Thursday, November 26, 2015

DIY Chunky Knit Cowl Tutorial

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you're having a happy holiday with your family! This is the warmest November I can ever remember having, and it is so totally bizarre to not have snow right now. Granted, I am spending the holiday in Milwaukee, and there is probably some semblance of snow at home in northern Minnesota. But here, there is still green grass (what?!) and it is raining right now. I miss gently falling snow and frosty breath! I'd love a little more cold weather right now. More excuses to weather fluffy wool? Yes, please.

And speaking of fluffy wool, here is a project to keep your hands busy! Every year growing up, on the Friday after Thanksgiving, my mom would invite our cabin guests and neighbors to join us making hand-dipped beeswax candles in our kitchen. I love the tradition of making something with your hands on a day driven by rampant consumerism. So maybe, make something tomorrow!

These instructions are for one cowl, measuring 30" in circumference and 10" in height. I used three skeins of Knitpicks' Bare Gloss Roving, which is blend of merino wool and Tussah silk. (YUM.) I had a little left over, so you could probably make your cowl slightly taller, depending on your tension. You're also going to need size 50 (25 mm) circular knitting needles -- I got mine from Amazon. 

Your first step is going to be splitting the roving and spinning it. Depending on the roving you use, you might need to split it differently. I was working with 100 gram skeins, so I divided it into 25 gram pieces. I used around 50 yards of the final spun yarn, so use that as a general rule of thumb when selecting your roving or yarn.

First, divide the skein in two.

Divide once more, carefully splitting the fibers evenly. Your cowl will have a slight thick-and-thin appearance regardless, but it's easier to work with consistent size yarn.

You'll have these four hanks for each skein. You'll need to do this for all three skeins of roving.

Next, set a light twist in the roving. Start with one hank, and spin it with your hand, or by rolling the roving against your leg. This gives it a nice twist for strength, and prevents the fibers from clinging freely to everything.

As you spin, begin to wrap your new yarn around your hand to contain it, and to prevent it from loosing its twist.

You'll soon need to join separate hanks. Take the two tapered ends and overlap them, twisting them together so they latch on to each other. Because this is such a light twist, it is not a very strong join, so you'll have to use caution when you are knitting the yarn, otherwise they will disconnect.

Keep on spinning until you have your little ball of yarn. Now you're ready to begin!

Using the long-tail method, cast on 32 stitches and join in the round.

I prefer to use the magic loop method to knit in the round, but if your cable isn't long enough, you can simply knit in a continuous circle.

When you knit your first few stitches, carry your loose end with your working yarn to weave in the end.

Continue to knit in stockinette for 13 rounds.

It's so much fun to watch this cowl grow, because it happens so quickly!

After 13 rounds, bind off all stitches knitwise.

Weave in the loose end with your fingers.

Steam if desired. Because it is all jersey (stockinette) the edges will curl slightly while wearing. If you wish to steam it in between wears, it will help to keep it full and flat.

Here's an abbreviated pattern for you:

CO 32 sts
Connect in the round
K13 rds

BO all sts knit wise
Weave in ends

I would love to see photos if you make this for yourself! Feel free to email me or tag me on Instagram (@addie__marie). I'm also selling this HERE, if you are interested!

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