Saturday, December 25, 2010






So, as promised a little while ago...a free pattern! This is my Hairpin Lace Infinity Scarf...a type of cowl! My Christmas present to all of you! If you happen to make one, drop me a line and a pic to post on my Reader's Gallery! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Free Crochet Cowl Pattern Today

Fresh off the crochet hook is Carol Wolf's warm cowl with a lot of drape and luster. It's called Roli's Cowl and the pattern was posted today at her Wolf Crochet blog:
She used 300-400 yards of a sport weight bamboo blend. Nice job, Carol!
Here's the Ravelry page for Roli's Cowl.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Free Crochet Cowl Patterns!

Free crochet cowl patterns galore! Crocheting is fast, and even the smaller 1-skein cowls can be plenty warm, so there's still plenty of time to crochet cowls for Christmas gifts.

Free Indie Patterns for Small, Quick Cowls
Deb Burger's free 1-skein cowl-to-hat design
Deb Burger's free one-skein crochet cowl converts into a hat (photo by Deborah E. Burger). How cool is that? When you click on this link, please explore the free online Crochet Uncut magazine. You can see 37 or so projects here.

Newest news: Beth of Displaced Moose has a free new downloadable crochet cowl pattern!

Elizabeth Ann White offers one at her website; you can see another without fringe at its Ravelry page. (Be sure to also check out the 17 projects made from the pattern so far. Some are even smaller in size.)

Free Indie Patterns for Larger Cowls
About the more generous-sized cowls, Cheryl Brown of Purple Butterfly tweeted: "I love the cowls that cover my shoulders and b/c I also love shawls, ponchos and wraps I feel it is all in one." I agree with Cheryl--when I wear Orbit, I enjoy it like it's a wrap, only more so.

Suzana Davidovic of Croatia recently uploaded a free pattern for a larger crochet cowl to Ravelry. It uses about 400 yards of sport weight yarn and an I/5.5mm crochet hook.

Stephanie of The Crimson Owl published a free cowl pattern on her blog last year and I've seen people are talking about it again this year in online forums. Also see her follow up post about it, and its Ravelry page with 333 projects listed. Yes: 333!

Free Cowl Patterns from Yarn Companies
My crochet friend and Crochet Inspirations Newsletter subscriber Eleanor Lahn wrote to me about Lion Brand's cowl patterns: "Lion Brand’s latest newsletter has a link to all 60+ of their cowl patterns. I think Lion Brand has done as much as anyone to promote cowls in the past year -- they have lots of clever patterns." Thanks for pointing it out, Eleanor! Here's the link. (Some knit patterns are mixed in with the crochet)

Paradores
Aspen
Caron (scroll through projects to see cowls and scarflets). I especially like Aspen, designed by Kim Guzman and Tammy Hildebrand's Paradores Infinity Scarf.

Red Heart Yarns by Coats & Clark has a few free patterns for crochet cowls here.

Bernat's Cluster Cowl
Bernat has a lovely new free crochet cowl pattern called "Cluster Cowl" in an alpaca blend yarn. (Note that you have to become a member of the site (it's free) to access the free patterns.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New Tunisian Crochet Cowl Scarf

Rimply the edgy, one-skein, big-hook neck warmer is packin' some Heat-Trapping Technology:

Worsted-weight Rimply
You're looking at familiar, by-the-book Tunisian Knit Stitch, crocheted not-so-by-the-book to fortify it with stretchy padded goodness. That violet one above is for DK-to-Worsted Weight yarn and an L (8mm) Tunisian crochet hook. The grey one below is for Aran/Heavy Worsted Weight yarn and an M (9mm)Tunisian crochet hook. (Instantly downloadable pattern is written for both options.)

One edge has extra stretch built in so that it flares comfortably....seductively, even?....at the lower neck as it widens for the shoulders.  However, check out how the grey aran weight one looks when it's worn upside down! The stretchier edge is the top edge of the scarflet now:

Chunky-weight Rimply (upside down 🔄)
More photos of both versions can be seen in Rimply's Flickr set.

Rimply is named for its thermal pockets, or "rimples"—a little used term that I like reviving.

