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April 25

the completed cowl

Rejoice, my cashmere bamboo cowl is complete!

It knitted up faster than I thought it would, even taking into consideration the simplicity of the pattern, though I could have gone much longer with it, and made it even more cowly. The beauty of the pattern is that the same concept can be taken and adapted for other stiches, yarn weights, and sizes. I'm thinking of doing at least one other one, but instead of the bamboo, using a more decorative or lighter yarn and knitting on larger needles and to a larger circumference to give it more drape and a lacier feel. The result, I'd imagine, would be a much lighter dressier looking cowl, compared to the straight-forward utility of this one. One option I'm considering is trying to find a way to adapt the pattern so that I can use some of this Habu yarn I bought a couple weeks ago.

Habu yarn

Pictures don't do this yarn justice; it has just such an unusual texture and subtle richness to it. It is, however, a tough yarn for a newbie like me to knit with and gauge since its weight varies from what feels like worsted all the way down to fingering or lace. The one swatch that I did try was on smaller needles than suggested, which ended up making a really beautiful surface texture but was extremely stiff. Some more experimentation, a little research, and maybe some pow-wowing with Iko will yield a pattern and gauge that will work well for a the cowl.

Since it's my first completed knit project in a long while, there's nothing I would like more than to venture outside with it tucked in the neck of my jacket or sweater, keeping my neck warm from a blustery wind. Unfortunately, before I could finish the sucker up and take advantage of the recent cold front that had all of the magnolias and forsythias bristling at the unexpected frost, the climate decided it was springtime after all and traded 30s and 40s for highs in the upper 70s.

Alas, the cashmere bamboo cowl's April debut was not meant to be. Until the evenings get cooler again, the cowl will make its rounds in an over-airconditioned apartment.

Now that it's done, I can focus on my other work-in-progress. To make sure I don't burn out with knitting like I did last time, I've restricted myself to only two projects at a time (three if one is a long-term project like an afghan), and while I hit mid-stride with the cowl, I snatched up some more of the Rowan bamboo to start a free-form project.

The Button Scarf

My ultimate plan is for it to be one of those scarves that wrap and then button closed very tight to the neck (inspired by this Mike and Chris scarf design). I'm thinking large red buttons to contrast with the cream colored yarn to make something very graphic and striking. The stitch is really simple and taken from my sister's desk calendar and involves alternating staggered rows of knit/sl1 wyif with purls.

Since it's a project that I'm kind of making up as I go along, I'm not totally sure how it will turn out; right now I've already got a good five inches of scarf, but the more I think about it, the more I think the scarf should be wider and maybe even two-toned. But, then I think that maybe less is more, and I'm better off sticking to my original plan. I suppose we'll see where this lands.

In the meantime, I'm biding my time, trying not to start a new project, because next weekend my sister, mother and I will be heading on a roadtrip down to Maryland to see what there is to see at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.

I love that stitch you are using for your free form scarf- can't wait to see the finished product!

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