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 | Comments (51)

April 14, 2006



Yup, the cowl's done. All I have is a few hours worth of sleeve knitting and this will be totally done!

If all goes well I'll be able to wear it out to dinner tomorrow night.

I never thought that'd be possible two weeks ago when I cast on. Imagine how much I could get done if I was this focused all the time!

April 14, 2006 in somewhat cowl | Permalink | Comments (18)

April 11, 2006

Cowl Progress

I've finished the body ribbing. I ended up doing closer to 4 inches of ribbing just so the body would end exactly where I wanted it to end.

Sunday night I picked up stitches around the cowl -- 208 (yay! divisible by four!) -- and promptly went to bed. That's more stitches than what was on the body.

I now have a couple of inches of cowl ribbing done, and I've made another notable mod. I decreased the ribbing along the back neck as well as the center portion (where you cast on extra stitches to join the two fronts). I decreased approximately 10 stitches in each area, and I did it by changing a purl 2 to a purl 1 in all those places. Click on the left pic below--see how the ribs look like they're getting closer together? That's because they are.

Why did I do this? Well, I've seen a few of the SCs out there that have looked a little floppy, and I was concerned that mine might do that too. So, decreasing the cowl and then increasing it back will give it more support and help the under layer to stay close to my body.

Sccowlinprogress_1  Scside

See that pic on the right? That's to show you what a 9.5 inch raglan depth looks like on me. There's still plenty of room. I did cast on about 8 stitches at each underarm to merge the front with the back, but still -- that length is plenty long.

Now, I'm only 5'2" so I'm sure some of you will need longer. My point in showing you this is to realize you don't need that long of a raglan. In fact, raglans that are too long are ill-fitting because they restrict your arm movement (and pull up your sweater more as you raise your arm), and bunch up under your arm when your arm is down because there's extra fabric where you don't need it.

So, if you're doing a raglan try it on often! This is one of the easiest shapes to fit to your own body--just give it a try.

April 11, 2006 in somewhat cowl | Permalink | Comments (16)

April 09, 2006

Just a Few More Rows


Just as I had hoped, this is a quick knit. Another inch of ribbing and I'll be able to bind off the body.

Next up is the cowl, which has almost as many stitches as the body, but--lucky me--is six inches long instead of three.

Did you notice? This is still the only thing I've worked on since starting it last week. I've been tempted a few times, but there's a meeting this week that I'd love to wear it to--six inches of ribbing to go and all.

April 9, 2006 in somewhat cowl | Permalink | Comments (13)

April 04, 2006

Somewhat-Somewhat Cowl


I started a new project! Surprised? Of course you're not.

Here's something that will probably surprise you. This is the only project I've worked on since I started it on Friday.

It's the Somewhat Cowl in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Tweed.

I'm calling it the Somewhat Somewhat Cowl because I've already made a few changes (but you knew I would right?)

I'm getting 5.5 instead of 6 stitches per inch. That was an easy alteration. I just used the cast on numbers for a size smaller and it worked out fine.

I've also shortened the depth of the raglan. For my size it said 11.5 or 12 inches, but that would have been too long. So mine is around 9.5 and it's giving me a much more snug fit.

I also started the cowl only an inch below the armholes because otherwise I'd have no choice but to wear it with a tank underneath and I didn't want to be stuck wearing it that way all the time.

And finally, instead of casting on all the central stitches for the cowl at once, I did it over 6 rows. I don't think this change is going to really do much. If I had thought about it sooner I would have started maybe 2 or even 3 inches above but I didn't. I had wanted to create more of a V look but it didn't happen. I think it will be fine because once the cowl is folded over it will do some of that V anyway.

I don't want to jinx myself but the fit is fabulous so far! Because it's a closer fit I am going to do some short rowing, and that should happen tonight. After that, I may or may not add in waist shaping (not sure if I'll need it since this isn't a loose top anyway). The great thing about top-down is you can make the decision as you knit.

One thing (and I'm writing it here to remind myself as much as to share it with you all) that I did this time was to join the front and back a little before I felt like I should. Meaning, it seemed like it would be a little tight if I joined it when I did, but I did it anyway. I was matching it up against another top I have and the measurements said it was the right time. Still, when I put it on I was afraid it was going to bind under the arms. I trusted the measurements and I'm really happy I did. Lesson learned -- knitting stretches a lot. Yes, I knew that (and I'm sure you all did too) but if you're like me you're so fearful of something being too small that you err on the side of making it too big. This time I decided it'll only be an hour or so of knitting before I'd be able to tell for sure, and that seemed like a reasonable amount of time to give up for a better fitting top.

April 4, 2006 in somewhat cowl | Permalink | Comments (14)