Archive for the ‘Cowls’ Category

Jolie with Pointy Sticks

August 18, 2012

Well! It only took me AGES, but I finally have a little collection of accessory patterns available, just in time for autumn.

I’ve talked a little about the philosophy behind this collection as I’ve worked on it, but I’m going to mention it again. The idea behind this collection was to create a somewhat cohesive set of accessories that could be mixed and matched to offset a fall and winter wardrobe. Like most knitters, I have an absolute ton of hats and cowls and mitts and such, but they’re often knit in isolation from one another and can’t really be worn together without making me look a little crazy. Watching old movies, one of the things that struck me about the curated wardrobes of the actresses was how well the accessories worked together. I wanted to create small patterns using minimal amounts of luxury yarn that would create a set of accessories that could be worn as part of a well matched wardrobe.

Myrna 3

Myrna cowl and mitts

I’ve listed two sets as individual patterns, meaning that while there are six patterns listed for the collection, there are actually instructions for eight different accessories: two hats, two cowls, two shawls, one set of mitts, and a cravat.

So let’s talk a little about the patterns! You’ve seen Rosa and Dorothy before.

Rosa and Dorothy

Rosa has been updated to include a second, larger size, and a second suggested yarn. Both suggested yarns are from Rocky Mountain Dyeworks. I love the rich colors that Hasmi, the creative force behind Rocky Mountain Dyeworks, teases out of fibers. The original red Rosa was knit in Bow Falls Fingering, a tight BFL. The new version is knit in Kicking Horse Sock, a merino/bamboo blend with a soft hand and oodles of drape. I asked Hasmi if she had any colors suggestive of a yellow rose, and she dyed me THREE absolutely gorgeous shades, which I alternated to create a subtle gradient from light to dark. I absolutely love the result. If you previously purchased Rosa, you should have received an update to the pattern, and if you wish to purchase the whole collection, the price of Rosa will be automatically discounted at purchase.

Dorothy is included in this collection as well, the only way to purchase the pattern through Knitting Kninja. Unlike my other shawl patterns, Dorothy is a raglan shawl, which makes it easy to drape over the shoulders and wear. It’s also easy to wrap around as a scarf. I used Knit Picks Imagination sock yarn for this version, an alpaca blend that adds a fuzzy halo to your knitting. Each section is fast and fun to knit, with a great deal of texture.


Clara is a bobble and lace hat. I don’t always love bobbles, but there’s something about a bobble hat that I adore. I have a saved picture in my files from ages ago of a bobble hat with diamond lace and I knew I wanted to make something similar one day. Clara is that something similar. It’s a one size hat, because the lace makes it very stretchy in order to fit a wide range of head sizes. Clara’s lace comes together in the decreases to make a star shaped top that just added to the fun little details. Knit in Sanguine Gryphon Traveller, it’s a warm hat despite the holes. I suggest substituting Cephalopod Yarns or Verdant Gryphon Traveller. Each skein is enough to make at least two hats.


Edith is a beret and cravat set knit in A Verb for Keeping Warm Metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is a gorgeous silk/merino blend with a somewhat rustic hand. The beret is covered in little twisted stitch cables that interlock and wind up the hat. They are echoed slightly in the ruffle cravat. The hat comes in two styles, a shallow beret (shown) and a slouchier version for those who want a little more substance. You can make a shallow beret and a cravat in any size from just one skein of yarn, which makes this a good value for an expensive and luxurious yarn.


Ida is a colorwork cowl knit in the inevitable Malabrigo yarns. Inevitable, because, let’s face it, I love Malabrigo. I am not the best at colorwork, so the thick Malabrigo Worsted made this a breeze, since it knits up fast and limits the amount of colorwork you actually need to do. Stranded colorwork meant a lot of loose strands inside the cowl and I was worried about snagging, so I used some Malabrigo Lace to knit a lining. If you haven’t knit with Lace, it’s kitten soft and just a delight against the skin, which means that my cowl is unbelievably warm and soft. I made it a bit oversized to compensate for the extreme warmth of a stranded, lined merino cowl.


