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crochet cowl

  • Cowls, Mods, and the Best Laid Plans

    I crocheted a cowl from Scarves & Cowls!  It was the Anna cowl, to be exact.  It's lovely.

    A few words about Scarves & Cowls.  All of the patterns have names, and each pattern has a cowl version and a scarf version.  And then--then!--there's a chart to help you customize your cowl or scarf to difference widths or lengths.  This is a dream come true for anyone picking out patterns based on their stash. 

    I've wanted to try the Anna cowl for a while.  One, it calls for Lion Brand Amazing and I automatically love anything that calls for Lion Brand Amazing.  It's my favorite.  And two, it's a very simple pattern.

    There are times when I want a project that's incredibly involved and challenging.  And then there are times when I want to work on something that includes phrases like "And then work Row 2 until your project reaches this certain length or until you're happy with it. Whatever."  I may be paraphrasing a bit, but I was in a mood for one of those 'Row 2 forever' patterns and this really hit the spot.  It's a mix of single crochet stitches and half double crochet stitches worked flat and I think the stitches look like little flowers.

    I had two partial skeins of Lion Brand Amazing, so I made a beginning chain from the chart.  I used the Roses and the Aurora colors.  I think the red blended into the pink pretty well!

    Also, the cowl doesn't have to be twisted before seaming, but it's an option for people who want to.  And I always want to, at least with crochet cowls. This was an easy and quick project.  Amazing yarn is Aran weight, and the pattern calls for a J hook.  I made this in one (somewhat late) night last week before my husband was set to take out daughter to visit my mom.  I had intended to make her something earlier in the week, but the day sort of sneaked up on me and there I was--giftless the night before.  So I got started on this that night, and then I took these pictures before I went to work.

    And then my husband didn't take it with him.

    Ahem.

    Ugh.  At least I enjoyed working on this, and I think it turned out beautifully.  I'm looking forward to trying more of the patterns from Scarves & Cowls because they look like fun and I think they'll be wonderful gifts.  

    One more thing: hi Mom!  I hope you like this!  It's very warm, and it's headed your way!

    Eventually.

  • A Lovely Cottony Cowl

     

    It's finished!  The cowl pattern from the Textured Set in Hats & Scarves is a textured, cottony dream come true. 

     Okay, the pattern doesn't call for cotton yarn.  But I felt like it and I'm happy with how that turned out.  Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic yarn already has a very nubby feel to it, and the cowl pattern's mix of single and double crochet stitches made this extra super textured.  It's a lovely thing.

    The yarn is Aran weight, which is only slightly bigger than the worsted weight the pattern calls for, but it feels quite a bit fluffier than your average medium weight wool or acrylic yarn.  I used an I hook, which is a bit bigger than what I would normally use.  I was able to work this up in no time!  I just went until I had used up my two skeins (about 200 yards), and that turned out to be just fine.

    See?  It's tall enough to be a disguise!

    I will say that the crocheted fabric is a bit dense.  Not stiff, mind you!  But a little dense, which makes sense because I used heavier yarn.  I don't know if I should hang on to it and wear it a while before giving it as a gift to loosen it up a bit or not.  Maybe keeping it for myself would be in everyone's best interest.  This drapes pretty well, though.  Hey, maybe I'll just keep this because I want it. 

    This nice little cowl is going to sit in my gift stash for a while, though.  Last year's gift-giving season somehow caught me completely off guard, and I love the feeling of having a fantastic gift stash full of handmade things I can give to anyone at a moment's notice.  I'm a firm believer in making things especially for certain special people, but there's also certainly nothing wrong with making something first because you like the pattern and giving it someone later. 

    Just like there's nothing wrong with making something for yourself.  Or so I'm going to be saying if (when?) I move this away from my gift stash and into my closet.

  • WIP Wednesday: Taking a Cotton to this Cowl

    I'm crocheting the cowl pattern from the Textured Set in Hats & Scarves, and I'm taking a cotton to it.

    And I'm using cotton yarn.  I'm really sorry.  I'm so very sorry about everything.  But I had to do it.  I hope you understand.  Moving on!

    I like this Lion Brand Nature's Cotton yarn, and I think 'take a cotton to' is a cute way to say that you like something.  And in this case, it's appropriate.  Nature's Cotton is a soft and fluffy yarn, and it turns out it's a great choice for a cowl.  The cowl's texture comes from alternating single crochet stitches and double crochet stitches, and the rustic fluffiness of the yarn lends even more texture.  It's lovely.

