Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finished: Sweet Berry Bandana Cowl

Berry Bandana Cowl 3
I promised myself that I wouldn't start any new projects until I finished a few WIPs. Yeah...I guess I was crossing my fingers behind my back, cause that promise didn't hold up. At.all. I blame it on yarn fumes, the freezing cold weather, and the fact that I live way too close to the ocean which is causing me to be perpetually cold to the core at all times. I've been trying to hold off on turning the heat on in the house, something that both Brett and the Munchkin don't seem to mind (both of them generate heat like they're furnaces!). So I've been bundling myself up at all times. I'm starting to feel like the Michelin Man.

Last week I got some yummy new yarn in the post. I think I must have inhaled way too deeply because before I knew it, I had cast on for not one, but two projects! Seriously, I have the crafting mind of a magpie. I really do. The yummy yarn in question? The brand spanking new to the line-up Superwash Chunky by SweetGeorgia Yarns. All together now: Oooooohhhh! I am SO beyond happy that Felicia has added a chunky yarn to her yarn family. I don't knit with bulky yarns that often but when I do I'm usually not happy with what's available. Either I don't care for the base or I can't find the colour I want. Now I don't have to look that much further. Boo yeah! I'm one happy knitter!

So I got one skein of the Superwash Chunky in the newest variegated colourway, Berry Tart. I knew immediately what it wanted to be: a Bandana Cowl. THE cowl that's been making waves in the knitting accessory world. I was intrigued by it when The Purl Bee first blogged about it back in early October, but didn't think much about it then (cause I wasn't freezing my butt off). When the weather started to get colder my brain decided to knit anything and everything that would guarantee warmth. I liked this pattern, but couldn't find a yarn I liked. So other projects came first. When the skein of Superwash Chunky arrived on my doorstep last week, the Bandana Cowl all of a sudden made its way to the top of the queue.

The photos of me wearing the cowl make the actual colours look a bit washed out. The Munchkin hasn't been feeling all that well, or himself for that matter, and so Brett and I were in a bit of a rush to get the photo session over and done with quickly. The photo below is more accurate:

WIP - Berry Bandana Cowl

I had read that a lot of people were having yardage issues with this pattern and was hoping that the 120 yards that I had would be enough, after all, the designer stated that she only used about 100 yards. Well, I don't know how anybody could knit this within a 100 yard range. And to spec. I call BS! Yes, I didn't knit a gauge swatch per se (what's the point? By the time I finish a swatch I could be halfway done knitting the actual cowl) but I knew that I was getting three stitches to the inch on a 6.5mm needle (US 10.5). In order for me to get gauge I would have to go down to at least a 5.5mm (US 9), but to me the fabric would then be too stiff and thick with no drape. I decided to live dangerously and went with a 6mm (US 10). I thought that the gauge recommended seemed bunk anyways.

This cowl is another quick and satisfying knit, and a great pattern to have on hand for when you need to whip up and have a gift on hand. I had cast on last Tuesday night and bound off the last stitch Wednesday morning. Since I had yardage issues I couldn't knit the cowl exactly to the instructions. So taking notes along the way will definitely help you out the next time you make this. I had cast on pretty loosely (highly recommended) and was knitting along swimmingly with the short rows. Until I realized that I could get the three stitches that you're suppose to have between the wraps before moving onto the next part of the pattern. Even if I had gotten the three stitches I would have had to rip back anyways as I was way past the 11" mark. Luckily this is bulky yarn I'm working with here! So ripped back I did, made the decision to have five stitches between wraps and moved on. Next time, I could definitely leave more stitches between the wraps.

More knittin' and rippin' occurred during the decreases. I couldn't knit all the rounds between the decreases and had to improvise (and eye the ball of yarn I had left). I couldn't even knit the additional rows after the decreases or I would have been out of yarn ages ago for sure. Now that I've worn my cowl pretty much every day since finishing it, I could have definitely knit more length in the back neck (if I had enough yarn to do so) cause depending on what I wear, there isn't enough fabric in the back to keep the chilly draft out when you're out and about. I tried binding off this bad boy three times and kept running out of yarn each time. I finally just ripped out the last round of garter, did a Russian Bind Off with a 10mm (US 15) needle, and stuck a fork in it.

Berry Bandana Cowl - Side

I really do love how this turned out. And I really do LOVE this yarn. It's so incredibly squishy soft...and warm! And I absolutely love the colours. Each stitch was a different shade of purple or magenta. The entire thing reminds me of a slice of pie. These colours are just so juicy good! I've been wearing it non-stop since the second I finished weaving in the ends! Even inside the house. The fabric is drape-y yet stiff enough to stay up and keep my chin and/or mouth covered for those moments when I'm extra cold. I kinda wish I had decreased a few more stitches around the neck for a closer fit around the neck, just for that extra warmth. Oh well, coulda, shoulda, woulda. Right? Now I'll know for next time.

For those of you wanting to knit this up, do think about the amount of short rows you may or may not want to do (I'd do a few rows less on the next one), save your yardage to keep the length for the back neck (I know I will!), and if you can try it on as you go cause you just might need to do more decreases at the neck. I have a pretty big head and thought I would just get this on, but I had plenty of stretch and then some to slip this on over my head. I think I could have even done a regular bind off (using a larger needle to do so, of course) and would still have enough stretch.

I can definitely see myself making more of these as gifts...if I don't hoard them for myself, that is!

Berry Bandana Cowl
Cowl Details:
Pattern: Bandana Cowl by The Purl Bee
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Yarns Superwash Chunky
Colour: Berry Tart
Needles: Denise Interchangeable in 6mm (US 10)

4 comments:

  1. great job, melissa! yeah. it's too bad that this pattern has so many issues. but i too, love my bandana cowl. i looove that yarn! gack. so many sweet georgia yarns i have to try, stat!!

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  2. Love it!!! I agree, it reminds me of a warm slice of berry pie :) comforting!

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  3. Hi,

    I've been seeing others having similar problems with the bandana cowl pattern and was hoping someone could clear up a question for me:

    Row 5, knit 42 sts, w/t, do I go back to the beginning of the round to my marker, or do I go back 3 sts?

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  4. Thanks Becca and Mae! :)

    Anonymous: Sorry for the super late reply. I'm sure you already got the answer. If not, row 5 means you knit 42 stitches, wrap and turn the next stitch (meaning you slip the next stitch purlwise from left needle to right, bring your working yarn to the front of your work, slip that stitch back onto your left needle, put your working yarn back to the back of your work, then turn your work so that you are ready to purl). Then on row 6 you purl 3 stitches, wrap and turn so that you're ready to work the right side.

    I hope that helps! Good luck! :)

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