a few weeks ago, i traveled to texas to teach and participate in the five-year anniversary celebration at the tinsmith’s wife. as part of that event, shop owner wendy solberg asked me to design something new that we could knit as a class project, a design that would be unveiled that weekend in our lace knitting class.
for inspiration, she set up a collaboration between myself and the wool dispensary dye house; i’d be knitting with a special colorway cooked up by them for the anniversary event. all i knew ahead of time was that i wanted the design to be twofold—applicable to both a scarf and a cowl in several sizes.
i waited and wondered what the color and yarn base would turn out to be, mentally earmarking several stitch patterns in my dictionaries as possible motifs for the design.
when the yarn arrived, it was a beautiful denim blue on a lustrous fingering weight blend of blue-faced leicester and silk. i set right to work testing out the stitch patterns i thought might work, but soon abandoned all of those—the silky base didn’t translate well into the ideas i originally came up with (this happens sometimes!).
then i tried a motif i had been skipping over in my dictionary; in the book, it was knit up in a yarn that did not show it all that well. when i examined it more closely, i found that the playful, bouncy movement of the stitches reminded me of raindrops pinging off a surface when it’s raining hard.
and that made me think of tin roofs and that made me think of the shop’s name. and the yarn name. and since the shop was in texas where it is,
well, . . . hot, i began to think of the scarf as a sound—rain on a hot tin roof. i thought a pretty, sawtooth edge would be a nice addition to the scarf version—something to finish the long edges nicely and give it some weight.
the cowl is finished with simple garter stitch hems that simulate the ridges in the motif. the stitch pattern is easy to learn and to work; it is very repetitive, but because of its cheerful cadence it never felt dull or boring to me. in fact, i found the familiarity very soothing when knitting it during my travels last month.
so much so, that i cast one onto bigger needles and worked it in all the colors of our worsted weight confection to make a stripey version—ooooh, so soft, warm, and cuddly (i have another on the needles already, this time shaded from bottom to top). it’s been a great way to use all those little balls of confection that we used for our candy shop photo shoot. in fact, i plan to knit as many as i can make from those broken skeins (i estimate four or five); i think this will end up being a coveted christmas gift in our family . . .
the wavy linear elements really stand out when featured as a color change; a very striking and simple way to accessorize a classic sweater, jacket or coat. i like it paired with a neutral sweater such as this v-neck sticks and stones pullover knit in stone soup DK—the addition of the big, bold cowl gives the whole outfit a new—and bossier—personality.
shown above, the small size cowl in bare naked wools confection, colors (from the bottom) dark chocolate, cookies n cream, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and nougat. i knit this cowl on size 5.0 mm/8US needles using a total of about four ounces of this soft, worsted weight corriedale wool; i measures approximately 28 inches in circumference. and if you prefer a lighter weight or a size closer to the actual pattern specs, our breakfast blend fingering will work equally well in this design on needles size 5US/3.75 mm or 6US/4.0 mm.
shown below, the medium size cowl in the wool dispensary deadly stimulant, a BFL/silk blend with beautiful softness, drape, and sheen. the blue tin color was dyed exclusively for the tinsmith’s wife yarn shop, but the wool dispensary website shows a nice array of tempting colors to choose from as well.
it’s just that easy to give a light, airy design a completely different twist—by changing up the yarn weight and needles you can knit one for winter and one for summer (or for someone who lives in a warm climate).
thanks to our dear friend anne marie, we are able to show you a blue silky cowl version of this design that she knit in the wool dispensary deadly stimulant. we so appreciate the time and care that she contributed in making it!
adorable nicole is fairly new to the knitspot team; she came on board in the summer as our accounting and office manager when ralph went out on sick leave. we are doubly fortunate that she enjoys participating in the photo shoots as much as sarah, erica, and emily do. we are so thrilled that they all enjoy working together to get any job done; it is a thing of beauty to see them at it.
and thanks to david, who has been working the camera a LOT more lately; he’s got a great eye and style behind the lens.
happy monday; happy knitting—be back in a few days with more . . .