    I love a good soft and squishy cowl, and this brown yarn feels pretty perfect to me right now.   This is a fairly small cowl pattern.  When it's finished it will be worn just like this--no looping around a few extra times.  It's pretty simple and adorable.  I think it will be a great accessory.

    I feel like I should be saying more about this, but that's it!  Sorry!

    I will review a little bit.  I like this cowl pattern.  And I like some other patterns from Hats & Scarves, let me just tell you.  No really, I can tell you!

    I loved making the Cuddly Cowl and wish I knew where my daughter has hidden this because I would LOVE to wear it this fall.

    I really like the cowl pattern from the Toasty Set and I can't wait to give it someone as a gift.  It was a quick project, and I love how huge it is.

     

     

    The Modern Chullo is awesome.  I wasn't especially great at my first attempt at crochet colorwork, but this hat is adorable and its intended recipient loves it.  I want to make one for myself because just look at this thing.

     

    This little booklet is full of winning patterns!  I think I'm going to try out at least one scarf pattern from this book, and I know for sure that I'm going to include this textured cowl as another great pattern when I finish it.  

  • Crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist Cowl: Now in Color!

    I love crocheting the Quick and Easy Twist pattern from Crochet Cowls.  Actually, I love crocheting every pattern I've tried from Crochet Cowls.  But the Quick and Easy Twist is really, incredibly, super fun and fantastic. 

    I've been trying to clear out some of my stash this summer (after a few frenzied incidents led to me nearly doubling it), and when I laid out my partial skeins of Lion Brand Thick & Quick, I knew these blues would look beautiful together. I love them.

    Cobalt, Navy, and Sky Blue.

    This is an incredibly quick project. The body is two rows worked flat over and over until your work measures the recommended length and then you twist the crocheted fabric and seam your ends together!

    Or, if you like, you can make it little shorter or even a lot longer. Regardless of its length, it probably won't take long to reach whatever length you choose because this is super bulky yarn crocheted with an N hook!  A simple pattern, big yarn, and a big hook?  This is some genuine fluffy crocheting.

    And that's some genuine fluffy knitting I did in that blanket for my youngest sister's wedding present. She's a bright colors kind of person. I like that about her.

    This sort of pattern is the perfect project for me to enjoy before or after tackling a pattern that is for something large, complicated, or just uses really lightweight yarn.  I love bulkier projects, and I love the look of this cowl.  I don't understand a lot about fashion, but this seems like a nice bold accessory to add to an outfit.  I gave my first version of this cowl to my sister last year, and she said it became her favorite accessory throughout the winter to dress up her 'casual new mom' outfits.

    And I made this cowl for our younger sister because she likes blue (and looks great in it!). So now she has a very, very blue cowl.  She always wears my cowls and scarves during the chillier months, and now I hope this cowl turns into one of her favorites.  It's certainly one of my favorite cowls to make!

  • Crocheting A Cowl of Many Colors

     

    I crocheted the cowl from the Toasty Set in Hats & Scarves.  This cowl is going to be incredibly toasty once cooler weather comes, I can assure you!

    The pattern calls for approximately 370 yards of any bulky weight yarn with an N hook, and the model in the book uses Lion Brand Homespun. I even tried that at first.  Y'all, I want to love Homespun so badly.  I really do.  But I can't crochet with it!  Knitting is okay, but crocheting is just not a good idea.  I can chain my stitches just fine, but once I start trying to find my stitches to crochet into it's all over.  This is how far I made it last time:

    Yup, that's a beginning chain. And nothing else.

    Ugh.

    This time, I decided to use up some of the bits of Patons Roving instead.  You and I both know that Patons Roving is super bulky weight yarn, and so does the yarn page on Ravelry.  But!  The label will tell you it's merely bulky weight.  The label is a liar.  I was super surprised when I was halfway through the Garter Ridge Cowl at my knit night a few weeks ago--which calls for super bulky weight yarn and was knitting up just fine with #13 needles--and happened to notice that the yarn was labeled as being bulky weight.  I couldn't believe it, and neither could the other knitters at the table when I demanded they all check the label as well just so I could make sure I could trust my eyeballs.  So weird!

