Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fietser Cowl & Mitts

This week I've published two new patterns, Fietser Cowl and Mitts.  The designs are ones I created for my trip to the Netherlands and I'm happy that they're ready to share!  (Fietser is Dutch for cyclist!)

I'm generally captivated by intricate surface design and interesting shapes, and so I tend to create patterns with lots of texture and color. But over the past year or two, I've become enamored of certain designers who do "simple" so incredibly well.  I know I've talked before about my admiration for Purl Soho, Julie Hoover, Dianna Walla, and Churchmouse, and inspiration from that clean, brilliant aesthetic has definitely begun to seep into my work.  While I still enjoy employing lots of knitterly details and textures, I've been challenging myself to seek that balance that my favorite designers seem to achieve between simplicity and clever design.  

With this set - a cowl and fingerless mitts - I started with one of the most humble ideas in knitting - a Stockintte stitch tube.  We all know that, with the right yarn, Stockinette has the ability to glow with luxury and relaxation.  Since I started with Anzula Cloud, a loosely-spun two-ply Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend, I knew that I could step back from my usual urge to decorate the surface and let the yarn shine with the most basic of stitch patterns.  The welting added with narrow Garter stitch stripes creates just enough interest to keep the knitter excited, and even though the yarn is fingering weight, this is one of those projects that gives the knitter a sweet feeling of instant gratification.

The cowl is designed to scrunch up pleasantly - the top end is narrower than the bottom, so the piece will relax gently along your collar bones while still snuggling the back of your neck.

And the welting along the mitts allows for an easy slouched look if that's more your style.

I've often been asked for easy beginner projects, and most folks assume that a scarf is the ideal way to go.  But unless a new knitter is really excited to knit a scarf, I like to steer them away.  I tend to find easy scarves incredibly long and boring.  In order to be really wearable, I want my scarves to be at least five inches wide and five feet long.  It doesn't matter your gauge - that's a whole lot of knitting.  One of the joys of knitting, and one that I think encourages newbies to continue, is that of finishing a project! So I recommend cowls to new knitters.  They don't have to worry about going back and forth in rows and the project can be finished relatively quickly.  It can also be worked on a sixteen-inch circular needle, so there's no need to learn magic loop or double points right away.  (For this reason, I think the cowl is more of a beginner project than the mitts.)  This cowl also includes the chance to practice some important basic skills - purling and Make One increasing.  If you or a friend are just learning, this might be just the thing to get you going.  Start with the cowl and move on to the mitts for a little skills challenge.

Of course, as experience knitters, we also sometimes just need a little bit of tasty sock yarn candy.  Have a special skein languishing away in your stash?  (Or a few, perhaps?)  Both mitts and cowl can be made with just one skein of Anzula Cloud, though you may need a second skein to make both if your yardage is less than Cloud.  (Most sock yarns come in skeins of about 400 yards/366 meters, while Cloud has 575 yards/526 meters. The cowl takes about 315 yards/288 meters, and the mitts require 165-190 yards/151-174 meters.)  The set would also be a lovely and special gift.

You can find the patterns on Ravelry and on my website.  They're sold as a pair for just $6. Buy either pattern to get the download file for both.  As is true of all my independently-published designs, these patterns have been tested and reviewed by both a technical editor and a copy editor.  Check out the beautiful projects that my testers worked up over on Ravelry!


Finished Measurements

13.75 in/35 cm long; 14.25 in/36 cm circumference at smallest point; 17.75 in/45 cm circumference at largest point

6.5 (7, 7.5) in/16.5 (18, 19) cm hand circumference 


28 sts/40 rows = 4 in/10 cm in Stockinette Stitch pattern after blocking

Cowl: 315 yd/290 m fingering weight yarn
Fingerless Mitts: 165 (175, 190) yd/150 (160, 175) m fingering weight yarn

Shown in Anzula Cloud (80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon; 575 yd/526 m per 114 g skein) Color Temperence; 1 skein is enough to make both Cowl and Mitts

*Needle sizes are recommendations only; always use needle size necessary to achieve given gauge.
Needle A (Cowl): US #3/3.52 mm 16 in/40 cm needle
Needle B (Mitts): US #3/3.25 mm double pointed needles, 32 in/80 cm or longer circular needle for magic loop method or 2 circular needles; use your preferred small-circumference circular knitting method.

stitch markers tapestry needle 

Technical Editor: Tana Pageler
Copy Editor: Jessie Kwak

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