Finally, Myrna. Myrna hasn’t gotten a lot of attention on Ravelry since I added it, but in some ways, it’s my favorite pattern in the lot. Knit in Sanguine Gryphon Bugga!, I wanted to utilize what I think is the absolutely perfect stitch quality of the yarn. It knits up more neatly than almost any other yarn I’ve worked with, and I wanted to show off the color and quality of the yarn. Myrna is knit on small needles to create a neat, stretchy set of mitts with negative ease. There is nothing fancy about these mitts other than the yarn and the button tab. They’re simple as can be, but perhaps because of that, they’re my favorite to wear. The matching cowl uses stripes of stockinette and a textured slip stitch lace pattern that creates little half moons all around. Another button tab pulls the cowl down in front and turns the stripes into a gentle accordion shape.

The whole collection is available for US $16.00.

Tamarind update

December 8, 2011

I created the Tamarind Cowl a few years ago as a way to use up my surplus of Malabrigo in Rich Chocolate. It’s an easy little free pattern, and one of my more popular patterns to boot. I didn’t substantially change the pattern, but I did update it a little today both to match my current layouts and to make it a little easier to follow.

You can download the updated Tamarind Cowl pattern here. It’s a simple little knit that doesn’t take very much yarn, so you still have time to make one (or a few) for holiday gifts!


April 11, 2011

This is one of the secret projects I’ve been diligently working on behind the scenes. As you may know, this year Malabrigo started a new program called the Malabrigo Freelance Pattern Project. Each month, an independent designer will release an ebook of Malabrigo patterns. I’m Miss April!

Understory is a collection of six accessory patterns with a woodsy theme. They are available individually, or all together in ebook form. (If you purchase the ebook, you will get an ebook and each of the individual files as well.) All patterns were test knit by a pool of knitters and tech edited by Lauren Cross.

Lichen Beret

Lichens and mosses are so miniscule and usual that they can easily be overlooked, but these tiny not-quite-plants are truly beautiful and fascinating. The Lichen Beret celebrates these Lilliputian wonders in larger form with a simple lace faggoting pattern that mimics some of the patterns of lichen fronds. Knit either in smooth Malabrigo Twist, or luxuriously fluffy Malabrigo Angora, very different looks can be achieved with the same easy pattern. Top with a fluffy pom pom for an especially cute look.

One size fits most adult heads
18 inches in circumference at brim


  • 1 skein Malabrigo Twist 100% Merino; 150 yds per 100g skein – shown in Olive OR
  • 2 skeins Malabrigo Angora 100% Angora; 50 yds per 60g skein – shown in Primavera
  • U.S. size 7 (4.5 mm) 16” circular needle
  • U.S. size 10 (6 mm) 16”circular needle
  • U.S. size 10 (6 mm) dpns or long circular needle for Magic Loop
  • tapestry needle
  • scrap yarn for optional pom pom (Shown in Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Dove)

16 sts/25 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 7 needles
13 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 10 needles

Buy it now for U.S. $5.00


Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms that grow in brackets from living trees. The shelf like construction and bright yellow color make for a spectacular sight in the damp woods. The Laetiporus scarf mimics, with a wide and gentle garter ruffle, the broad ripples of Laetiporus mushrooms. Although the scarf pictured here is extremely long, the simple lace and short row ruffle pattern can be made to any desired length for an unsual and wearable scarf that will stand out and keep your neck toasty warm. Refer to the chart or the written pattern to meet your comfort level.

8 inches wide by 100 inches long


  • 3 skeins Malabrigo Merino Worsted 100% Merino wool; 210 yds per 100g skein – shown in Frank Ochre
  • U.S. size 10 (6 mm) needles
  • tapestry needle

15 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 10 needles

Buy it now for U.S. $5.00

Amanita Muscaria

The Amanita Muscaria mushroom is one of the most iconic fungi around. The cheery red cap with the white spots disguises the fact that the mushroom is actually quite poisonous. These happy mitts have all the geniality of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom with none of the danger. The simple stranded colorwork pattern makes an easy introduction to stranded colorwork or a relaxing interlude for those already familiar with the technique. Change the colors around for a fun polka dot look. In lightweight Malabrigo Sock, these mitts are perfect for nippy spring weather.

