I spend all yesterday playing with this ball of cashmere yarn:
It’s 100% cashmere, 50 grams, about 170 m DK weight. It is SOFT. It is beautiful.
And it was the whole day! From the morning till the evening.
At 9 o’clock I settled at my table, yarn and tea nearby, and browsed the Ravelry pattern database for patterns. I already knew what I wanted: a narrow cowl with a delicate textured stitch and some colour accents from a second ball of this cashmere in lavender.
These are the patterns I bundled up:
Little Green Elf Cowl and HRH, The Queen can be knit the same way: a lace edging is knit sideways and when it encircles the neck you pick up stitches and work a tube upwards.
Lace Luxe Cowl and Podcaster are just tubes worked upwards, perhaps decrease a bit as you go. Mind that circumference and bind-off are loose enough too fit around your head.
Papyrus is a tube too but knitted sideways and then grafted together, like a snake biting itself in the tail. Very warm if I were to knit it in 100% cashmere.
I decided upon a lace edging with a tube on top of it. Little Green Elf Cowl was the pattern but I wanted more the look of HRH, The Queen but not leaves. Something scallopy.
I browsed the database for lace edgings that have round shapes. Lots of them are leaf-shaped. I found a few that are mere round. I also looked in my grandmother’s knitting book because a 100 years ago decorative knitting was en vogue.
I settled upon Wide English Lace, a pattern from 1891:
I spend a few hours trying to work out how to only use the bottom row of shapes and end up with a straight top, just like Green Elf Cowl uses bottom shapes with a straight top:
The little squares have triangles on top that make for a straight edge.
I had to chart the round shape and put in triangles which I borrowed from Little Green Elf Cowl. Top edge is to the right, bottom scallopy edge to the left:
At around 11 o’clock I began testknitting. In the mean time finding out about the right size needles:
By now it’s noon. Time for more tea. And ordering new needles because how can there be a shortage of 2,25 mm in my house? I know I’ve ordered some in december. And then again in January. There should be heaps of them lying around here??
Ah. I see…. Maybe I should finish some WIPs?
Or I could just order new needles and have them by Tuesday.
Borrowing the mitten needles in the mean time. 2,25 mm IS the size I need:
Now begins the tweaking stage of the testknitting. Making the thing just the way you like it, playing around a bit looking what this will do or that. I played around with making the round shapes a bit longer. Also loosing the top edge because it was too much, I was afraid I’d run out of yarn. (The original edge, with the YO row, does make a good ridge for where the neck warmer changes direction, from a collar that lies flat on the shoulder to a tube that encloses the neck. I think it will work with just picking up stitches too.)
I don’t like the open triangles much, I’m experimenting with closed ones.
Charting my changes in the mean time. I’ve indicated with a “stairs-like line” how the pattern divides in the triangles making the straight edge; the round shape and the thin outer edge that follows those round shapes. Understanding these three aspects took a long time. Two hours maybe? Lots of scribble on previous papers but I’m not showing those because I prefer you to think I’m all smart and organized 😉
Getting there! I like how the shape is visible/defined by the YO. The hole in the middle is not overwhelming. The shape doesn’t turn into a leave-shape. The triangles are in proportion to the round shapes.
The top scallop fixes one last thing: a fault in the YO column on the left. Where the scallop is thickest Wide English Lace pattern has a little hickup in the lacey bit, you can see it in the second from the top. It is when you go from increasing to decreasing and has to do with where you place the decrease according to the YO. It’s like skipping, when you change rhythm. The change is visible in knitting unless you fix it.
By now it’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’ve got this thing down. I really enjoyed finding my way through this puzzle. Understanding the patterns, understanding knitting and then commanding it. The yarn is a delight. The colours are so beautiful and they change with the changing light: cool February overcast and then suddenly sun. Gorgeous.
I spend another hour, playing. Trying to insert some stockinette stitch because this yarn looks beautiful in it. And just garter stitch doesn’t look so sophisticated to me. Not very lady-like. But you can’t put in too much stockinette stitch because it will make the knitting curl up.
This is the last before last shape I testknitted. It looks great. A bit like a peacock’s feather. A bit too much like a feather perhaps? Knitted feathers turn into leaves easily. For the last shape I’ll wait another WS row before starting the stockinette stitch. It will start right before the hole and be only the two centre stitches at that.
I changed up the decreases next to the centre hole, I mirrored them. / and \ instead of one side having a k3tog as per original Wide Lace chart. The /\ at the bottom is the fix that helps with the skipping hickup.
The picture above shows the true colours of the yarn. Scrumtious!
At 4 o’clock I started my Cashmere Neckwarmer for real:
At 5 o’clock I had ripped it all out again because the top edge is too broad. I casted on again with fewer stitches at the top.
By 8 o’clock I had my lace collar:
After two scallops I had started to insert short rows to get the collar to bend. After another two scallops I had learned I needed to put in 3 shortrows in every part where the round shape is thinnest. Otherwise the outer edge will not stretch enough, as can be seen at the left where it already curls up.
But this lace edge doesn’t bend enough. This will not lie flat on my shoulders. I suspected this at 6 o’clock, 7 o’clock and a quarter to 8. But I couldn’t insert any more shortrows at the point where I was putting them, And I couldn’t bring myself to stop and rethink the whole project. I was pretty done with solving knitting puzzles, I just wanted to knit. So I finished and at 8 o’clock put a stop to it.
Leave it for the morning. I know it’s not good enough. Not for what I want it to be. Perhaps I invent a new use for it in the morning? It does look lovely. Feels lovely too.
Now I have mixed feelings. I’m a bit disappointed but it’s kind of a sweet one. I spend a whole day playing with patterns and yarn and it was fun. I hadn’t planned on a day like this, I was going to do all kinds of Useful Things. But I also needed to rest and this was a lovely way to spend the day. But not having a usable collar feels strange. But but but.
Butt Butt Butt!
Cashmere kids playing outdoors.