Friday, November 18, 2011


My pointer fingers have these hard "pads" on the ends of them from months and months of knitting with size 3 needles. I am pretty sure that my fingerprints have been forever altered; I'm not sure, but I wonder why criminals haven't picked up on knitting--hello! changing fingerprints! (Perhaps all the criminals who may be reading my blog and pick up knitting will find a more therapeutic and productive way to use their time?)

I've been on the hunt to find a project where I could use larger needles and save some of my fingerprint integrity. Maybe not THIS big... 

...but something a little larger than size 3.

I recently got inspired from my craft icon and one of my grad school besties up in WI from a recent cowl project she made detailed over on Anthologie. She didn't mention it, but I'm pretty sure she used that 25th hour she pulls out of her hand sewn pocket to whip up this cozy gift for her sister. 

(I was given permission to post this amazingly cute picture of the cowl, hottie pa-tottie sister, and her most scrumdiddly little girl "Mags to Riches".  I cannot even stand how cute she is with the little pouty face...not sure if it is pathological, but sometimes, I think emotional pictures of kids like these touch the heart even more than the perfectly composed smiley ones! I highly recommend my friend's Anthologie'll immediately want to search ebay for a sewing machine and want to spend a night roaming her closet just to pick up trendy inspiration. And she's good about throwing up some amazing recipes on her blog, too.)

I am a huge scarf person. What I mean is that I have 2 scarves that I wear ALL of the time. They are meant to be worn for function and not fashion. But that doesn't stop me from strategically leaving them on with any and all outfits at work. I'm a trendy girl living in a Goodwill body, so cowls, although I like to put them on my boards on Pinterest, I know will just inspire things like quizzical stares from fellow friends and co-workers.

(Bee-tee-dubs...I just figured out how to give y'all a button to follow me on Pinterest! I cannot think of any advantages to doing so as I'm pretty vanilla in my pins, but if I can assure you that I'll contribute that big black hole that your nighttime hours go into when you find that 2 hours of your life have gone missing after what you feel like was a quick jaunt around Pinterest.)

Follow Me on Pinterest

Focus, Ali...right...I'm not a fashionista. Case in point, I wore boots OVER my jeans the other day, and my friend at work was like, "ALI! YOU ARE WEARING HEELS!" Truth is, I wear heels on a number of occasions, but I knew the undertones of her comment were: "You are one gutsy gal trying to pull off a rider boot over a skinny jean look. But the problem is, you are not wearing riding boots...and your jeans are bulging out of the top of the boot. Ah, but I'll make you feel better and comment on the heel aspect."

And guess what I paired that junior varsity attempt at trend: a homemade cowl.
Guess how many comments I got on it? Zero. Now, I wasn't even looking for any applause or "great neck rat!" But I figured going far out of my comfort zone would illicit some response.

I don't deal with the lack of response well, so the cowl may have to hang up on my coat rack for a bit longer. And actually, I'm calling it a scowl. Not because it makes me give a sour face, but because I am really just not trendy enough to say I own a cowl. So it's my scarf-cowl, or scowl.

It was a really easy pattern available for free on Ravelry that was developed after a knitter stalked the GAP and counted the stitches in their highly expensive cowl for sale. It uses larger circular needles and follows a beginner's seed stitch. Now, I am like varsity beginner knitter, so I was not worried about pattern intricacy, but rather, time. It took me about 4 days, and I did it while going into the knitting zone in front of TV. The problem with that is I would find myself forgetting to alternate stitches, and had a row with about 2-4 stitches going into cable. Ooops! It's hardly noticeable. And then I got eager the night before I tragically wore it to work, and snipped really fast all of the ends. What I failed to recognize is that I need to be as deliberate with finishing off and cutting big projects as I am with little ones. I snipped right into my pattern, and had to do some creative knitting and stitching to hide the holes. Finally, I used a heavier weight yarn than what was recommended, and had fewer yards, so I had to "guess" at how long it would be before I could finish my last row. I had BARELY enough yarn left for the last row, so I seed stitched that bad boy of 131 stitches TIGHT. Consequence? The 2 circumferences are not equal in tension. Ah well. The coat hanger doesn't mind...

When in doubt, pair your less than par creations with small children. Especially ones with boogies and pasta sauce caked on their faces.

It was really a fun project, and if I felt comfortable wearing cowls, I would make more. So if any of you want to go to Lucifer's Lair (yes, I linked that to Michael's craft store) and pick out and buy 2 skeins of appropriate yarn: I'll see what I can do about getting you your own scowl. (I call it, therapy through needles.)


  1. I love it! It looks awesome and you can TOTALLY pull it off. You should wear it with pride. I also and guilty of shoving non-skinny jeans in to boots. You can totally rock fashion! Don't be scurred.

  2. Ditto - I love it too! It looks awesome on you! Although, you might have some serious competition with Felix, who also looks MIGHTY cute in it!

    I also have to say do you know that cowls are also called snoods? so when I first read "scowl" i thought you were being witty and combining the two. I figured out the snood thing after reading about 10039 blog posts with "snood" and kept thinking "What is a snood"? I still can't believe how quickly you whipped that scowl together!

  3. I love it! It would totally be admired here in chilly (sometimes..) New England, and they are warm and toasty. I think the fact that you are able to make mistakes and compensate for them is the hallmark of an accomplished knitter.

  4. Looks cozy - I'd wear one! But then I'm guilty of having an in tire drawer in my dresser devoted to scarves I've collected over the past 10 years. I might have a problem.

  5. Then let ME be the first, or fourth at this point, to tell you that cowl is RAD! I must be honest, I'm not usually a fan of knit items only b/c I always want the colors to be neutrals... like the greys, gorgeous browns, and undyed whites I've seen you use. This cowl is AWESOME and I LOVE it. I also love your bunny hats... big time. Wear it well. And wear it tomorrow.

  6. I think it looks fantastic! I'd totally wear one. A scarf that never comes unwrapped and always stays on no matter how many times the 8-month old pulls on it? Yes please! :)