Knature & Knitting

DelGradoCozy

I often stand in a place of beauty and I see it in fibers. Wools, cottons, silks, acrylics pop out of the landscape or garden I’m viewing. Colors and textures get translated into yarns. And when I go to my favorite LYS I see them: the bright colors of cocks comb and cosmos, the lovely hues of hollyhock and lily, the golden wheat of Mr. Whicker’s field, the rich tones of our plum tree.

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But this time, it worked the other way ’round. I picked two balls of a cotton tape yarn purely because of the lime greens morphing into every shade on its way to black and back again. I knew it would make for another wonderful Shoulder Cozy. I had knitted one with Rowan Bamboo Tape (shown below) and loved it in the hot weather. This one would be perfect for early fall here, when days are bit cooler.

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And then, on my walk one day. I saw my finished black/green Shoulder Cozy lying underneath a mailbox in our neighborhood! What? Oh! A beautiful leafy plant growing all around the base of it in the exact colors of the Lang Sol Degrade yarn I had used to knit it. Lovely.

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A pleasure from cast-on to bind-off and even in adding a touch of crochet to finish off the top and bottom edges. Not too fussy. Just right. I’ve already worn it a few times, but now it hangs at the shop, hopefully enticing folks to sign up for my class on all the many ways you can knit this Shoulder Cozy!! And hopefully to entice them to pick up some yarn to make one while they are there!

ShoulderCozyDelGrade

I’m already pulling the yarns from my stash for the next one. I love this pattern for its simplicity and versatility. It can be worn as the capelet shown here or as a cowl for warmth and a touch of color around your neck. Mindful knitting at its best! No charts to follow or complicated stitch patterns (although you could certainly add a few stitch patterns here and there if you wanted to!). Just knit and enjoy the colors and textures flowing through your hands.

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<sigh>

Stashbuster Mixed Media Cowl

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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.

M&MMakeCowl 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!

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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.

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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:

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I began with the “base” yarn, a chunky yarn combined with a very slim shiny yarn just to add interest. Chain 50.

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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.

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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!

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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.:)

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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.

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Continue working in this manner until you have the height you desire.

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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.

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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.

SelfieMMCowl

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:

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With the buttons vertical, straight up and down (as pictured in the selfie above:).

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Or with the buttons and cowl diagonal, hugging the neck a bit more. Either way is lovely I think!

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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.)

MMCowlEggplant

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!!

Maddie’s Cowl…A FREE Pattern!

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This is my sweet daughter, Maddie, age 10. She recently got it in her head to knit something for her teachers at school. At first she wanted to knit a scarf. But as time was of the essence, she decided to turn her scarf into a cowl, adding two buttons. She was very particular about the yarn she wanted: two colors, one fluffy, one not.

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So off we went to buy yarn.  Came home to begin work. She decided how wide she wanted it.  She hadn’t knitted in a while, but it didn’t take any time before row after row of lovely fuzzy stuff began to take shape.  I was truly amazed at how she intuited her knitting! For example, she didn’t let the fact that holding two yarns can be a bit tricky…she just kept on looking for both colors every time she made a stitch. She also announced to me that when she counted her stitches at the end of her rows, sometimes she found she had an extra stitch or two. Her solution? “I just knit two of the stitches together until I have the right amount.” Wow! She figured that out completely on her own!! She also said that when she had too few stitches, she would knit the white yarn and then knit the red yarn, making an extra stitch. Her own solution as well….brilliant!

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I walked her through button holes without a hitch and she bound off the cowl beautifully…not too tight. So many things she just naturally knew how to do…a born knitter! (Can you tell I’m proud of her???:)

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When I asked if I could offer this as a FREE pattern to others, she said SURE! The title is taken from one of her favorite characters’ lines in the movie Despicable Me.  Agnes says, “It’s so fluffy!!!!” referring to her stuffed unicorn won at the fair. An appropriate title for this little pattern.

To download her design, just click on the blue words there, OR you can access it from my FREE Patterns page here on my blog. You might have time to knit one of these before Christmas! But definitely in the New Year…winter will be with us for a couple more months!

*I would love to hear from you if you are knitting or crocheting any of my patterns, free or not! And if you sent a photo, I’d love to see it too! So would Maddie! Just leave a comment on my blog. 🙂

**Merry Christmas to all and a very Happy New Year!!