If 2019 hectic lifestyle has severely affected my sewing production, my knitting has instead greatly benefitted!
Besides the Diesis Jumper and the Vintertid Sweater, I have one more oversized jumper on the go and a little cropped sweater that I can’t wait to get started on. And whereas I’ve been terribly shy when it comes to sewing for others, I find myself confident enough with my knitting to happily work on little projects to give away as presents.
This year I wanted to knit for pretty much anybody, however focus and time were really scarce. I have to thank a flight and a terrible flu that knocked me out of business for several days for the only Christmas present I have been able to make myself: the Bailey Cowl.
As Londoners might have already noticed, Rowan has earlier in the year left the shelves of Liberty to open their first flagship store in St Albans. The location is utterly delicious, with a lovely courtyard accessorised with tables and chairs, a little café serving some truly delicious cakes, and a scrumptious collection of yarns.
I have been lucky enough to have been invited to join the launch party, where I could nose around, stroke all the yarn and even try on a few samples…
I will not lie, I was on a shopping ban and had promised to content myself with the company of so many knitting celebrities, limiting my greed to window shopping for future projects. (Unfortunately, despite my best effort I have piled up a little yarn stash and I was really trying not to add to it.) However, I had fallen hopelessly in love with the delicious shade of green of the brushed fleece collection and kept going back to the shelf to stroke it. I was just about to tell myself to get over it when I was offered it as a gift from the Rowan family. I was beside myself with glee and you can only imagine that all intentions to restrain myself flew out the window and left the shop with a bag full of yarn and a skip in my step.
Georgina, the lovely marketing manager at Rowan, suggested I took a look at the pattern book to pick a pattern and my eyes fell pretty quickly on the texture of this cowl.
I’m always in two minds about cowls: I love how I can easily pull them over my head to keep my neck and ears toasty warm, but I feel frustrated when I get too hot and I can’t unwrap myself. Still undecided on the cowl/no cowl debacle, I resolved to go for it and maybe change it into a scarf, or maybe to add buttons to give it an opening. In any case I was sure I was not going to keep it and that it needed to be suitably amended to fit its owner.
The Bailey cowl pattern is knitted double in size 9 needles and it’s a clever work of double yarn overs and slipped stitches. I was a little bummed at first, since I don’t like working with needles that thick, and I hadn’t realised at first that the yarn was worked double, but I have to admit it knits up so quickly that I barely had time to be annoyed about it.
The cowl is knitted flat, and since every other stitch is slipped it grows incredibly fast. One 2-hours flight and about halfway through the Witcher series on Netflix I had finished the length. It definitely helped that this pattern is so easy “to read” and by reading it means that I didn’t need to remember or count rows/stitches, but I could easily orient myself and knit based on how the stitches presented themselves. It happens sometimes with small projects that the pattern is so convoluted I don’t manage to memorise it and spend the entire time glancing at the instructions to see what happens next.
I wish I could show you this yarn is all it’s fluffy glory.
It seems a uniform shade of forest green, but it’s actually a blend of yellows, dark greens and deep blues. By this point I had already decided whose Christmas present this was going to be, so I spent the time finishing the edges and weaving in the ends thinking about whether or not I should go for the buttons idea, as it was clear that I wouldn’t have had enough yarn to make a scarf, even if I considered unravelling it all and halving the width.
One thing I would definitely note: the pattern states it needs 3 balls of yarn, but it used 4 and had precious little leftover.
In the end I tried the buttons usability and realised it was not going to be comfortable. The cowl knits up a skinny, very long tube, and without much space to overlap I would have needed to use about a dozen buttons to keep it shut – and I was afraid the gaping would have completely nullified the cosiness factor.
I’ve stolen a couple of pictures before wrapping it up for its intended owner, and putting it under the Christmas tree. Sadly, I didn’t get to see it unwrapped, as I would have loved to witness the reaction – but I’m hoping to get pictures of it in the wild soon.
**Thanks again to the Rowan family for gifting me this beautiful wool. They have not requested nor suggested I wrote about my make, and the views expressed above are all 100% my own**