Monday, March 9, 2009

Ta Daaaa.... My First Cowl

This is my first try at a simple pattern modification. I loved the stitching in the cowl designed by NovaMade, but she has the neck for a bulkier cowl (plus finer yarn) so I tried my hand at some changes...

1. Less bulk under my chin, so closer fitting there;
2. Yet a little spread out as it went down toward my chest so it would lie flat;
3. I wanted the scallops that her pattern creates to be at the top edge; and
4. Since I would be knitting this on bigger needles with fatter yarn, I didn't want the larger size holes from using a Yarn-Over.

At first I was clueless where I'd plug in increases as the cowl progressed, but my gut said to leave the straight stitching alone and put the increases in the diagonal ribby-sort of stitching, so I put them in the center of that, switching WHICH center-ish stitch each time. As for the holes, I tried what I THOUGHT was a M1 instead of the YO on a swatch, and got a nice smaller hole. Well, it turned out I made a mistake in "M1" but that mistake is actually a real stitch, called an "Eyelet." So that worked out.

As for the RATE of increase to get the right spreading out over shoulders, measuring my body's rate of increase there with a tape measure was next to impossible, so I just winged it. I'm going to try it like this a couple of wearings, and if I decide it "must" lie flat, it'll be a little frogging time, that's all.

So here it is on the table...

And here it is on me with nostrils cropped out because this was definitely an up-the-nose shot (easy to get when you're photo-ing yourself).

Now looking like an "angry Arab" from self-shooting (hence concentrating), these photos were as good as I could get under the circumstances.

And a sorta side view. I discovered two things here -- if you stand in front of a mirror and point the LCD screen at the mirror, duh, you can see what's in the LCD screen; and (2) is it reeeeeally necessary to concentrate on the LCD screen to THAT degree?

Okay now HERE is the original idea of what I was aiming for. (I had to hold it stretched because since I started the increases so late, it won't lay this way naturally.

As for the stitch pattern itself? I really love it! Here are some shots of its construction that show off NovaMade's design. And, of course, that neat bind-off that Jenny showed me.

Here's a shot of the increases I added. As mentioned, I picked the slanted part rather than the straight stitching part of the pattern. I have a feeling that turned out to have been the right choice.

And here's what it looks like overall when it's first being started. I'm only including this WIP photo because it just looks like it could spark the imagination of more experienced knitters... for something. The main imagination it sparks for me is back in grammar school we starched things with a strong sugar-water solution. Since this looks like a Queen's Crown AND all that sugar would surely attract bees, it made me think if you were to make a crown and starch it that way, you'd have to name it the Queen Bee crown.

So hopefully it'll lie right under jackets as is, in which case I'll give up the original plan to have it spread out because that many increases would once again be total guesswork.

Now back to that hat shown below, and trying to make it look less like a fancy toilet paper roll cover.