WIP Leafy Cowl

(Topic: Knitting)

Hi Friends,

I know I just finished the other and don’t have pictures of the completed, blocked Cedar Leaf Shawlette yet, and no pictures of me modelling it for you yet, but I promise they’ll come soon! Probably next week 🙂

However, my needles have not been idle.

The next new project is actually using the same yarn (from Looped Yarn Works, the same Aleister color way). If I mathed right, I should have enough for this project too, without having to make it short! We shall see!

This pattern, Folia Cowl: A design for Fearless New Knitters, from Try This At Home Designs (by Giovanna Clementi in Canada), initially really excited me. It seemed to have a lot of written out explanation, and markets itself as for adventurous but inexperienced knitters. Since I’m largely self taught but do pretty well with most patterns, I was hoping to use this to actually check if I have gaps in my knowledge.

The first thing most patterns call for is to make a swatch, to see if your needles and tension result in the right size (because we all hold and tension the yarn a little differently, we sometimes have to adjust the needle size to basically force ourselves to match how the pattern maker tensions things – this means we should end up with the same size finished item).

Interestingly, while the pattern did list gauge information (stitch count by row count), it did not actually tell the user how to do it, nor did it tell you what size the finished swatch was supposed to be! (Standard is often 4″ x 4″, but it wasn’t specified.)

My first swatch. My first mistake was that I often confuse which technique matches the words “stockinette” and “garter” so I did the wrong one (hazard of being largely self-taught). This means that nothing came out right, and I got confused.

Since I was confused without realizing my error,  I thought maybe the stitch and row counts had accidentally been reversed in the pattern. Of course, since that wasn’t the issue, this turned out a strangely tiny swatch.

Since I was getting such confusing results, I decided to test the beginning of the pattern. Instead of being too small, like swatch 2, it was too big, getting close to a 14″  width instead of a 12″ width.

At this point I had managed to thoroughly confuse myself. I reached out to a glorious genius amazing knitting friend 🙂 who soon spotted my error. I had swatched with the wrong stitch! Garter was what I had used (bumpy on both sides by knitting in both directions) and stockinette is what I should have used (smooth on one side and tightly bumpy on the other, formed by knitting in one direction and purling when returning in the other direction). So I re-swatched, going down a size needle because my test rows of the actual pattern had been so wide…..

Much closer to 4″ x 4″. Also, my awesome friend pointed out that the width of the swatch is more important than the length, and I was just about right on, width wise, and not far off, length wise… I swatched this on #9 needles.

I’ll be honest, I also did  another swatch or two, because there was a confusing item on the gauge page. The pattern comes adjusted for 2 weights/thicknesses of yarn: worsted and bulky. My yarn is slightly thinner than worsted, varying between a worsted and a dk, and is not consistant, so I’m working with the worsted numbers. On the worsted section, my gauge stitches were 17 x 11 rows (big number cast on, small number of rows); for worsted it was 12 stitches by 18 rows (small number cast on, big number of rows). I don’t know if this is right, since I didn’t have bulky to test with, but the width of my swatch came out ok with 17 cast on, so I got muddled by that apparent inconsistency when I confused myself with my mistake!

The first several rows are seed stitch, which is pretty straightforward.

Of course I’ll be updating you as I figure out the lace pattern! So far it’s just a band, so it’s really hard to tell how the finished product will look or even whether or not the pattern will be easy to follow. I’ll let you know!!!

Yours,

Sarah

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