Before my Art Show in November, I made several of these and they have been well received by many folks there buying them for gifts or for themselves. I wanted to type up a tutorial for any who might be interested in making one (or LOTS) also. It’s a great way to use up your existing stash. In fact, I made it my mission to ONLY use what I had on hand…little bits of this, leftovers of that.
The first thing I do is gather up my yarns. Mortimer and Millicent wanted to oversee my photo tutorial efforts, giving invaluable (and sometimes annoying) suggestions and critiques along the way. 🙂 I like to put the yarns in a white bowl so I can see them sitting there together. I pull anything and everything that tickles my fancy: solid yarns, variegated yarns, fibers with a bit of bling, textured yarns, etc. I don’t worry too much at this point whether or not I’ll actually USE them all…this is the fun part of putting color together! There may be a yarn or two that just don’t make it into the finished cowl. Or I may just use them all!
I choose a bulky yarn as a “base” or anchor. Since I’m using either a size 13 knitting needle or an N crochet hook, I want the stitches and yarns to be rather chunky. But this doesn’t mean I can’t use worsted, DK or even fingering weight yarns. I just have to combine the thinner yarns to approximate a chunky weight. I’ll demonstrate this a bit in the photos.
If I’m knitting a Mixed Media Cowl, I cast on 40-50 sts. This is a wide range that you will have to determine the number based on how thick your yarn choices are AND based on how generous you want your cowl to be. I’ve made them anywhere from neck huggers to cowls with a bit of drape. You choose! The knitted version is simply garter stitch all the way through.
If I’m crocheting a Mixed Media Cowl, I chain 45-50. Again, this all depends on the above factors. This one is a 50 chain Cowl, which is a bit more generous than some I have made. I use single crochet stitches THROUGH THE BACK LOOP. This allows the crochet to have more drape to it than regular single crochet.
So, here we go:
I began with the “base” yarn, a chunky yarn combined with a very slim shiny yarn just to add interest. Chain 50.
Sc in the second chain from hook and in each chain across. I like to crochet into the “butt” of the chain thereby giving a nice edge that looks like bind off in knitting.
Attach a new yarn or set of yarns. Here I’ve combined two different worsted weight yarns. Together they are somewhat close to the thickness of the “base” yarn. I attach the new yarns just before finishing off the last single crochet stitch. Then, with the new yarn(s), finish the sc, CHAIN 1, and turn your work, ready to go on the next row!
I work single crochet THROUGH THE BACK LOOPS at the same time crocheting over the ends so that I don’t have to weave them in at the end.:)
I work two rows of each color or set of yarns. This time there are THREE yarns held together: a worsted, a textured, and a thin “bling” yarn. Continue working sc tbl, and crocheting over the ends.
Continue working in this manner until you have the height you desire.
I worked 7 groupings of yarn, giving me approx. 6″-7″ depending on how much you stretch the fabric out. This crochet stitch looks a bit like sideways ribbing and has a lovely ridge on both sides.
I end with the “base” yarn again. This is certainly not necessary, but I think it finishes it off. This last time I held a different shiny yarn with it for variety. I only work one row of this. Weave in all ends.
The cool thing about this cowl is that you do not need button holes! Place your buttons where you like and you can button it up in two different ways:
With the buttons vertical, straight up and down (as pictured in the selfie above:).
Or with the buttons and cowl diagonal, hugging the neck a bit more. Either way is lovely I think!
Of course, Mortimer and Millicent had to try it on too! They were so upset that it didn’t fit them! Then they thought perhaps I had made them a cozy blanket, only to be dashed again when I explained this was a Cowl for PEOPLE not mice! (I may need to go make a couple of cowls, mice size, for them as they are a pouting a bit.)
Choosing the buttons is REALLY fun! Go to your button box, mix and match, or find inexpensive buttons in shops you frequent. They add just the right touch!
Wear, smile, and have a beautiful, artsy day!!