Sunday, 16 March 2014

A cowl is born

Last month saw the first pattern release of this year's BareNakedKnitspot club. I love Anne Hanson's designs but usually go pattern-only because of the silly customs VAT import duty that has ocassionally been tagged onto my yarn packages. This time around, I decided to set myself the challenge of spinning yarn for each project. Anne is releasing patterns every other month, so I thought this timescale would give me enough time to both spin the yarn and then knit it before the next pattern release. February's offering was a cowl, hat and mitts set in a beautiful BareNaked yarn. Now I am a complete sucker for cowls, so knew instantly that was what I was going to be spinning for. I rummaged deep in my fibre stash and eventually pulled out two braids of beautiful, bouncy purple merino, gifted to me by a dear Ravelry friend, Kat.
fibre goodness from Kat (6)

It was just perfect for the job, so over half term, the spinning began. Usually when I spin, I let the yarn decide what weight it wants to be, but this time, I knew I had to be the one in control as I needed a worsted weight yarn to work with the pattern. So I made a conscious effort to spin the yarn thicker, hoping I had the right amount of twist. The colours were just beautiful and I just wanted to keep on spinning!

Bare Naked Knitspot spinning purple yarn Feb 2014 (8)
Carlsbad cowl handspun

Bare Naked Knitspot spinning Feb 2014 (1)

Purple merino worsted weight handpsun

Bare Naked Knitspot spinning purple yarn Feb 2014 (4)

I ended up with about 350 metres of lovely bouncy purple yarn - enough to knit the tall version of the cowl. The construction of the cowl intrigued me - there were two quite complicated looking cable panels and some short row shaping insertions to give extra folds of fabric for added cosiness. My main concern was having enough yarn of the correct thickness. First I checked the number of wraps per inch to see if I had anything approaching worsted weight. It was almost spot on!!

Bare Naked Knitspot spinning purple yarn Feb 2014 (9)

So I wound the yarn into two lovely fat and squishy yarn cakes, ready to start knitting.

Bare Naked Knitspot spinning purple yarn Feb 2014 (1)

I was also a little apprehensive that the cabling wouldn't show up as well in my more tweedy yarn. I cast on and knit a little to check. I needn't have worried! I posted some photos in the BareNaked Clubhouse on Ravelry and the positive feedback I received confirmed that my yarn was going to be just fine!
Carlsbad cowl WIP (3)

After that, there was no stopping me! I just wanted to get the knitting finished so I could wear the cowl! I added two lots of short row insertions in two places around the cowl. It's deep enough to act as a hood in those parts, so will be perfect for winter walks later in the year. I finished it last weekend and it took forever to dry, the yarn is so thick and squishy! These are some pre-blocked photos so you can see the shape with the added shaping.
Carlsbad cowl pre blocking 003

Carlsbad cowl pre blocking 009

Carlsbad cowl pre blocking 004

Carlsbad cowl pre blocking 007

Carlsbad cowl pre blocking 006
Finally yesterday I managed to get a few photos taken while Mr JK and I were out walking. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I kept plenty warm enough with just a T-shirt and the cowl around my neck.
Handspun Carlsbad cowl BNK 2014 (3)

Handspun Carlsbad cowl BNK 2014 (2)


lemonade kitty said...

I love all the shades in the wool, I can see pink and lilac in there, and it's knit up lovely with just a bit of cable. x

Jenny said...

Gorgeous. I made myself a long cowl a while back and I love it especially worn with my winter coat. Admittedly I just bought some yarn and knit, impressed you made such a big effort.

Lynne said...

This is beautiful, I LOVE the colours. I am always amazed at spinning. It must take some control to get the yarn to an even thickness.

Cathy said...

You are amazing. This is SO GORGEOUS!!!

Montana said...

So beautifully done!

Peacefully Knitting said...

Absolutely stunning and such a beautiful color I handspun !

Anonymous said...

absolutely gorgeous!
i love following the project from fiber to fruition!