A Cowl For Charity
My Mother returned from a church meeting and promptly informed me that she volunteered me to make something to be raffled off for Mothers Day at her church. She told me don’t worry about making something new, just give them something you’ve already made. The problem is, most of what I have laying around the house that I’ve made has been used or found another home or purpose. All that’s left is samples, things I’ve made to test patterns or techniques. These aren’t things that people would want, much less pay the fee of a raffle ticket. I think its great that my Mother thinks that I have an inventory of items laying around the house, but sadly that’s not the case. So my search began. With other projects on the loom and needles, I remember downloading an ebook from interweave with Tunisian Crochet patterns. I love Tunisian crochet, and it had a little chevron cowl that looked like fun.
The next time I went to Yarnworks for my Inkle weavers group I searched high and low for a yarn that would work in a comparable way to the $30 yarn the pattern called for. I found an acrylic that was soft and had a nice colorway. Hypo-allergenic and barber pole effect, what could be better? I had to crochet several swatches to get the gauge just right. Then I had to get the pattern right, that was harder than it sounds. The pattern is quite easy, but it strays from plain Tunisian crochet significantly enough that you have to train your eye in a new way. First there are Yarn Overs (YO) that are worked between certain stitches to create the hills and decreases to create the valleys in the chevron pattern.
The pattern goes like this (in my own words): Chain enough to crochet stitches in multiples of 14 plus 3. First row, perform first half pass of Tunisian simple stitch (Tss), counting to be certain you have multiples of 14 stitches plus 3. Perform second half of Tss, YO, pull through one loop, *YO pull through two loops* repeat ** until one loop remains. Second row, (pattern row) and all remaining: Tss, *YO, tss 5, tss3tog, tss 5, YO, Tss* repeat to end Tss. Second half of row is identical to second half of first row. On my first pattern row the chevron took immediate shape. On the second pattern row, my stitch count was off and my chevron started looking weak. I was missing something, and I quickly realized it was the Yarn Overs. I wasn’t picking up a loop in my yarn overs because they don’t appear as a vertical bar.
Some differences in this pattern and the Tunisian simple stitch are what make this pattern enjoyable once you get the hang of it. It’s quite easy to make a yarn over in the first half of the row. Simply wrap the yarn around the hook, leave it there, then pull up a loop in the next vertical bar. Now you have an additional loop on the hook to work off on the second journey of the row. Its when you come to the yarn over from the last row that its easy to overlook. Instead of having a vertical bar to pull up a loop in, it sits at an inconspicuous slant. Not appearing as a bar at all, its quite easy to merrily draw up a loop from one vertical bar to the next completely skipping your YO. These YOs are important, they re-introduce stitches that were decreased with the Tss3Tog (tunisian simple stitch 3 together) keeping your stitch count consistent. The decreases draw your fabric in creating the “valleys” or dips, and the YO increases push your fabric up and out creating the “hills” or points in the chevron. Your stitch count remains constant. The decreases or Tss3Tog are made by inserting your hook through the next three vertical bars, YO, draw through all three loops.
The pattern is worked until the height of the cowl reaches 14 inches. By now its obvious that Tunisian crochet leaves the last row very open and unfinished looking. Its necessary to work a bind off stitch in the un-worked vertical bars from the last row. This pattern calls for a SCBO, or single crochet bind off. Its worked by placing your hook from right to left through the next vertical bar draw up a loop, YO, draw loop through both loops and repeat. Working a single crochet stitch in each vertical bar across the row. Weave in ends and seem selvages together with a slip stitch 1/2 stitch in from edge. Wash according to yarn specs and block to size. In this case its 14 inches high, and 24 inches in circumference (12 inches joined). It should sit around the neck, then stretched, gathered and scrunched into position according to the individual. I completed it just in the nick of time. I enjoyed making it and may need to make another.
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