Friday, 18 October 2013

Contented Cowl Knitting Pattern and Dye Garden Harvest 2013

The autumn colourway skeins I dyed last week ended up being made into a cowl. Polwarth is the first fleece I have spun which is a sheer pleasure to have next to your skin.  I'd make a 'Onesy' like my daughter wears and live in it, only 115g wouldn't keep the draft off much of anyone.  I just bought another kilogram, should cover rather more.
I did start knitting a cable pattern hat on 6mm needles, but the colour changes made it look all scrunched up. This 'Contented Cowl' knits up a dream, done in one train trip away. Choosing big needles makes it soft and stretchy.  Simple, just a little more structure than garter stitch, it's all about seeing and feeling the wool. Different pattern on the two sides - both please me.


115g soft aran weight yarn, 7-8 wpi, approx 130m
10mm knitting needles and a darning needle for sewing up.

Tension gauge - doesn't really matter, loose is good.  Relax.  
Final size 32cm wide x 90cm circle.


Cast on 35 stitches, leaving at least 5mm between stitches, so the first row is not tight when it comes off the needle.
Row One   (Knit one, purl one) repeat to last stitch and knit one.
Row Two   Purl
Repeat rows one and two til you are nearly out of wool , cast off loosely on a purl row and sew the short edges together.

So easy and so versatile, I am really happy with this cowl.  It can stretch round your shoulders or you can twist a loop under the chin and bring it over your head like a snood.
These photos were taken by BG while we were down the beach, looking for washed up bones for her Halloween costume.  Once, they probably belonged to some poor sheep who fell in the river.
Enough of storm tossed bones, I am contented.  This winter, I shall be snug and smug as you like.  Stored from the spring, I have a big bag of apple leaves, apple branches and a few dried daffodils.  From the summer, a jar of precipitated woad, plenty of dried weld, some coreopsis and chamomile flowers, not to mention the bags of hollyhock and red geranium petals in the freezer.  

Stored this autumn, lots of seeds. I germinated some in trays, a month or so ago, hoping to get a quick start next spring. Those pernicious slugs have eaten most of the seedlings already, plus all my late lettuce. Last weekend, I cleared the sunflower plants from the new wall border, dug in plenty of manure and watered the whole lot with slug-eating nematodes. 

I planted out hollyhock seedlings along the back and the surviving woad at the front, daffodil bulbs below.  I've been told slugs don't like fleece, so the new plants have collars of waste wool.  The madder plants I sowed last spring are scrambling.  I have tried burying sections of the shoots in the hopes they will root.  Only two more years til I can harvest some.

Sunshine seems to have given way to rain. I am still content.   Plenty going on in the greenhouse.  Just thinking of those dear little nematodes, soaking their way into the soil in search of lunch.  Ripeness is all.


  1. Great pattern - looks really good on you. I've never been big on cowls, but might just have to make that one.
    Slugs - I protect my seeds and seedlings with plastic bottles cut into "slices" 3 or 4 inches deep. Just push them into the ground around the seeds or plant. They can't get over the sharp ridge at the top. Works every time, and saves going to the recycling bin.

    1. I haven't tried that - though I have used the base of bottles as beer traps. I'll put some round the second wave of weld seedlings.

  2. Really nice cowl/snood. Lovely stitch definition, yarn looks smooth and silky and good enough to eat. Once I've worked my way through the slippers (your blog Dec 2014), then blended, spun and knitted the alpaca and merino I have stashed in my sitting room, I'd like to get my hands on some Polwarth...