    Anyway!  I bet you could use either a bulky weight yarn or a super bulky weight yarn to crochet this.  As long as you've got a hook you're comfortable using (I had my N hook) and enough yarn, you can really do whatever you want.  This is made of eight rows of double crochet stitches worked in the round.  You can use all one color of yarn, or you can use a different color for every stripe!  It's a cowl!  There's not much that can go wrong as long as you don't run out of yarn! I used the remains of some skeins in Aran, Orchid, Pacific Teal, and whatever colorway the pumpkin-orange yarn is.  I thought they would look fun mixed together, and they do!

     

    It's also 100% wool, so this is fluffy and warm.  Whatever yarn you use, I would advise you to make sure it's good and fluffy.  This thing is large and you don't want to carry around too much weight!

    I think this is going to be a great accessory in the fall.  I could wear it alone, or layer it over a cardigan or jacket.  The teal keeps this from looking too stereotypically fall-esque.  It's warm and lovely and can be looped around THREE whole times if I want it to, and I'm pretty pleased with this cowl of many colors.  I'm sure it will bring me luck and happiness.*

    *With apologies to Dolly Parton for ripping her off a little bit.  And apologies to you if listening to that song made you cry the way it always makes me cry.  But I do always think of Dolly Parton's sweet and resourceful mama whenever I get the chance to use up every last bit of my resources to make something.

  • A Cowl to Crochet Again (and Again and Again!)

    After yesterday's post, I started thinking about my crafting tendencies.  In crafting, and in everything really, I am a creature of habit.  I wear outfits like uniforms--weekend outfit, work outfit, date outfit (ha).  I will listen to the same CD for months on end.  And if I find a pattern I like, I will make it as many times as I think is reasonable until I've had enough.  And then, after an appropriate waiting period, I'll make it again!  The Shells with a Twist Cowl from Crochet Cowls has my number. 

    Seriously.

    The first time I made it, I loved it.  I wound up keeping this for myself, and I feel so warm and cute every time I wear it.  I used some worsted weight wool-alpaca blend yarn and it's so soft and warm and glorious.

    The next time I made it, my pink-loving sister got a wonderful birthday present.  She wears hers for warmth and style as well.  I crocheted this in a sport weight yarn, but it's wool.  So it's still incredibly warm, and I still used an H hook.  An H hook is apparently my default hook for nearly every project.

    I used the same lightweight yarn in a bright red color for a friend's birthday present.  She squealed and did a weird flailing thing with her hands when she saw this.

    I know this sounds insufferable, but her reaction is what I was partly hoping for and partly expecting.  I think this pattern is so pretty!  And I think everyone else should think so too!  I mean, I keep making this pattern because I enjoy it.  But I keep writing about it because I want to talk about it a lot and I want you to look at it and think about it and try it.  I'm pretty sure it could improve your life. 

    I know most people have gift stashes, but I'm not sure about favorite pattern stashes.  I'm sure some of you have certain baby bootees or dishcloths that you can churn out at a moment's notice or build up a secret arsenal with because they're so perfect for any lucky recipient.  I think the Shells with a Twist cowl is my absolute favorite fall-back pattern.  It's just so great!

     Which is why I'm really happy that I dug this out of my craft corner.

    I'm going to finish this up and it's going to be beautiful and I'm going to enjoy repeating those same two rows over and over until I have another lovely cowl to show for it.  The repetition is meditative and the result is beautiful.  It's perfect!

    Every single time.

  • Finishing and Wearing the Cuddly Cowl

    It's done!  I finished up the Cuddly Cowl from Hats & Scarves!  I don't know why Hats & Scarves isn't called "Hats & Scarves & Cowls," but it isn't.  However, there are some great cowl patterns in the booklet and I guess you're just supposed to consider them really great bonuses.  I do.

    Anyway, this cowl is very cuddly.  Look at it all up on my neck's business:

    I'm pretty happy with how this turned out.  I knew it was pretty small, but I didn't realize it would be so tight that I would need to take off my glasses to get this on and off my head.  Your neck will be good and protected in this thing.

    I don't mind the small circumference of the cowl because it's incredibly tall.

    It's only around 18" around, but nearly 12" high!  That's a pretty tall cowl to be so small, but I like it.  I'm not making a necklace and if I'm going to make something too small to loop around myself, I want my neck to be nice and warm.  And this really does kind of cuddle you!  You can fold it in half, or just kind of scrunch around yourself how you want.