Making it as long and as wide as you prefer is easy. In fact, I fantasize about an oversized muffler-type, or even a capelet-type wrapper. So warm and squishy-soft omg.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Some Crochet Cowls Around the Web

1) Heidi Heisl has an Etsy shop where she offers a PDF pattern for a "Mammoth Crochet Cowl." It makes the "eternity scarf"-type of cowl look very warm and fun to wear--you just coil it around as many times as you like and it would fit around the bulkiest coat collars.


ALERT - ALERT -  FREE CROCHET PATTERN  - ALERT - ALERT 
2) Go check out Angryolive's Twisted Cowl. This one's a mobius-style cowl. (In this case, that special mobius twist is created after the crocheting, when you seam it.) The pattern is right there at angryolive's livejournal page.


3) And finally, have a look at this hooded cowl for men. OK yes, it's knitted--machine knitted I'm sure. But wouldn't it be fun and easy to crochet?

Everyone keeping their necks warm? It's cold even here in Florida!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

New Release: Crochet a Spiraling Orbit Cowl!

Crocheting this mesh rib stitch in a spiral sure has momentum! I really picked up speed while crocheting it: no joining, no turning, no counting stitches to slow things down.

To make it even more addictive, you only crochet into every other stitch, and this makes for an especially soft, stretchy cowl-neckscarf-capelet-hooded-shoulderwarmer-snood-wimple-thing.

The Orbit Cowl crochet pattern is fully customizable and includes the "how-tos" along the way. You can see some styling and color editing experiments in its online photo album.

I'm just now thinking that I could have written it for many yarn weights! The one shown uses an "aran-weight" (kind of "chunky weight" or heavy worsted) and a J-US10-6mm crochet hook. (Isn't it great how the self-striping yarn* looks?) The customizing how-tos in the pattern should help with substituting any yarn.

Well, dangnabbit: why not go super chunky? A big crochet hook too--probably bigger than an L, say an M or N (9mm or 10mm) crochet hook. The 'orbiting' ribs would certainly make a statement, huh?


*Crystal Palace Mochi Plus (80% merino wool, 20% nylon): 300 yards were needed for the size shown.
I also uploaded it to my Ravelry Store today.

Update

It's been 2 or 3 years since I wrote this post. It turns out that I wear Orbit more often than most of the others I've crocheted. I added a drawstring at the neck opening. I also often wear it pulled up like a hood. (When I wear a different cowl, it's when there's a fierce biting wind. That's when I turn to the wind-blocking Thaxton hood.)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crochet a "Lariat Cowl"

What a fun idea! I was minding my own business sipping an Americano with a bit of vanilla sugar, and I received a Google Alert for "crochet cowls patterns." When I saw "Lariat of Roses" I had to click.

The designer is Emi Harrington and she has an Etsy shop called Hectanooga here. You can check out the photo and pattern particulars here. Here's what it says in the description:
"VERY EASY, BEGINNER LEVEL, LARIAT OF ROSES.
This pattern can be made up in about 45 minutes!
It is all done in one continuous strip."
This design gets poetry points for blurring distinctions between cowls, necklaces, and scarves, and also for the heady "Lariat of Roses" name :-)

Now I'm going back to getting another crochet cowl pattern of my own ready for release this week. Maybe today! And a Tunisian cowl soon.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Icelandic Cowl

ICE21Final1
Icelandic Cowl started as a beautiful ball of Madeline Tosh- Tosh Sock in the colorway Iceberg.The name of the cowl is just a play on the colorway name.
Again, this cowl showcases my love for the mobius.  It also works from the center out using a 2 row repeat and finishes with a beautiful scalloped edging. The yarn has a subtle monochromaticDSC04669 variegation to it which in my minds eye gives the look of sunlight rippling on ice.
This cowl is sized in Small (40 inch Bust) Medium (46 inch Bust) and Large (53 inch Bust)
Wear it as a shawl, cowl or even twist up to cover your ears.
You can purchase this shawl on Patternfish or Ravelry for $6.00

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Crochet Moebius Cowl Pattern Released

Crochet designer Lindsey Stephens just released a new moebius cowl pattern on her website. It's called Schönen Herbst (BeautifulAutumn) Möbius Scarf and is shown in sport weight merino wool. You can see more images and find out more information here:
http://www.poetryinyarn.com/pages/10_0010C.html .

To find out more about Lindsey and see more of her designs, visit her Ravelry designs page, check out her blog, or follow her in Twitter.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Presenting Chainmaille, a Crocheted Cowl-Scarf-Neckwarmer

I so love this stitch pattern, it's chic in a luxe metallic-looking alpaca yarn. Feels like liquid chain mail.

