17 December 2008

A cowl for the cold

I like to hand make as many gifts as I can for the holidays. To me there's nothing that says I care about you like taking the time to make something with my own two hands. First there's the idea, which takes time, then selecting the fabric, yarn or ingredients, planning the time to make the gift and then making it and wrapping it - each step during which the recipient is thought of. Holiday packages from our house usually include homemade toffee, hot pepper jelly, candied almonds, and other handmade items for the little ones like aprons or craft sets and blankets. Most of the gifts I've made this year I have to keep mum about until Christmas day but with less time this year than in previous years, I also bought some homemade gifts on etsy - my favorite place to shop for inspiration and for homemade items that I can't make myself.

Yesterday a project I had to complete for work was stopped abruptly so I had the evening all to myself to finally make a Christmas present I've wanted for a long time - a cowl to keep my neck warm inside and out. Cowls are all the rage at the moment in the knitting community ever since big bulky knits started appearing all over the runway. Many of the cowls are either too bulky for my tastes or too lacy making them impractical for the weather here. So I decided to make my own pattern in a bulky weight yarn by Lion (Wool-Ease Thick and Quick). I learned a lot from making it and though I will wear this one, I'll make some changes to the next one I make before writing down my pattern. I think the height of 10 inches is too much for me and I should have stopped between 6 and 8 inches. Trouble is, I love cables so much it's hard for me to stop cabling! I also learned that by decreasing stitches by about 5-6 at the end and beginning is important to help it keep its shape, to prevent rolling and keep the cold out. Of course, Savannah wants one now and when I told her I'd be happy to make her a matching one, she said, "No! In pink please!"

It fits over my head easily, even though mine is the largest in the house. At the top you can see where I learned to decrease a few stitches to help the cowl keep its shape. Next time I'll do the same at both ends.

A terrible picture I took of myself wearing the cowl. Next time, I'll make a somewhat shorter one but it's nice to have the option of pulling this one up from beneath my jacket collar when I'm outside braving the Northwest wind. It also folds over like a turtle neck.

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