Tag Archives: Knitting

The Fiber Event at Greencastle 2018

First fiber festival of the year is in the books, as well as a brand new new class!

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The new class is called “Master Continental Knitting” and teaches students how to make the switch from knitting American (or throwing) to knitting continental style.  Because it requires holding the yarn differently and moving the yarn differently it is a challenging class.  Thus, I provide pieces of chocolate for the frustrating moments.

This class, plus two new classes, will be offered at Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival in early June.  Class fee is $40 if you sign up by May 158th and you can see class descriptions here.

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With Friday being my only day at the festival this year I shopped in the morning and immediately after teaching.

Since I taught all day Friday and then Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon was my first chance to *really* get shopping.  Made some purchases from some long-time favorites, and one new.

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The Yarn and Fiber:

  • (Top left) The green fiber batt from Stillwater Farm is a blend of merino, english angora and firestar
  • (Top right) The brown yarn is from A Good Yarn and is a superwash merino fingering weight yarn.  I bought this to go along with the mini-skein set I bought at YarnCon the weekend before.
  • (Bottom left) These two skeins are from a new-t0-me dyer, Bumblebee Acres.  This yarn is DK weight merino/nylon blend in the colorway Dracarys (from her Game of Thrones collection).
  • (Bottom right) The green/white/gray yarn is the colorway Blarney Stone on the Twist and Shout Base (DK weight) from BaH Yarns

 

Other Items:

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  • (Upper left) I would have missed finding this book except for a friend pointing it out to me.  I had heard about this book multiple times on social media but this was the first time I had seen it in person.  As a bonus, the copy I bought has been signed by the author!
  • (Upper right) I found a few of the nine-inch circular needles I use for socks in very small needle sizes (000, 00 and 0).  I bought it from Mother of Purl, although the website listed is www.barnhart-studios.com.
  • (Lower left and center) The soap is from Simple Soapworks and I buy some every year.  I love the oatmeal in the soap because it really does exfoliate.  This year I got three scents – lavender rosemary oatmeal, apple clove and oatmeal mint.
  • (Lower right) The tubes are handmade lip balms from Ballyhoo Fiber Emporium.  I had a singular goal in mind when I started stopping – to find her chocolate cherry lip balm.  And I bought the several tubes she had.  This vendor also has a podcast which I’m going to give a try very soon.

That’s all folks!

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2018 Upcoming Classes – The Fiber Event in Greencastle, Indiana

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Its that time of year again!  Registration is open for The Fiber Event and I will be teaching one brand new class and two of my previously most attended classes.  I’m so excited for this opportunity.  I will also be at the Fiber and Friends event Friday evening for some quality knitting time.

The Fiber Event is April 13 and 14 in Greencastle, Indiana, which is about an hour west of Indianapolis.  A ton of vendors and a lot of great classes.  Registration fee is $45 for each three-hour class and now you can sign up on their website here.  You will see that there are a fixed number of spots available for each class so sign up now if you’re interested!

The Fiber Event Schedule

[please note with the exception of the continental class I will be teaching DIFFERENT classes at Hoosier Hills this year]

Friday, April 13, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Master Continental Knitting

Saturday, April 14, 9:00am-12:00pm – Lace Knitting 101

Saturday, April 14, 1:00pm-4:00pm – Bead Knitting Rockstar

If you can’t make it to the class or would like a specialized focus please see my page here for private lessons.

 

Classes:

Master Continental Knitting

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Are you ready to learn a different style of knitting that will let you knit faster and decrease the strain on your hands? Continental knitting results in smaller, quicker movements and makes it a snap to work colorwork, ribbing and more. We’ll learn the knit and purl stitches continental-style and explore different ways to tension our yarn for evenly knitted fabrics. Then we’ll practice our continental knitting with stranded color knitting and more complex stitches such as increases and decreases.

Bring to class: Samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching, 32 inch circular needle in a size US 5, and skein of fingering or sock weight yarn with at least 400 yards for a cowl

Materials fee of $4 (payable directly to me) covers the cowl pattern: Cinque Terre Cowl

 

Lace Knitting 101

UntitledLearn to knit lace like a pro! This class will cover yarn and needle selection, basic increases and decreases, chart reading, shawl construction and lifelines. After practicing with small swatches we’ll start a lace shawl you can continue knitting on at home. Learn tips and tricks that will take lace from scary to addictive.

