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