I just released "Chainmaille Cowl, Neckwarmer, & Men's Long Scarf." Pattern includes these 3 sizes plus information for customizing. the downloadable pdf crochet pattern for it here: http://www.shop.designingvashti.com/Chainmaille-Crochet-Cowl-Neckwarmer-Mens-Long-Scarf-3-H101810.htm (Here's the tiny URL: http://bit.ly/cM54hH )
Also included: a link to a photo album of alternate swatches, views, etc. You can see some of the photos in the album here, but if you click the link from within the pattern, yeah baby: max pics with more added as they happen. Forever.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Twisty Cowl - design notes and a question!




The idea for this cowl had been kicking around in my brain for some time before I actually put hook to yarn. I had designed a knitted cowl with a simple stitch pattern in a funnel shape and it was way more successful than I had anticipated, so I wanted to use the same principals in a crochet design.

I had the perfect yarn - a jumbo hank of Baby Twist by Alpaca with a Twist. Baby Twist is soft enough for next-to-your-neck wearing, and because it is a DK weight, it would look good in a variety of hook sizes/gauges. Because the jumbo skein has over 500 yards, I knew I could make a whole project with just one skein!

So, bottom up, because I wanted to establish the stitch pattern quickly, then achieve the funnel shape by decreasing hook sizes as I stitched.

Choosing a stitch pattern took some time - I wanted it to be easy to stitch but look interesting. And alpaca yarn is VERY warm - so I wanted to have a little but of openwork so that the wearer wouldn't suffocate if she lived in a place wear sub-zero temperatures are not the norm, but of course if it was too open, it wouldn't be warm at all! I settled on this double crochet cross stitch pattern.

While I had originally planned for no decrease stitching at all, I had pretty much gotten to the smallest hook I could use prettily with this stitch, but I still wanted a closer fit at the neck. So I added a couple of rows of decreasing. I think that at this point in the pattern, the stitch is so intuitive that even a beginning crocheter could handle the decreases.

Now for the question - how far down over your shoulders do you want your cowl to go? My model is 5'5" tall and wears and adult small - you can see that the bottom edge of the cowl just covers her shoulders. Yet a friend of mine who is close to my height (5'10" with proportional should width!) said she would like to make it wider at the bottom so it would cover more of her shoulders. What do you think? How wide do you want your cowl to be? I am genuinely curious, as the width question had never occurred to me - I prefer my cowls to sit on top of my shoulders!

Twisty Cowl is available for download at Patternfish.com, and in print versions through your local yarn store, and the Patternworks catalog.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Photographing Crochet Cowls

I never hear a peep from my mannequin, Lindsay, no matter how long she has to stand there while I drape crochet on her every which way. OK yes, she doesn't have a head, but I think I would know if she grew restless. I'm sure it helps that whenever I make myself a mocha, I make one for her too.


If you haven't tried it (mochas and draping cowls on a patient mannequin), it's worth it! I see new ways to wrap stitches around a neck and shoulders, and new places to put a button or shawl pin. Like with the one shown here, I wonder about a toggle or two? Or short ribbon ties, or a buckling-latching thing?

Let's "face" it, headless models are not ideal for photographing cowls, so I try to be creative, learning something daily about this kind of accessory.

For example, today I tried dressing the mannequin in a black silk camisole--the opposite of a heavy winter coat, then tried different kinds of cowls on her.

The crochet cowl experiment you see here is all about the stitch. It's a deliciously spongy double-faced pattern I came up with on my own. In pure bulky wool and a big hook it's nearly an inch thick!! It's one full 3.5oz/100g skein of Patons Classic Wool Roving (Bulky weight, 120yd/109m). It calls for a USJ/10/6mm crochet hook and I used an M/9mm. I wish I'd gotten a few more rows out of that skein, but it does fit as a 'gaiter'-type cowl more than one way.

The yarn is vivid Christmas red, which caused my camera to blur the stitches no matter what I did. I had to cool off the red with editing tools just to see the stitches! Then I played around some more to get the version you see here. Now I want to try some fancier effects in Picnik (the editing feature of Flickr & Picasa).

