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: 
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,