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FO: Instant Gratification

Yarn: Tahki Yarns :: Taos [Volcano] : 90yds/82.3m
Needles: Knit Picks Nickel Plated Options :: US10.5/6.5mm
Start: 1 November 2009
Finish: 7 November 2009
Made for: me
Pattern: N/A

Many of the projects I’ve undertaken over the past few months have been on tiny needles or have involved complicated stitch patterns or both.  Because of this, almost all of them are still works in progress and I was starting to get that burnout feeling of not accomplishing anything.  To pull me out of the slump, I decided that I needed to make something that I could finish quickly.  I needed instant gratification…  And to me, instant gratification meant two things: a simple project and big yarn.

I don’t really buy much big yarn; generally, some solid Aran weight wool is as heavy as I go.  I did, however, have small amounts of heavier weight yarn in my stash that I received as part of a care package given to me by some friends near the end of last year, when my mother passed away.  One of those yarns was Tahki Yarns Taos in the Volcano colorway.  The yarn consist of a thick/thin wool single, which provides the bulk, plied with an acrylic thread for strength.  The yarn is soft and the colors are simply gorgeous.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, in this particular case), I only had three balls of the yarn, totaling 180 yards.  So the question was: what sort of project could I do with this relatively small amount of yarn?  I wanted something that was easy to knit and practical.

Mitts?  The yarn is simply too bulky.

Hat?  Also, too bulky for my tastes.

Simple scarf?  I considered it but knew I wouldn’t have enough yarn to make it workable.

Then it hit me: cowl!!

I had not, to this point, ever knit a cowl; so, I began searching through patterns on Ravelry.  While there are many lovely examples, none of the ones I found were exactly what I had in mind.  So I set out to design my own.

The final product you see here was not my first attempt.  My first attempt turned out quite unsatisfactorily, but was a learning experience nonetheless.

The first design involved more patterning than the final one.  This is when I learned that the yarn does not have a lot of stitch definition.  It does, however, work well for the woven effect of this stitch pattern, which I love, and so features heavily in the final product:

My first attempt also definitively taught me that I bind off way too tightly.  Imagine, if you will, trying to fit your head through the sleeve of one your t-shirts and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.  Thus, I learned that I needed a much stretchier bind off.  Some additional ribbing wouldn’t hurt, either.

For my final design, I simplified the stitch pattern, added some more ribbing and used a sewn bind off.  Overall, I am very pleased with the results…