Please please leave comments if you have any tips, feedback, commiserating about photographing crochet cowls! It just isn't like photographing other crochet projects.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Purple Tide Cowl

Thanks to Vashti for letting be blog here about some of my cowl designs! I have several and will be blogging about them now and in the future. This is my Purple Tide Cowl, so called because it uses a stitch pattern that looks like waves up close. This particular model is created from Malabrigo's Silky Merino. Yummo, is all I can say! I love me some Malabrigo! This cowl is deep enough to be pulled up over the head to cover your ears. The stitch pattern is easy, and if you pick a fabulous yarn, you will have a gift that you can whip up in just a couple of hours; of course, you might like it so much once it's done, that you won't want to gift it! This pattern is one of the designs from my upcoming book, "Crochet, Naturally!", which features crochet projects made from all natural yarns. Look for it on Amazon after the first of the year. My next cowl will include a link to a free pattern, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Simple Pattern, Popular Results!

The Soulful Seas Mobius Cowl came into being last winter when the owner of my LYS, Great Yarns! asked me to create something other than socks with Conjoined Creations Flat Feet Yarn.

After perusing the color choices, and with hand dyed yarns there are PLENTY, I chose this gorgeous blue that reminded me of the sea.  With only 400 yards of sock weight yarn, what could I make?

As a computer geek, math and all its complexities has always been of interest to me.  From geometry to computer programing, Math has always been a part of my life.  As much as I even complain about grading garment patterns, I always end up caught in the math.  The mobius shape, the symbol of infinity, always was a favorite.  Thus the cowl was born.

Made with a simple pattern stitch (just 2 repeated rows!) the cowl can be worn in a multitude of ways.  Wear it as a shawl around the shoulders.  Wrap it around the head to keep warm.  Loop it twice around the neck to keep warm. Or even just hanging down as a long continuous scarf with no end.

What I love about this pattern?  It grows from the center out.. there is NO SEWING other than burying the ends at the beginning and end.

The pattern is now available from Ravelry and Patternfish for Download! $6.00

A Dash of Color

Worn as a necklace but warmer, a cowl can do more than keep me warm!  The two above photos are the same Mobius Neckwarmer I designed for Inside Crochet Issue 7  I use cowls to chase away the winter wind and the winter blahs.  By adding a dash of color next to the face, it brightens the whole look.  Many times when I pick up the most luxurious of yarns, I can't resist but pull it up to my face to feel it's softness on my cheek.  The best way to celebrate that "aah" moment is with a cowl. That's how this cowl started with the pink one shown below in Plymouth Baby Alpaca DK.  Above, the cowl is remade in the lovely Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  As Fall and Winter approaches here in middle America, a new cowl pattern is a great way to embrace the transitional weather with a dash of color.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nothing like a dip in temperature to make one design and crochet winter warmers. Well it's no secret I love Scarves, shawls and of course cowls. Introducing the Chill Chaser Cowl...

Photos: Crocodile Stitch Neckwarmer

I blogged this yesterday. Here are some photos, thank you Lianka Azulay:

Is this a cool crochet stitch pattern or what? You can also see this design in two other colors, a gray and an olive green. The designer recommends Knit Picks Palette, a fingering weight pure Peruvian Highland Wool. 

Lianka writes: "I really have very little time to promote my designs (i.e. full-time job, husband, dog and grad school). Crochet is what keeps me centered.
I love that your blog intends to increase interest in crochet. Unfortunately, too many people think that you can only make ponchos, doilies and tablecloths with it."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Links to Two New Crochet Cowl Designs

I'm setting down my crochet hook for a moment to mention a few links you might be interested in.
  • There's a new MUST SEE crochet cowl but I have not posted a photo here yet because I'm waiting for permission. It's the "Crocodile Stitch Neckwarmer" by Lianka of Bonita Patterns. A photo of it and the pattern are available at that link. I think of this neckwarmer as being a very close relative of the cowl.
  • There's a MUST SEE Norwegian crochet pattern book that you can page through online here: http://www.dustorealpakka.com/oppskrifter_temahefter.shtml   You'll see a sprinkling of crochet cowls, all crocheted in luscious alpaca yarns (from what I can tell from a bit of Norwegian I've picked up); be sure to see the fine-textured Tunisian Simple Stitch cowl on page 40. Or, see it in Ravelry here.
  • Lastly, if you missed it, my latest Crochet Inspirations newsletter was all about crocheting cowls. It’s online and you can view it here. It’s free so if you like it, you can subscribe by clicking on the link at the very top of the page, or see other past issues. It comes out every other Thursday.
When you see me here again in a day or two, it will be because Chainmaille, my newest crochet cowl pattern, is ready!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cowls make great "firsts."