    I think it looks a little bunched up in this picture because I have both my arms up in order to keep from dropping my camera.  Priorities.

    Besides, there are worse things than a cowl that's up close to your face.  It was warm enough to run outside for a minute in a tank top (I love you, Arkansas!), but I know I'll need winter accessories that keep me completely covered most of the time this winter.

    I love the patterning, which is just chains and single crochet stitches.  It would be great for a newer crocheter, but the end result is enough incentive for a more experienced crocheter to enjoy this.  The pattern was super-intuitive and I didn't zone out while working on it, but it didn't call for too much concentration.  It was a perfect weekend project.

    To sum up:  A++ cowl pattern, would make again.  I'm really excited about trying out other patterns from Hats & Scarves.  I am still in love with this almost garishly bright yarn.  I'm warm.   I really love cowls right now.  I hope things are a little warmer wherever you are!  Make this!

    Oh! Lastly, and probably most importantly, I should tell you that the stripes are made by loosely carrying your strands in the back of your work.  I meant to take a picture of this turned inside out, but forgot.  Just trust me when I say you won't have a hundred or so ends to weave in because I would never lie to you about that.  Never. 

  • Crocheting on Sunshine (Whoa oh!)

    This is really a post about a crocheted cowl.  I promise.

    But first, here is a picture of knitted mittens.

    These are mittens based off Elizabeth Zimmermann's 36-stitch mittens pattern.  You can find it in Knitting Without Tears.  Elizabeth Zimmermann was a genius.  An absolute genius.  Also: very funny.  Sometimes I just read her books because I enjoy her voice.

    I made these mittens because I needed a pair of mittens and I wanted to try this pattern.  I went for it once before and had bad luck, but I felt pretty good about this try.  Mostly because I really needed some mittens and I felt like this yarn would be perfect.  It's Manos del Uruguay Wool Clasica and I got it on sale and it turned into my birthday present.  I love the greens with that bright yellow!  I love how the spiral pooling turned out!  I love the softness!  I just love this yarn and I actually skipped the recommended purl stitches on the backs of the hands because 1) I was afraid I'd mess up with the thumb business and 2) I didn't want anything to take away from how lovely I think the yarn looks in plain stockinette.

    There's another colorway in the Wool Classica yarns called "Highlighter" and I almost bought some at my local yarn store's ear-end sale because it's a slightly more florescent yellow than the spots in this yarn and I am sure I had a reason for not buying it, but now I think I was probably insane.  I should have bought it.  There was no good reason not to.

    What I do have, however, is some Red Heart yarn called "Bright Yellow," and it lives up to the name. 

    I wanted to have some extra for the Ripples of Joy afghan I'm working on and I figured using up on some on a cowl couldn't hurt.

    At last, I reach the point of this post!   I'm working on a cowl.

    I'm trying out the Cuddly Cowl pattern from Hats & Scarves.  I'm on the second pattern repeat, and I already know that I love it!  The original pattern calls for brown yarn as the main color and black and beige yarns for the contrast colors.  The bright yellow with lime green and dark green is a bit of a departure, and I felt kind of silly when I realized that I had all of the pattern's intended colors for once. 

    But I press on because I think I need some bright yellow smack in the middle of this dismal January.  And because I'm enjoying myself with this simple pattern and wonderful colors.  I've been looking forward to trying out some of the patterns in Hats & Scarves, and I'm pretty excited that I'm starting with this cheerful project.

     
    I think I'll have this sunshiney creation completed by the end of the weekend.  I can't wait!
  • Christmas Gift Guide: My Favorite Crochet Cowls

    It's December!  Your Christmas gift stash is probably not as adequate as you originally thought!  You need quick patterns! You need gift ideas!  I'm going to pretend like I can help!

    My gift suggestion for everyone is nearly always either a knitted hat (we are SO going to talk about this later!) or a crocheted cowl.  I was thinking about crochet cowls already because they're pretty perfect.  A good double crochet stitch takes up so much space that you'll have a ready-to-wear item in next to no time, cowls are incredibly fashionable and pretty, and there are approximately a million good designs out there.  Here are four that I've already tried out.  They're all from Crochet Cowls, which is a great pattern book.  I was looking at some of the patterns I haven't tried yet when I realized I could definitely talk at ridiculous length about the patterns I have worked up because I'm pretty dadgummed enthused about crochet cowls in general, and in the patterns in Crochet Cowls.

