge (€2.90)
another awesomely textured option!

need more suggestions? check last years quick knits cowl post! i also love triangle loop (free), tilted shadows cowl (free! and i especially love this one), or if you’re feeling the striped cowl, there’s also the… striped cowl (free!), and ships & seaside ($5.50USD, and so so so addictive, y’all). if you’re feeling another option for a textured cowl, cocoon me cowl ($6.00USD) or avery ($5.00USD). if you’re feeling lacey & ambitious, solaria ($6.00CAD) and rivendell smoke ring ($6.00USD) are both beautiful.

there’s an absolute deluge of fabulous cowl patterns out there. what’s your favorite?

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