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Fair Isle Friday: Swatch Cowl

November 17, 2017

So as well as being #FairIsleFriday, today is also #FinishingFriday, and I have just bound off a piece that has languished for at least a year. I’ve got a LARGE pile of project that have been hibernating, and part of what I hope to learn through my month-long novel project (NaNoWriMo) is to finish things. Starting in January, I aim to be working on only 1-3 knits at a time. So as this year closes, I will be putting some old projects to bed so new ones can begin!

When I started this I imagined it would become a baby sweater. But I kept getting pulled away from it to other projects. So I decided this 120 stitch baby sweater body was about the right size for a cowl for me. I added one final pattern repeat, the ribbed edge and it was done. It’s 11.5″ tall and 20.5″ around.

Project Details:

Pattern: Anthology Swatch Cowl (Mine is 120 sts around rather than the 108 called for in the pattern)
Yarn: Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in various delicious colours (listed below)
Needles: 3.5mm for ribbing, 4.0mm for colourwork

Let’s just say I have a pretty significant stash of Rainbow Heirloom Sweater, and Nina Davies, the dyer at Rainbow Heirloom, is one of my BFFs (best fiber friends) here in Edinburgh, so my stash is ever-growing despite my best attempts to keep it in control! I used the following colours:

Reds from dark to light: black cherry, young temptress, fighting fish, and cardinal feather
Deep blues: wicked pacific, navy boy
Light blues: jewel sea, blue collar, granite pool

I absolutely love the combination of deep reds with hotter reds, and reddy oranges with teal blues. So this cowl is essentially my happy place when it comes to a colourwork palette. The stripes I like best of all are the tone-on-tone ones; the deep red + orange, and the deep teal + bright teal. But all the slight variations make for a complex and interesting whole.

Charts: If you want to knit the cowl as I did, I worked chart A, B, C, B, A, B, C, B, D with 1″ 2×2 ribbed hems at the start and end.

The truth is I really like using LOADS of colours in my multi-colour pieces. This isn’t always the most practical from a design standpoint (I understand that knitters buying yarns specifically for a given design might balk at buying 12 colours, where 3-4 seems slightly more reasonable!). But what I suggest is that you can build up palettes from your existing stash and scraps, rather than buying all of the yarns you’ll need for a colourwork project all at once. Keeping a collection of scraps, organized by yarn weight, can really unlock the colourwork goddess within.

If you haven’t already tried out the free Anthology hat & cowl pattern it’s time to try! It makes a great swatch for our Strange Brew sweater recipe, perhaps now is the time!

Are you ready to get started?

More Colourful from TCK:


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Carel E permalink
    January 17, 2021 8:58 am

    I realized a concern a few years ago about selecting synthetics for baby items. All ready-made baby clothing has to be flame-proof. I’ve not found any synthetic yarn labeled flame-proof. So I have started using only natural fibers for baby items. Low synthetic content can be okay, but I always look for about a third or less. Take few inches of various fibers, a pair of tweezers or pliers, some matches, and a small bowl of water. Hold the fiber with tweezers and light the end on fire. Natural fibers will usually go out in less than an inch, synthetics continue to burn or melt until you drop it into the water.

  2. Carole permalink
    November 25, 2017 3:02 pm

    Swatch cowl is exactly what I am looking for. How did you know?

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