    The first pattern from Crochet Cowls that I tried was the Quick & Easy Button-Up.  Actually, I think this is the first crochet cowl pattern I ever tried, period. 

    This was an absolute winner.  It calls for a skein of Lion Brand Amazing, but I think this would look lovely in a solid.  I think it looks best in some kind of gradient or striping yarn, but a solid would work also.

    You also get to pick out a couple of cute buttons to dress it up a bit without the fussing around with buttonholes.  The whole pattern is shells, so the entire one-skein wonder is practically buttonholes!  Really attractive and stylish buttonholes.

    Depending on your speed and skill, you could finish this in an evening or two.  I am assuming your evenings do not involve toddlers.  Even if you do have life things beyond knitting and crocheting, this would be an ideal quick project and an incredibly lovely gift.

    An officially super fast and really lovely cowl pattern is the Quick and Easy Twist.  It takes two skeins of Lion Brand's Thick & Quick yarn.  I wish I'd done this in that tweedy brown colorway.  You know the one.  This would look amazing.  Or in some mustard yellow.  Or in any color, because it certainly doesn't look bad in this off-white yarn.  

    This is worked flat and then stitched up.  I think it took up part of my weekend to make.  I was in no real hurry, and I think my hands move more slowly in the summer.  That's not how it normally works, but it's difficult to manipulate yarn into cold-weather creations when you're distracted by heat advisories.  Even so, this cowl was quick and easy.  Duh.  Titles don't lie.

    There's also the Short and Sweet Cowl.  I'm not sure why it took me as long as it did to make, but whatever. The extra bit of time was well worth it to make such a thick and scrunchy cowl.  I'm not sure if we can say "scrunchy" in this context.  I'm going it for it, guys.  This cowl fits too closely to be doubled, but it drapes and folds in a nice layering sort of way and it is incredibly extra super warm.  It calls for bulky yarn.  Not SUPER bulky, but you know....chunky.  Husky. Voluptuous.  Full-bodied.  You get a mostly bulky cowl from it. 

    I am, as always, sorry about my face.

    Plus, please look at this stitch pattern.  I love it.

    And lastly, the Shells with a Twist Cowl

    It's not quite as quick as the others, but it still doesn't take very much time to crochet to be so long.  It's the same two rows over and over and I have yet to get tired of it.  I also apparently never get tired of talking about it, either.  I make no apologies.  This cowl makes me look tall.

    It can be worn doubled (maybe tripled?).

    I've made it in worsted weight yarn and in sport weight yarn.  It looks fine either way. Better than fine.  Glorious.

    You absolutely need this in your gift stash.  This is another cowl that's worked flat and twisted before stitching your ends together, but I guess there's no reason not to just weave in your ends and call it a beautiful scarf.

    Man, I want to make another one of these just thinking about it.

    So to recap:  you should make a cowl.  You will be happy. Your recipient will be happy.  My face is odd.  Crochet Cowls is a national treasure.  You can't go wrong with shells. 

    Happy hooking!

  • Finishing the Short but Sweet Cowl

    I finished the Short But Sweet Cowl from Crochet Cowls!

    This is 18" of pretty stacked shells, and this baby is really warm

    And thick.  But not in a bad way, like when you think of those bulletproof crochet cliches.  This just feels like a great heavy duty cowl, although I'm already wondering what would happen if I crocheted this with medium weight yarn and made it a little bit longer.

    I think the "short" in the title refers to the amount of time it takes to make this.

    Don't mind me.  I always think about changing things up, though, because it's always amazing to me the difference a yarn can make. The yarn I did use is Bernat Softee Chunky, which is a nice bulky weight yarn.  This cowl took 3 skeins.   

    Exactly three skeins.

    This was all that was left!

     
    This yarn has been discontinued, but the Ravelry page for it says that each skein is around 160 yards per skein--so I needed a tiny bit more than the 300 yards the pattern called for.  Just a tip if you're thinking about making this: get more yarn than you think you'll need!

    That's my advice for all knitting and crochet projects, though.

    So.  Bulky weight yarn, J hook, and extra yardage.

    Oh, and Crochet Cowls. You're going to need the pattern if you want to make this, and I assure you that you do want to make this.

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