Here are the final instructions (I hope!) for getting ready for the Advent Cowl project. I have finished knitting up the prototype, and am about to start knitting another as a daily Advent project (can one have too many scarves and cowls?)
The first instructions should appear in this blog on 1st December, and the blog post will be headed 'Advent Cowl'
I will repeat the warning - this is the first time I have attempted to do something like this, as in designing and writing up a pattern, and it has been a bit of an adventure. I hope I have incorporated all the lessons I learned along the way but apologies in advance for anything... !
These photographs show the wrong side of the cowl, and my gauge;
21 stitches to 10 cm on 5mm needles (more than the ball band suggestion of 17 stitches for 10 cm - this could be due to stranded colourwork making a denser texture). Second time around I shall try and knit a little looser. This is the back of the cowl.
and the front, showing stitch count.
So, in other words, if this matters, do a swatch, preferably using two colours. You can try a simple pattern such as alternating main and colour yarns, as in M, C, M, C or MM,CC,MM,CC etc. But measurements are not critical - so long as it will go over your head and cover up all your face...
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ADVENT COWL - 2-colour fair-isle style.
Finished size – 15 cm by 56 cm. This fits like a fairly loose collar of a jumper. For an even looser fit around the neck, add stitches in multiples of 8
YARN AND NEEDLES
I used 45g / 65m of Drops Alaska Aran weight in dark blue for my main colour, and 20g / 42m of Drops Alaska Aran weight in off-white as my contrast colour.
Gauge on ball band was 17 stitches and 22 rounds over 10 cm.
The ribbing was worked on 4mm circular needles, changing to 5mm circular needles for patterns. The needles have to be 40cm or 60cm long. (the stitches are a ‘cosy’ fit on 40 cm, and more spaced out on 60cm needles). You could use dpns; I personally find circulars much easier.
You will also need a marker to mark the beginning of a round – I use a loop of entirely different yarn.
You can use a mix of colours for main and contrast to use up scraps – just join at the beginning of the round, and weave in the ends at the end. If you don’t have enough of the main colour, you could use a contrast for the ribbing.
Read charts from RIGHT to LEFT starting at the bottom.
Each day has one or two rounds. Always slip the beginning of round marker. I find it convenient to stop one stitch short of the round, otherwise the marker falls off the needle overnight.
Blank squares are main colour and * squares are contrast colour.
Repeat the pattern to the end of the round. Patterns repeat over2, 4 or 8 stitches.
Do not break off the contrast yarn between patterns but carry it up between rounds. Usually the floats, where the yarn is carried loosely along the back of the work, will never be more than 3 or 4 stitches.
You will find that the pattern will not match neatly where the rounds meet, because you are knitting round and round in spirals rather than rows. Once you have finished the whole cowl, you can sort of gently pull and encourage the knitting at that point, especially if it is wet, and persuade the pattern to line up better.
K – knit. P – purl
K2tog – knit two stitches together to decrease.
Ktfbl – knit through front and back of stitch to increase, or use any method you prefer.