Saturday, 31 October 2009

Wentworth cowl

Around Christmas time I often do a lot of speculative knitting. That is, I knit an item and then decide who to give it to later. This works particularly well for the womenfolk as it essentially means I can knit something for myself and then give it away if I decide I don’t like it. This approach works slightly less well for the men in my life as they are generally harder to convince that you really had them in mind whilst knitting that fluffy pink bolero.

So, when I recently came into possession of some navy blue super bulky wool I knew from the outset that it was perfect for a manly item. The wool was thick and lofty but according to my kitchen scales I had a mere 87g to play with (or 96m if we’re talking meterage). It might have been enough for hat but I wasn’t sure that my nerves would take the strain of reaching the crown only to find that even the remains of my cast on tail would not be enough to finish it.

A cowl then I thought. One just right for a man – not too frilly, frothy or floppy. But one that might just do for a girl if it turned out I couldn't part with the result. If I were a yarn whisperer I’d say the Wentworth Cowl is what the wool wanted to be.

This project does involve a bit of grafting at the end but please don’t let this send you into a panic. The big stitches are easy to see and the whole thing is pretty forgiving, making this the perfect project to give it a try. There are great instructions on grafting here:

You’ll also need to be able to work a provisional cast on, so while you’re surfing the net, why not look here:

The cowl is fully reversible - a useful feature in a present for a man who has enough trouble understanding what a cowl is.

Pattern directions

Gauge: 10 stitches & 13 rows = 10cm/4” in stocking stitch
Yarn: Approximately 100m super chunky wool
Needles: 9mm

Provisionally cast on 21 stitches.
Row 1 [RS]: knit
Row 2 [WS]: knit
Row 3 [RS]: knit
Row 4 [WS]: purl

Repeat these 4 rows, 16 more times (to give you 68 rows in total). Then work the first 3 rows once more.

(Note: If you don’t want to count rows, just count the garter ridges on the right side. You should have 17 in total.)

OK, now here comes the kitchener stitch. Unravel the provisional cast on and place on a spare needle. You should have a garter bump right next to each needle with a knit row sitting on the needles. Graft together the two rows of live knit stitches. By doing this you’ll create an additional knit row and complete the pattern. That is, you’ll then have 3 stocking stitch rows in between the two garter bumps, which is exactly what you should have.

Block as desired. I blocked the pictured cowl the lazy way, which is to say that I gave it a little wash and left it to dry on a radiator.

Now all you need is a handsome chap to give it to!

© Katie White, October 2009