A Gift From The Needles
I’ve had some business to attend to in St Petersburg that requires me to stay over a few nights a week. I have a dear friend that I’ve known for over 21 years, and is like a sister to me. She’s put me up for a few nights every week, and graciously allows me to invade her space and privacy. She’s always doing nice things for other people, and I wanted to make something for her. She’s a very practical person, so it needs to be something that she’ll get some use of, and nothing garish or over done. I know that she gets cold quite easy, and the Seaweed Cowl came to mind. While she says she doesn’t have a favorite color, she buys a lot of blue, so I got the prettiest, shiniest, softest skein of blue yarn I could find. It’s “Nuna” from Mirasolperu. Composed of 40% Merino Wool, 40%Silk and 20% Bamboo, it’s strong, shiny, incredibly soft next to the skin and has a wonderful drape. It’s spun and sourced in Peru, and a portion of every purchase goes directly to the funding of a school in the area of Muñani.
Winding this skein of yarn into a ball looked like magic. It’s so shiny and soft, I like winding them myself, even though Yarnworks offers this service for free. This gives me a chance to have a good look at the yarn, one yard at a time. Normally I “cast on” my projects with a needle one or two sizes larger than I knit my project in. I have a tendency to cast on a tad tight, and since this needs to fit over her head, and she has a lot of hair, it needs to stretch. While I cast this project on with the intention of dropping down a needle size, after completing a round, I liked the way it looked and continued with the same needle. I found that I cast this on with enough elasticity that works well, even though the cast on edge and body are knitted with the same needle. I’m in hopes this is a trend that continues with the rest of my knitting projects 🙂 .
I’ve made a number of these cowls, but with a different yarn type. The first difference I noticed was how much texture this yarn – pattern combination has. The cowl seems to have a liveliness to it, more movement and more elasticity. The suggested needle size for the pattern is smaller than that recommended for the pattern, but this combination works well. It showcases the yarn nicely, and forms the “seaweed” texture with finesse. I found this yarn quite easy to work with. The only change I think I would make is the needles. I used Hiya Hiya metal needle, and the yarn is so slick on this I was afraid my stitches would slide off. I have another skein tucked away for someone much closer to home, it’s a nice green, and I’m tying a different pattern with it. I can’t wait to get started and see how it turns out.
The Seaweed Cowl pattern is available free online, but I couldn’t begin to tell you where. It’s a simple pattern that has a 12 row repeat. While it’s simple and allows me to enjoy the TV or conversation, I found myself getting practice Tinking back a number of stitches every couple of rows. It’s so easy to transpose the stitch count in your head – you get to the end of the row and realize you goofed up somewhere. I started with a skein DK weight yarn, this skein has 190 yards, but I’ve made several with 150 yards (Malabrigo). With US size 7 (4.5mm) 16 inch circular needles, I cast on 120 stitches with the Long Tail Cast On. Join to work in round and place a marker.
Rows 1 & 2: P4, K2
Rows 3 & 4: P3, K3
Rows 5 & 6; P2, K4
Rows 7& 8: P1, *K4, P2, repeat from *, ending with K4, P1
Rows 9 & 10: P1, *K3, P3, repeat from *, ending with K3, P2
Rows 11 & 12: P1, *K2, P4, repeat from *, ending with K2, P3
Repeat 12 row repeat four times, bind off by P2tog, sl stitch back to left needle, P2tog, continue until all stitches are bound off. Weave in both ends and block according to yarn specs. For Nuna, it should be washed by hand and laid flat to dry. I used lukewarm water and a drizzle of Eucalan, which is enhanced with lanolin and has a light lavender fragrance. I let it soak for 30 minutes, this allows the yarn to relax and settle into its new shape. There was some fugitive dye in the soak water, so I would rather that happen when it’s in the soak water by itself. I rolled it in a towel and squeezed the water out, then laid it flat to dry. I shaped it the way I want it, rumpled and in a rectangle shape, not stretched out. Now it’s blocked and ready to go into some nice gift wrapping.