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Re-imagining an old WIP

May 4, 2017

With a bit of creativity, a sad old WIP became a beloved knit for Max!

Basketweave Cowl

This exquisite bit of knitting had been languishing unloved for YEARS

This year I am on the warpath to minimize my WIPS and take responsibility for both my stash and my projects. Alexa is in the same mood lately (read her ‘Spring Cleaning‘ post to learn more). Part of my KonMari household organizing process has been to excavate all the unfinished projects that were sadly crammed into shopping bags and stuffed into the back of the closet. Those poor lonely knits which got to a point, and then went no further! As a designer, I am lucky enough to work almost exclusively in beautiful yarns, so it’s even more depressing that projects in luxury fibres were languishing until a day when pigs knit and they would miraculously be finished.

This little technicolour number began when I was first running Rainbow Heirloom yarns (now owned and run by my talented friend Nina Davies). After knitting this rainbow vivid blanket, I had many odds and ends of the rainbow of yarns used to create it, so I thought I’d knit up a simple, textured scarf in a basket stitch, simply changing colours when I reached the end of each colour.  So about 1/4 of a scarf was knit, then the project was abandoned.

The checked stitch pattern goes like this, it’s an 8-row repeat:
Rows 1 & 3 (RS): [k2, p2] to last 2 sts, k2
Row 2 & 4 (WS): [p2, k2] to last 2 sts, p2
Rows 5 & 7 (RS): [p2, k2] to last 2 sts, p2
Row 6 & 8 (WS):  [k2, p2] to last 2 sts, k2

The pattern is worked on a multiple of 4 + 2 stitches. I had 42 stitches on the needles, and the final piece measures 7.5” across, which means that the gauge is close to 5.5 sts / inch or 22 sts / 4” in pattern. I would have knit this on 4.0mm needles.

Max and John out on the town one winter weekend. Max is wearing his usual uniform: North Shore sweater, this colourful cowl, and his Lowlands hat.

And so a perfectly lovely bit of knitting was saved from back-of-the-closet obscurity! Do you have some knits that you could dust off and polish of to similar satisfactory effect? Sometimes a bit of knit fabric doesn’t need to become what it was initially started to be… a square of fabric could be a doll blanket, or a short cowl, or a bottom-up sweater cuff, or the body of a baby sweater… there are quite a few possibilities!

Of course, this cowl is now Max’s favourite, he calls it his ‘scarf’. He’s 2.5 puts it on himself, and hasn’t lost it in 6 months of nearly constant use. That’s a success in toddler knitting if ever I’ve seen one!

But how big should it be?

A good rule-of-thumb for short cowls (that only go around once) is that they should be about the same circumference as the wearer’s head. So a similar number of cast-on stitches as a hat would have, plus maybe a few extra. In my case, as I was using a bit of a scarf, I ripped back the knitting to the right length, and then put both ends back on needles, and used Kitchener stitch to graft the two ends of knitting together make create a tube about 18″ around.

Pull out your (knit) skeletons!

Do you have a shameful back-of-the-closet work in progress? Or do you have many?! We’d encourage you to pull them out, air them, and either unravel to liberate that yarn for a new project, or re-imagine what the bit of lovely fabric might become, if it’s not going to be finished as-is! Share the results with us on your favourite social spot!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates button-ravelry-40

Cute on both little ones and the ladies:


Spotlight by Tin Can KnitsFlax Light by Tin Can KnitsRaindrops by Tin Can Knits

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. khkoning permalink
    May 26, 2017 11:58 pm

    Thank you! I can never figure out how big a cowl should be!

  2. The creative pixie permalink
    May 6, 2017 2:08 pm

    Beautiful colours

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