one size fits most adult hands


  • 1 skein Malabrigo Sock 100% Superwash Merino; 440 yds per 100g skein in MC – shown in Natural
  • 1 skein Malabrigo Sock 100% Superwash Merino; 440 yds per 100g skein in CC – shown in Ravelry Red
  • U.S. size 1 (2.25 mm) dpns or long circular needle for Magic Loop
  • U.S. size 2.5 (3 mm) dpns or long circular needle for Magic Loop
  • tapestry needle
  • waste yarn

30 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in colorwork pattern in larger needles

Buy it now for U.S. $5.00


April’s lush new growth fills the woodland floors in a riot of bright young greens and fast growing leafy plants reaching for the light before the canopy fills in entirely. This shawl, composed of different leaf shapes and Faroese construction, is inspired by the verdant hues and herbage of spring. Both sizes result in a true shawl rather than a shawlette, good for wrapping around a short sleeved top or light dress on a cool evening. Both samples were knit in spring greens, but it would be easy to change the season by changing the colors. Greys or whites for frosty winter, oranges, reds, or golds for autumn, deep greens for summer.

NOTE: There are two PDFs, one labeled charts, one labeled written. These are identical in content, but have different layouts to more easily facilitate chart users or those who rely on the written pattern. Both have the charts and the written pattern.

Small: 60 inches wide, 24 inches long
Large: 85 inches wide, 34 inches long


  • 2 skeins Malabrigo Sock for size Small 100% Superwash Merino; 440 yds per 100g skein – shown in Lettuce
  • 4 skeins Malabrigo Silky Merino for size Large 51% Silk, 49% Merino; 150 yds per 50g skein – shown in Manzanilla Olive
  • U.S. size 6 (4 mm) 24” or longer circular needle for size Small
  • U.S. size 8 (5 mm) 24” or longer circular needle for size Large
  • tapestry needle

Small: 26 sts/34 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 6 needles
Large: 19 sts/24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 8 needle

Buy now for U.S. $6.50

Light and Shade

Variegated yarns frequently call my name, but I often have trouble knitting them up. Patterns that looked beautiful in theory can look messy in reality. Light and Shade is a simple cowl designed for use with those tough but beautiful Malabrigo variegateds. The slip stitch honeycomb pattern breaks up the colors and gives a look of dappled light rather than pooling or messiness. An attached i-cord edging makes a neat, tailored edge that looks great without much effort. The button placket is a great opportunity to use some pretty buttons and the cowl sits differently depending on how many holes you button.

Small: 7 inches high, 20 inches wide.
Large: 7 inches high, 24 inches wide.


  • 1 skein Malabrigo Merino Worsted 100% Merino; 210 yds per 100g skein – shown in Jaen (Small) and Mariposa (Large)
  • 1 set U.S. size 6 (4 mm) needles
  • 1 set U.S. size 10 (6 mm) needles
  • 3 buttons (19 mm)
  • tapestry needle

15 sts/20 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch on size 10 needles

Buy it now for U.S. $4.00

Woodpigeon Mitts

Spring brings a host of avian life to the woods, and the sounds and sights of birds fill the usually quiet groves and thickets. The Woodpigeon Mitts take a simple feathered lace pattern inspired by some of the feathered occupants of the forest, and create a dramatic and dashing fitted mitt that is light and warm. The elbow length mitts can easily be shortened for a more everyday look, while the longer version hints at old movie star glamour and sophistication.

Small, Large


  • 2 skeins Malabrigo Silky Merino 51% Silk, 49% Merino; 150 yds per 50g skein – shown in Cape Cod Gray
  • 1 set U.S. size 5 (3.75 mm) dpns OR long circular needle for Magic Loop
  • tapestry needle

22 sts/30 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

Buy it now for U.S. $5.00

Or buy the whole collection at a discount of almost 50% for U.S. $16.00

By rocket to the moon

March 12, 2010

A diversion: all of my kids are asthmatic, and it helps if asthmatics stay bundled when it’s cold out, especially around the throat.  I made Gabriel a cowl back in December or early January (yet to be photographed, because he keeps wearing it!) and this month, all of a sudden, I realized that Liam has no cowl.  He does have a scarf, which is why I hadn’t made one, but he never wears his scarf.  He says it is too itchy.

