It could be argued that someone with multiple tubs of yarn in her stash doesn’t need more yarn. I try to remind myself of this whenever I go somewhere where yarn is being sold. This reminder worked as well as it always does when I went to Shepherds’ Harvest this year: I came home with two balls of yarn. At least I also came home with a plan for one of them. Annie Modesitt had a stand, and along with the yarn she was selling, there was a crocheted cowl on display. The pattern was free on her blog, I’ve been wanting to do more crochet, the cowl only took one ball of yarn…a sale was made.
Modesitt warns you that the pattern hasn’t been tested. It worked fairly well, although I did better following the chart once I got started than trying to figure out where I was in the written directions. The two weren’t exactly alike when it came to joining the round, but generally I only needed the written directions for a couple of rows of a six-row pattern. But I’m mystified as to how she got the gauge she did for the original cowl. The pattern gauge is 8 sc/1″ (2.4 cm), using a size F (3.75 mm) hook, with the option of using a G (4.0 mm) hook for the first and last rounds to keep them from being too tight. I’m a tight crocheter, so I figured that if anything, I’d go up a size. Instead, the best I could manage was 7 sc/1″ on a size B (2.25 mm) hook, the smallest hook in my set. I refused to drop down to steel hooks to work with fingering yarn! So I resized the cowl for the gauge I was getting, eliminating a couple of pattern repeats. I want to see the display model again and see what 8 sc/1″ looks like! How did she crochet that yarn that tightly on an F hook?
I should have seen one problem ahead of time. This is a gradated yarn, but it’s also symmetrically dyed instead of starting at one color and ending in another. Since the cowl needs to end on a specific round of the pattern stitch in order to look right, I didn’t make it all the way through the yarn. So I have less purple at the top than at the bottom. Not that that’s going to be apparent when I’m wearing it, but I liked the purple and would’ve liked to have seen more of it. I’m happy to report that the yarn texture improved after its first wash. I’m wondering if the yarn started life as a sock blank to be dyed. Whatever its origins, it looked and acted as though it had been knitted and then unraveled, with a limp, unspun look. But the tight gauge kept that from getting out of hand, and then it bounced back after it had soaked in water for a while—at least until I stretched the heck out of it while blocking it to open up the mesh. The yarn, a merino/bamboo/nylon blend, feels nice, although the tight gauge robs it of a bit of its softness. With this pattern stitch, it has a nice drape.
And I’m still in a mood to crochet, so on to another crocheted cowl pattern! I don’t know why I even bother to maintain a queue on Ravelry. When it’s time for a new project, I look over the queue, decide I’m not in the mood for anything on it, and go off to browse patterns until I find something entirely unexpected. Then I put it into the queue at #1. Is that cheating?
Pattern: Elnora Cowl
Yarn: ModeKnit Yarn ModeSock Flow
Hook: B (2.25 mm)