Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Week 25 of 52: The New New Shale Cowl

Who's having a busy week getting ready for the coming holiday? Um, all of us. This cowl, the New New Shale Cowl, is a reward piece that you can settle into on Thursday evening when all the dishes are clean and thanks has been given. It is a very streamlined version of the classic stitch pattern that goes by a few aliases - Old Shale or Feather and Fan; the designer, Leila Raabe, has worked it down to is simplest translation and still achieves the lovely waves and lace that this stitch pattern is famed for. Better add running into the store to your hurrying so that you can pick up a ball of Panda Silk and get this baby cast on before you put the pies in the oven. Leila is one of the lovely minds adding beautiful patterns to our knitting world through the Brooklyn Tweed Brand.
Week of November 20 to 26:
Project: The New New Shale Cowl by Leila Raabe 
Yarn: 1 ball of Crystal Palace Panda Silk, (204 yds/50 g, 52% Bamboo, 43% Superwash Merino Wool, 5% Combed Silk)
Needles: I boosted my needle sizes up one as I like a drapey cowl - US 7/4.5mm and US 8/5mm 16" circular. Pattern calls for US 6/4mm and US 7/4.5mm. Can be worked entirely on one size if you so choose.
Knitting Plan: Ok, its Tuesday. If you are highly motivated, then you can wear this cowl to your Turkey Feast. For that - Cast on NOW. Work the first 6 inches today and the remaining length tomorrow - you have a  half day on Wednesday, right?
If you are going to save it for a more leisurely pace after the feast, then -
Night 1 - Cast on and work 3 inches; I was getting about a 1/2 inch out of each repeat so this will be about 6 repeats.
Night 2 - 3 more inches; work one more row to switch over to the lager needles if you are following her advice on shaping.
Night 3 - 3 more inches
Night 4 - Finish off your ball of yarn and BO loosely (as you always should).
a) I am going to remind you here about following her advice to move your beginning marker over one stitch at the start of a new repeat of four rows. It is clearly noted on the pattern. With fact of the marker shift, I will actually advise you that having repeat markers is optional; it is a 10 st repeat so it isn't too bad for keeping track of without markers. However, markers equal sanity and having them in, beyond your beginning of the round marker, will only mean that you are mindful of shifting them as you work round 1 each time.
b) I decided that it would be a lovely twist to follow her suggestion for a tapered cowl. I changed to my larger size needle at approximately 6 inches, or, for me, after 10 repeats of the 4 row patterns, as I worked across row 1 of a new repeat. You might find it easier to change on a row 4 which is only knitting around.
c) My forever favorite thing about this lace stitch pattern is the most bang for the least amount of complication. There is only one real action row (row 1) and it is a simple one at that.
d) For blocking, I used my favorite flash bang method of hitting it with a splash of steam and stretching it out on my ironing board to quickly cool into position.

If you are viewing this post far from driving distance from our store, then please remember that we will happily take phone orders. Call us @ (805) 654-9500. (There will be a postage charge for shipping.) Also, I want to mention that we have refined the 10%off sale to apply when you are buying the yarn for the featured project.
P.S. If this idea really lights you up, then you can also join a ravelry group here.
P.P.S. Please check back this evening to see the actual cowl  being modeled...(planning on taking that pic at the store this evening)...

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