When I combined the knowledge that Liam needs a warm, non itchy cowl, that it’s Malabrigo March, that he’s been working hard in school, and that I had a coupon to my local yarn store, it became clear what I needed to do.  After one of his good days, we went by the yarn store on our way home from school (it is around the corner from the school, for extra temptation convenience) and he picked out a skein of Blue Emerald Malabrigo.  Very nice.  OK, so, I’m thinking, another Windschief Cowl.  Fast, attractive, and interesting to knit.

No.  Turns out Liam had something in mind.  He wanted images on his cowl.  A lot of images actually.  So I told him that we’d go home, and he could draw a picture of what he wanted on his cowl.  He filled a page with towers, monsters, and rockets.   Hmmm….

One picture, I said.  Just one.  Pick your favorite, and I’ll figure out a way to put it on the cowl.  He picked a rocket.  Hmmmm…

So I thought about this.  There are a lot of cute dishcloth and washcloth patterns out there that use knit and purl stitches to make raised pictures.  I could apply the same principle to a cowl, surely.  I looked up rocket dishcloths, and found that the dishcloth world is surprisingly thin on space themed packages.  (Dishcloth knitters, perhaps this is a void that needs filling!)  I did find a dishcloth with a rocket on it, and was all set to buy the pattern when I noticed that it appeared to be written rather than charted, and my only reason for buying a pattern was that I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to have to make a chart.  If I was going to have to make one anyway, I figured, it might as well be original.

So I made a rocket chart.  And the kids watched me do it and asked what program I was using (Excel) and then asked if they could draw in Excel when I was done.  Turns out that Excel is crazy amounts of fun for wee folk.  They were at it for a while while I sat on the couch with my new chart in front of me and my newly wound yarn and I whipped out a cowl that evening.  Their Excel drawings were surprisingly sophisticated, too, so I’m thinking that I may take them on as slave labor helpers and get them to make fun charts for me in future.

Last night I grabbed the finished knitting and stitched a little edging around the rocket.  This is most unimpressive backstitching, but hey, it works, and Liam loves it.  Tonight, after working on Sunniva and Veyla, I’ll sew in the ends.

I love my little rocket.  It gives me a satisfyingly Tintin-Destination Moon kind of feeling.  (And I have They Might Be Giants’ song of the same name running through my head like a March hare.)

I’m not going to write up this exact pattern.  I think the rocket’s too big, because when it’s worn, the rocket crumples and doesn’t read.  Liam doesn’t care, and it’s his cowl, so that’s all good.  But I care.  However, I’m thinking I’ll make a little package of space themed cowls (two? one with a robot?) in sport weight solid-colored yarn, because, dude, rocket cowl.  I mean, it’s a cowl, with a rocket on it.  Good thinking, Liam.

In between

March 11, 2010

In between the big projects, I like to work on a lot of little projects to keep me from running mad.  Most of my knitting time at the moment is devoted to Sunniva, but when I can say, “I’ve made some real progress today and now I need to set this down because my mind is starting to wander,” that’s when I can pick up one of the little projects.

The main little project right now is Veyla.  I loved the pattern as soon as it came out, and since I have far more Ochre Sock than I need for Sunniva, I’m using a small amount of my spare skein to make a pair of lacy and lovely little mitts.  This is actually a fast, well written project, but I’m inching along ever so slowly, primarily because I only knit a few rows at a go, between long bouts with Sunniva.

That was my only little project for a while.  I finished a little birthday surprise (sort of surprise, anyway) for my mom, but it was just Veyla and Sunniva, Sunniva and Veyla, until I realized that Liam doesn’t have a cowl and doesn’t wear his scarf.  All of my kids are asthmatic, and it’s essential to keep the neck well wrapped in cold weather.  I had a coupon to my local yarn store, so I used it to get a skein of Malabrigo Worsted in a color of Liam’s choice, and then I was all set to make him a Windschief cowl, just like his brother’s, but it turned out Liam had other ideas.  Yeah.  He wanted a cowl with a rocket on it.  So I thought, “Fine.  There are all these cool dishcloth patterns with pretty pictures on them, and surely someone has come up with a rocket chart.”