Cosmopolitan Cowl

Often, beginning crocheters are given a traditional, simple scarf pattern to follow as their first project. Maybe teachers think a scarf gives the crocheter LOTS of practice; they do seem to go on forever. I've found that making a scarf can be quite frustrating to beginners for a couple of reasons: it's hard for beginners to always make even edges, and scarves don't give that sense of completion and accomplishment that new crocheters need since they take some time to complete.

Enter cowls! A cowl is the perfect thing to rescue a new crocheter. Because it can be done in a spiraled round, there are no edges to worry about. It also is nearly as fast to make as a hat, but requires no shaping. Here's a simple cowl recipe you can use the next time you're teaching a friend to crochet:

Step 1: Make a chain between 24 and 28" long depending on how loose you want your cowl.

Step 2: Work in spiraled single crochet or half-double crocheted rounds until the cowl is the height you want: 12" works well, but taller is nice too. [Variation: work in the back loop to get a smoother, drapier fabric].

Fasten off, weave in your ends, and you're done!

[The cowl shown above is my Cosmopolitan Cowl pattern.]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happenings in the World of Crochet Cowls

I's great having this new blog up and running because crochet cowls are popping up everywhere. This is the perfect time to get inspired and whip up a stack of them!

Check out the latest cowl patterns in Crochet! magazine: http://crochetmagazine.com/inthisissue.php 
This issue has THREE cowls, each one a different style.

Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby designed two of the three: "La Commedie Neck Wrap" is close-fitting and "Non-Stick Lace Cowl" is a long "infinity scarf" or "eternity scarf."

I love how the offset rows and color contrast add big drama to the quick little "La Commedie." According to the magazine, the "non-stick" in the lace cowl name refers to the way the broomstick lace stitch is worked without the stick and without dropping loops off the hook. Intriguing!!

The third is the "Sporty Neck Warmer" designed by Rommyna de Leeuw:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Southern Lights Cowl

I love cowls. Seriously. Being a Florida girl, scarves just aren't practical for us. We only get to wear them for maybe a few weeks out of the year, and even then it's only for the few minutes between vehicles to buildings. But a cowl, especially made in a lightweight yarn, can be worn whenever. And you don't look like you forgot to take off your scarf when you came in a building.

I designed the Southern Lights Cowl at the beginning of this year. The yarn I used, Crystal Palace Yarns Mini Mochi, literally jumped off the shelf at my LYS and demanded to be made into a cowl. Not only that, it demanded to be made into a nifty mobius cowl. Always one to listen to my yarns, I obliged. The result was the Southern Lights Cowl (so named because the colors reminded me of a darker version of the Northern Lights and I live in the South).

This cowl works up quickly (only 15 rows, no turning!) and would make a great gift. In honor of that (and my favorite month of the year), the Fibers By Tracie group on Ravelry is having a Crochet-a-Long for the SLC. You can find all the details here on Ravelry.

The pattern is available as a download on Ravelry for only $4.00. That and 400 yards of fingering weight yarn will make a great gift for someone (or yourself). So won't you join us in the CAL? Cowls are hot right now and you can make one for your very own! :)

Let the Cowl Season Begin!

As soon as the cool air blew into Pennsylvania few weeks ago, I ran up to the attic to bring out the scarves. Now that life has changed over here, I find that scarves are not so easy to wear while I am carrying my 1yr old. Her little hands love to grab the ends and yank.

This is where the COWL steps in perfectly for me. I can still have something warm around my neck without the long ends for her to grab. Thus, my Tusculum Cowl was born.

I can't wait to see what other designers here are inspired and come up with for keeping our necks cozy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Excited to be here

Hi Vashti,
Thanks for inviting me. I love your idea and will be thrilled if you (we) get it to go viral! I am going to start by getting permission from Cheryl Means to teach her sensational cowl from Interweave's Crochet Accessories issue at my local yarn shop. I will tell the owner that there is about to be an explosion of cowls and she can be in the forefront of offering it: sales of the magazine and sales of yarn!
I have an idea for an original design and will do my best to get it done soon.
Thanks again for this exciting opportunity!
Hooks 'n Happiness,
Gwen