10 November 2014


Knitting Diary: Cathy's Cowl

How do your knitting projects begin? That is, the ones that end up completed? Mine start with unraveling something else that seemed to be working but really wasn't, which was the case when I tried knitting up a basic lace pattern with one of my grandmother's old balls of yarn . . .

Now, the nice thing about ripping up one project is that you get to use the yarn for something else. I don't feel too bad because the "projects" are usually just exercises. And exercises feel like exercises all the way through, even if I begin them with the intention of finishing. There have been exactly two exercises that hinted, very early on, that they had the potential to be something greater. You know, something finished. And one of them just may be the first hand-knit gift that I ever give to a friend.

Not mine! =P

I wish that I could say I knitted the white scarf above, if only because it was made with bulky 100% wool and I'd just like to hold some in my hands before I die, though that is apparently too much to ask of God right now . . . but I used the same 100% acrylic yarn that is in the first photo. Since it is fingering weight--or about a quarter of the thickness of the above yarn--I knew it would make a much narrower scarf, so I decided to do five columns of cables.

The pattern's name is Beginner's Super Easy Cabled Scarf and it certainly delivered! It was a breeze to get as far as ten cables deep. I had made a few mistakes, of course, but nothing too horribly embarrassing. And I actually wasn't relishing unraveling the whole thing when I got to my usual stopping point (which I can always tell from my ball of yarn). That was when I realised I had something good on my hands.

But what exactly was it that I had? You see, I had figured out even earlier that five columns kind of threw it off as a scarf. It would still be usable, of course, but it would be too wide. But five columns seemed okay for a cowl. So that's what it would be, I decided: a cowl that was worked flat and seamed closed in the end. And because the colour was all wrong for me, I thought I'd give it to my friend Cathy, after my first idea for a gift for her (which I'll tell you about in detail another time) had to be put aside indefinitely.

It seemed like a good idea when I came up with it, but when I was done sewing up the seam as neatly as possible (which, as any of my Home Economics teachers could tell you, means that it looked like a badly healed knife wound), I started to worry that it wasn't such a great gift.

I'll have to show you what I mean, but let me make it clear before I do that I'm not fishing for compliments, okay?

As you can see, it's much too baggy to be a proper cowl, much too wide to be drapey sort-of scarf, and much too short to be whatever it is we call that loop that can wrap around the shoulders and upper arms kind of like a fitted shawl.

I think that Cathy will be impressed to know I made the whole thing by hand and that she'll like it for my sake . . . but this doesn't mean that she'll also want to wear it. Of course, she won't be obligated to use it just because I made it for her (It started out as an exercise anyway, right?); but I put a lot of time and effort into it, and if its fate is to be stuck in the back of a closet and forgotten, well, I'd rather it be I who does it than she. =/


Angie Tusa said...

I know you said you're not fishing for compliments, but I do have to say I think you're being too hard on yourself. While the first picture is certainly not how I would wear it, the other two are something I would easily wear out in public without any embarrassment (of course, I do love purple, so I may be biased).

Honestly, these types of scarves/cowls seem to be all the rage in fashion these days over here at least, that I personally would be surprised if your friend doesn't wear it fairly regularly.

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks, Angie! I guess that a certain present I got someone else years ago but never saw her use casts a long shadow . . . =P

Cowls may just be my favourite thing to knit--if I may say so after about a month into this new craft. I'm already planning a second one, which I'm definitely going to keep. =)

DMS said...

I have to say that I think you are amazing. Your knitting is much better than you think it is! I would wear this for sure- and I am a huge fan of purple. :)

Don't be too hard on yourself.

Itinérante said...

This is very nice Enbrethiliel! You are talented!

Sheila said...

I would wear it. That is, at a different time in my life, I would. I love scarves but these days the sensory overstimulation is so bad I can't wear scarves. Even coats are annoying, but it's November so I have no choice.

You could unravel a little to make it a smaller cowl, if you prefer that. Or you could unstitch the seam and do a half twist before stitching it up again, to make it an infinity scarf/cowl. But I really think it's fine as it is.

Enbrethiliel said...


Jess -- Thanks a lot! I do need periodic reminders that I am my worse critic, so thanks for the vote of confidence. =)

Itinerante -- Thanks! <3

Sheila -- I had actually already unraveled it a bit. The two reasons why I kept it that baggy are: a) it's stretchy in the wrong way because the cables and ribs go around it and I don't want Cathy having to struggle to put it on; and b) no one actually wears cowls in the Philippines, so I wanted it to be a bit versatile and not too hot. Anyway, I still have some time before her birthday, so I'll think over your other suggestions. =)