« I Can Get Used To This | Main | How To: Short Row Raglan Shoulders »

April 18, 2006

FO: Somewhat Cowl


Can I tell you guys how much I LOVE this sweater! The yarn, the fit, the fact that it got done in 2 weeks. Two Weeks!


Pattern Somewhat Cowl by Wendy Bernard
Yarn Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed in a fabulous sage with bits of kelly green and roasted pumpkin
Mods Lots!

  • Silky Tweed's gauge is 5.5 spi, and the pattern was written for 6 spi. This was an easy mod, I just used cast on numbers for a smaller size. I think the yarn would have knit up at 6 spi as well but with the wool and silk content I didn't want to knit it tighter for fear I'd roast in the thing. With short sleeves I wanted it to breathe.
  • I did a much shorter raglan depth (I think it was 9.5 inches measured along the diagonal increase line). If I did it again I'd go even a half inch less. I'm short and I like fitted armholes.
  • I started the cowl much earlier because I'm busty and I didn't want to need to wear a tank underneath it.
  • I added short rows at the bust. I started them 1/4 of the way in on each side, spaced them an inch apart, and did 6 short rows on each side. This added about an inch of length and made the sweater fall evenly across my bust.
  • I added waist shaping. Just an inch in on all sides.
  • I lengthened the body ribbing to 4 inches so the body would end exactly where I wanted it to end. Gotta love top-down for that.
  • I short rowed the sleeves a bit. A classic problem with raglans is that the sleeves come out from the body at a sharp angle, while your shoulders actually curve in a much more graceful way. So, I added a few short rows at the tops of each sleeve. I think it did the trick because there isn't any bunching along the shoulders.


  • For the cowl, I reduced all purl 2's to purl 1's at the bottom of the cowl and at each point where the cowl meets the sleeves. I did this by following the directions as written for 1.5 inches, then decreasing in the places I mentioned, and knitting for another 1.5 inches. Then I increased all the purl 1's back up to purl 2's. This encourages the cowl to fold.

  • I decided I liked the cowl better folded out. No change to the pattern, it's just more comfortable to me. After wearing it for a day I've decided to sew the cowl down at the bottom of the U. My seatbelt kept catching it and it started to pucker up (you can see it in the pic above).

Thoughts on the Yarn

I love this yarn. After having worn it for a whole day I can tell you that while it does have wool and silk in it that it really lets you breathe too. Two non-knitters complimented me on the sweater (without knowing it was handknit) and they both commented on how cool the coloring was. The yarn has a lot of depth.

The one "feature" this yarn has is that the ribs flatten out. It's probably to low amount of wool in proportion to the cotton and silk. It works well for this design, but I wouldn't use it for something that requires cinched ribbing. I suspect a heavily cabled design would also be wider in this yarn than in a 100% wool. I don't think it would poof up like a wool.

Still, I love this yarn and I will definitely be making more things out of it. The color selection is great and the gauge is versatile.

April 18, 2006 in somewhat cowl | Permalink


Magnificent! Lovely! Thank you for sharing your mods; they give the rest of us busty girls something to think about whether we make this particular top or not. Do you find that the Silky Wool stretches out much with wear, or is there enough wool content to help keep its shape? I understand the "flatness" comment. I love the color you chose and the end result is definitely a winner. :)

Posted by: Karma | Apr 18, 2006 2:06:34 PM

I love the Silky Wool, too! You did a nice job of making the sweater work for you! It's just LOVELY!

Posted by: margene | Apr 18, 2006 2:07:17 PM

I LOVE IT! I am jealous with all your mods. When I grow up I want to be able to modify paterns to my body like you do!
Don't you love it when non-knitters comment on things ;-)

Posted by: Kate | Apr 18, 2006 2:10:38 PM

very nice, love the neckline!

Posted by: Julia | Apr 18, 2006 2:12:08 PM

Looks fantastic. I can't quite get my head around the concept of using short rows on shoulders and such. I'm just going to have to jump in the deep end and try it one day.