Bring to class: 32 inch circular needle in a size US 6., at least 400 yards of fingering or sock weight yarn for shawl, extra samples of fingering or sock weight yarn for swatching (I will have some but you are welcome to bring your own).

Materials fee of $10 covers shawl pattern, highlighter tape, stitch markers and handouts.

 

Bead Knitting Rockstar

UntitledLearn to add beads to your knitwear for texture and bling. You can choose small subtle beads for a shimmer or contrasting beads for a pop of color. This class will cover how to choose the right beads, two methods for adding beads to your knits (pre-stringing or as you go) and how to place beads for a desired effect.

Bring to class: Fingering or sock weight yarn(you are welcome to bring multiple samples), 16 or 24 inch circular needle in a size appropriate for your yarn.

Materials fee of $10 covers beads, crochet hook, big-eye beading needle and handouts.

 

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Finished Object – Black Alpaca Cape

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You would think a cape knit from chunky yarn would be a relatively quick knit.  And yet somehow this took me a year.  To be fair – I did stop working on it when it got warmer.  Then I picked it back up this fall with the goal of finishing it by Christmas.  I was close with that goal.  I bought this yarn for myself as a Christmas present last year with the goal of having a warm heavy cape, especially for work.

Moving on.  My Rav project page is here.

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Pattern – I didn’t use a pattern for this cape – basically I just “winged” it.  I didn’t take very good notes either.  In general, I knit this as a top down raglan but without any sleeves.  It comes down to just past my elbows.  Somewhere past the shoulders I quit doing the raglan increases.  Around the cast on edge (I cast on 50 stitches) and the bottom I did a seed stitch border (6 rows).  After binding off I picked up stitches on each edge for the button band and knit about 10 rows (maybe a few more) of seed stitch.  My pick-up ratio was 3 stitches for every 4 stitches on the edge.   There are more detailed notes on the Ravelry page.

Yarn –  I used Cascade Yarns Baby Alpaca Chunky (Rav link) in black.  Baby Alpaca Chunky is a bulky weight 100% alpaca merino plied yarn that is solid.  It’s wonderfully squishy and soft, and does knit up fast.  I used 538 yards of yarn.

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2018 Goals

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I usually tend to spend time between Christmas and New Years thinking about goals.  I was really glad when my friend contacted me to setup a video chat to discuss our fibery goals for 2018.  I’m glad I dialed back last year to focus on learning and quality, rather than sheer quantity.  That said, I feel like I could have been more productive in 2017.  So this year I want to be more productive without going overboard.  My friend had the best idea – her word for 2018 is FOCUS and I couldn’t agree more.  I want to be focused with my time and focused with what I work on.

 

Review of last year:

  1. Write and submit one article – Nope, will try again this year
  2. Develop and teach two new classes – Beat this with three new classes
  3. Design and publish two new patterns – Met this with my cowl for Malabrigo and my Cathay Williams Shawl
  4. Learn how to knit entrelac – Nope
  5. Learn how to knit brioche – I not only learned but completed a brioche cowl
  6. Learn to spin with beads – Nope, will try again this year
  7. Spin a consistent worsted weight yarn – Nope.  I really haven’t been interested or motivated in spinning a thicker yarn.

 

About setting goals:

I posted year before last about setting SMART goals, particularly as they rely to fiber artists.  That post is here.  SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time relevant. While I think its a valid method, its not what I used this year.

2018 goals:

FloofyMoose Fibers

  1. Write and submit one article
  2. Develop and teach two new classes
  3. Design and publish three new patterns

Knitting

  1. Learn and complete one project using Portuguese Knitting
  2. Complete 57 blanket squares for a total of 100 (approximately one per week)
  3. Finish a pair of socks

Spinning

  1. Spin 4 ounces of yarn every other month
  2. Finish two in-process spinning projects
  3. Complete a 1-2 ounce spinning project with beads.

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December 2017 Odds n’ Ends

Welcome to December! This is my favorite time of the year – as in, I had the house decorated for Christmas by Black Friday.  Here’s some odds’n’ends since September.

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Montrose Farms I had a fun time spinning at National Alpaca Day at Montrose Farms.  My friend Heather came with and we demonstrated spinning.  I about have all my blue singles finished.  I’m planning to ply it (two-ply) and then knit a shawl with it and a gray.

 

Ann Tudor

Ann Tudor Stitch Markers As a charter member in the Collectors Club I get first access to that month’s set.  Above are the September and November sets and I love love love both.  Ann is so creative and her work is beautiful.  Her website is here.

