I decided to make a cowl for Kiera, our teenage helper, for Christmas. I emailed her mom for approval and to ask about colors. The cowl idea was ok-ed; a bright color preferred, and bright blue suggested.
Um, er, maybe this way...
Oh, yeah, now I remember how it goes.
Pattern: Tina-ease cowl, heavily modified. I ended up doing the main portion in stockinette instead of the purled and lacey rows.
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK (100% superwash merino) in Whirlpool (color discontinued), about 1/2 skein and Araucania Atacama (100% alpaca), about 1/2 skein. Color is most accurate is the photo directly above. The garter stitch borders are the KP, the stockinette alternates one row of each.
Needles: Knit Picks Options US#7 (top border), US#8 for the rest.
It took me five (5!) tries to get get this right.
First, I grabbed some bright blue Cascade 220 from the stash.
Here is my gauge swatch. No photos of the cowl in progress. I decided the Cascade was not soft enough for next-to-the-skin wear.
Second try, I used some delightfully soft red Black Bunny Bamberino fingering, the red that I overdyed with tea. It was still (kind of) a bright color, although clearly not blue.
(no photo, frogged because it didn't seem like it would lie properly)
Third, same yarn, different number of stitches. The pattern has the knitter cast on 90 stitches whether using worsted weight and US#7s or fingering weight and US#4s. WTF? For this try I measured my gauge in the Red Quadrant squares knit from it* and cast on what seemed like the right number of stitches for a cowl that hugged the neck a bit.
But as I worked I realized that I didn't want to give away this yarn. MINE! I might make the same cowl (but following the pattern) for myself, plus a pair of fingerless gloves but they will be MINEALLMINE!
Fourth time: part of the reason I allowed myself to keep the red yarn for myself was that, when I went to the small fridge in the laundry room to get a can of Coke Zero, I saw the bright blue Knit Picks yarn peeking from the plastic bin on top of the fridge.
I was not absolutely sure there was enough yarn in one skein -- all I had in that color -- for the cowl as written, so I grabbed the alpaca, too. It has been languishing in my stash since 2006 or so, left over from a pair of fingerless gloves. My plan was to use the KP yarn for the garter portions and alternate the yarns in the stockinette. However, I didn't like the way the pattern was turning out.
Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the frog pond we go!
Five: frogged back to the garter stitch border, knitted a couple inches of stockinette. Guess what? Too dense on US#7s, not enough drapey smoosh.
Five, v2.: frogged back to the garter stitch border, changed the Options tips to #8s, knitted. Success at last!
Does everyone go through this much trial and error to get their desired result? Not that I minded it; this is a very small project and I was extremely pleased at how the two yarns combined.
I had a fair amount of yarn left over at the end. Enough for another cowl?
There is enough in total, but I would have to reverse the yarns, using the alpaca -- slightly itchy -- for the borders instead of the Swish -- soft. Not gonna work for me. They will go back into the stash bins.
* Here is a better photo of the color.