Posted by: Kat | Apr 18, 2006 2:14:21 PM

that is a piping hot sweater!!

Posted by: Jen H | Apr 18, 2006 2:15:58 PM


I only aspire to your knitting abilities. Oh, to modify the way you do... Heck, it'd be nice to be able to knit a sweater and have confidence that I chose the correct size. :)

Posted by: Jody | Apr 18, 2006 2:20:09 PM

It looks FANTASTIC. You should wear it for MS&W. You'll be the talk of the fest.

Posted by: Christy | Apr 18, 2006 2:21:36 PM

absolutely beautiful! maybe the best somewhat cowl i've seen! great fit and great colour.

Posted by: kris | Apr 18, 2006 2:25:23 PM

Ah! I love it. it looks great!

I've been wondering about the silky tweed... nice to hear that you like it and that it breathes. When I finally get around to making my somewhat cowl, I will probably end up mimicing you and adding some short rows at the shoulder and bust plus waist shaping. Woo!

It really does look fantastic on you. Thanks for sharing your mods! :)

Posted by: jess | Apr 18, 2006 2:37:52 PM

Gorgeous. You make me want to knit that one. How do you think it would do in cotton/acrylic like Calmer? (It's already in the upper 90s here so any wool content is right out!)

Posted by: liz | Apr 18, 2006 2:43:16 PM

that looks wonderful! i especially love that shade of green on you!

Posted by: erika | Apr 18, 2006 2:47:02 PM

It looks so perfect on you!! Fantastic job. As a related aside, do you usually do short rows around the neck/back on raglans?

Posted by: Lauren | Apr 18, 2006 2:48:57 PM

Love it! With your mods, this sweater is such a winner! It fits you extremely well, and is very flattering!

Posted by: grumperina | Apr 18, 2006 2:49:40 PM

It fits you perfectly! I love it!

Posted by: Bear Knits | Apr 18, 2006 2:54:31 PM

Jody, it's gorgeous! The color is wonderful on you and the your mods make it a perfect fit.

Posted by: diana | Apr 18, 2006 3:15:38 PM

Great job, and thanks for detailing the mods. Is there any way you can detail the way you calculated the short rows for the shoulders? I have narrow shoulders and I think this would be useful on a lot of projects, but I am not sure how you would work this out. Is there a book that describes this technique in more detail? It would be a service to your fellow bloggers...

Posted by: Liz K. | Apr 18, 2006 3:33:05 PM

What a FANTASTIC job you did!! Super -- and excellent job of detailing your mods (with illustrations -- I love that!).

Posted by: Vicki | Apr 18, 2006 3:33:46 PM

it looks great! i love elsabeth lavolds stuff, i knit a sweater with silky wool and some gloves with silky tweed and they are wardrobe standby's. thanks for sharing!

Posted by: j a r e d | Apr 18, 2006 3:37:06 PM

I tell you what, You should be designing sweaters!

Posted by: Wendy | Apr 18, 2006 3:45:40 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! I love it...it looks fabulous on you. The colour is perfect. I don't get short rows enough to just add them in for shaping...one day!

Posted by: Carolyn | Apr 18, 2006 3:54:21 PM

Looks fabulous Jody!!

Posted by: Kathleen | Apr 18, 2006 4:22:29 PM

It looks gorgeous on you and the colour... it be divine!!

I think the best part about top down is the deciding where you end it being SO much easier... and that ZOOOOMING bit that happens when you go round n round n round!

Will definitely be calling on you as I get to mine (one day :)

Posted by: stinkerbell | Apr 18, 2006 4:56:01 PM

Wow! A perfect fit and a great color for you. I envy your knitting prowess!

Posted by: Jessica | Apr 18, 2006 5:30:50 PM

What a neat idea: short rows for the sleeves. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Pioggia | Apr 18, 2006 7:00:26 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.