Not so much.  There is a cute rocket dishcloth, but it appears to be written rather than charted, and what I really wanted was a chart.  So I made one.  And now I’m spending my spare time whipping up a rocket cowl.

My chart is cute, but unfortunately, Liam did not choose a solid colored skein of Malabrigo.  It’s not wildly variegated, but it is variegated, and that is obscuring the rocket a bit.  But, on the other hand, it’s a rocket cowl!  In Emerald Blue!

The big project of the last week was painting our living room wall.  That took a lot more work than I’d imagined.  But now we have a green wall!

This picture was taken before I’d finished putting things back on the bookshelves, but I’m very happy with the color, and it just makes the room feel so much warmer and less sterile.

Splayed on the back of the couch, and somewhat visible, is the Kaffe Fassett fabric I used to make throw pillows for the couch.  I have a good deal of it left, and was trying to figure out other ways to use it in the room.  I think it really ties all the colors together.

So that’s what I’m up to lately apart from the new pattern!  It’s nice to have small, relaxing projects as well as the big hairy ones.

Plugging away

September 1, 2009

Oh, urgh, ugh.  I’m in the knitting doldrums.  I’m plugging away at the shrug pattern, which is all very well and good, but is not exactly knitting.  My Herbivore is nearly done, but as I’m close to the end, I’m getting the “hurry up and finish” eagerness that makes me less into the actual knitting and more into wanting to see the end of it.  I still haven’t finished Gabriel’s sweater, and I am so so sick of that yarn that it makes me want to scream.   I’ve got a new pattern in mind and on the needles, but I don’t feel like working on it right now.

No, what I really want is to cast on for something new, something that I didn’t design and that hits that sweet spot where it keeps you interested, but you don’t need to concentrate super hard either.  I’ve got all these patterns I really want to knit and I’m just not there yet.  Herbivore actually fits that description to a tee – it’s just that I’m almost done with that.  (Oh, and hey, the pattern’s out now, so go get it!  It’s a very fun knit, and the finished object works equally well for a lady or a very dapper gentleman.)

Right now I want to use my Tosh Lace to cast on for a Footlights Cardigan, but that will have to wait.  No new sweater for me until Gabriel has a sweater, unless it’s the new pattern I’m working on.  (Stern warning to self here.)

Also, long overdue picture!  Remember that sample I was making for Malabrigo?  I actually finished a while back, but I took ages to find buttons that satisfied me.  So, in all its glory, Salto:

Tomorrow I ship it off.  It’s very warm, and I really enjoyed knitting it.  It’s very, very simple – just garter and stockinette with short rows – but it adds up to something a little different from a typical cowl.  I will mention, though, that I needed a little more than the one skein of Gruesa called for in the book.  I don’t know if this was my issue, or if I had a skein that was a little short, or if the pattern’s just a little bit off, but I figured I’d mention it in case anyone else wanted to knit this pattern.

If you haven’t, be sure to offer a name for my shrug pattern if you haven’t!  Tomorrow I will draw three people to win a copy of the Clothilde pattern.  Good luck!

Pamela Cowl

August 20, 2009

I’ve been forgetting to add this to the blog, but here you go!  Another free pattern on the free patterns page.  Nothin’ fancy, but a simple, relaxing cowl that is soft and comfortable.  This was my go-to cowl all last fall and winter, and I hope you enjoy it as well!

One skein of Malabrigo Silky Merino, a set of size 6 circulars, and you are on your way!  The all over lace means you get more out of the skein than you otherwise would, and the silk/merino blend feels amazing against the neck.  This pattern will also be available in the 2010 Knitting Pattern a Day Calendar.

Edited to add: I’ve been forgetting to mention this as well, but I’ve temporarily taken down the Arthemis pattern until I can write it up much better than I’ve currently done.  It is not top in my list of patterns to get to, but I didn’t like having it up when it was such a mess.  I will be returning to it in time.