 

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Needle Case Labels I’ve been collecting a few needle organizers from Erin Lane Bags for the purpose of organizing all of my fixed circular needles.  I also wanted to label each pocket so I’d know where needles went, and be able to find them without a needle sizer.  So I bought some Avery iron transfer paper on Amazon and made sheets of labels.  Then I cut out the labels  and ironed them on.  I’m very happy with how they turned out and will definitely make more if needed.

 

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Jessica Knits In early November I had a work conference in Scottsdale, Arizona and due to flights, I got in many hours before the conference started.  I found online a local yarn shop not too far away from my hotel and headed over there early Sunday afternoon.  The local yarn shop is called Jessica Knits and I loved it! They had a good selection of different yarns, including some local yarns.  The burgundy and gray skeins above are from Gherkin’s Bucket, a local indie-dyer.  So, I was excited to buy some “vacation” yarn.  The dark purple is some Malabrigo Rio to go with orange in a hat.  I also hung out for a bit to knit with their Sunday afternoon knitting group.  What a wonderful group of ladies! They were so welcoming and kind to a stranger.

 

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Sewing Next week I’ll go into detail about my numerous sewing projects.  There are a lot of them!

 

 

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On The Needles – November 2017

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What’s on my needles right now!

Changes in the line-up.  Hoping to get some serious knitting time in over the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Diadem– I’m so close to being done with this it’s silly its not done – all that’s left is the knitted on border.  Unfortunately, I’m not happy with it.  I’ve barely used any of the yarn and it is a very small shawl.  So I’m going to rip it out via the skeinwinder (so I can count yardage) and pick something else.  Brief reminder – this is the shawl I’m knitting for my friend Patty in exchange for a pair of handknit socks.  Yarn is from Zen Garden (I think Serenity Silk – the light fingering weight one) and the pattern is Diadem by Ruth Greenwald. PS – the photo color doesn’t do it justice at all.  It’s actually a deep midnight blue with a lot of sheen.

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  • Alpaca Cape – A big, heavy, warm, snuggly cape, that’s what I want(ed).  My yarny Christmas present to myself was several skeins of Cascade Yarn Baby Alpaca Chunky for a cape, which I promptly started over the Christmas holiday.  I’m three skeins in, with a couple more left.  This is my HOT RIGHT NOW project so I can wear it this winter.  I don’t have a pattern for it – I’m just knitting it like a top down raglan without ever dividing off for sleeves.  I plan to knit until I’m into the last skein and then stop to do a nice wide button band.  The yarn is amazing and squishy – and very warm!

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  • Wicked Mormorio – One of my social-knitting (aka don’t have to pay attention to) projects.  Pattern is Mormorio by Heather Zoppetti and costs $6 on Ravelry.  The pattern uses two colors of yarn, both fingering weight.  The first I’ve used is Another Crafty Girl‘s Strong Sock in the colorway Numerical Vampire and the second I’ve used is Dyeabolical Yarns Tenacious Sock int the colorway Ever After.

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  • Golden Rapunzel – This is very much NOT brain-dead knitting.  Lace (both right and wrong side) with beads.  The other fun part of this pattern is its knit bottom up (so from the large edge of the shawl up to the neck).  Pattern is Rapunzel Let Down Your Hair by Lily Go and costs $5 on Ravelry.  Heads up – it is not a beginner friendly pattern.  Yarn is Iachos from A Hundred Ravens in the colorway Apollo.

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  • Starry Whovian Socks – I am still loving knitting on this tiny circular needle.  I’ve made just a bit of progress since the last time I posted, mostly because I don’t work on it very often.  It’s become my current “brainless knitting” project that I can do anywhere, anytime.  These are plain socks with ribbing across the top, knit toe-up with an after-thought heel.  I’m using Quaere Fibre Sparkle Sock in the colorway Dr. Who Vincent and the Doctor.

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Knitting Pattern Release: Cathay Williams Shawl

I’m pleased to announce that I just released my cozy new shawl for fall, The Cathay Williams Shawl!  It features a crescent shape with long wings, perfect to wrap around you., and uses just under two 100 gram skeins of fingering weight yarn.  Each row of the shawl is worked across different sections: mesh, a texture section and then mesh again.   I’m sure you’ll enjoy curling up to knit, and wear, this shawl.

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You can buy it and read more about it on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member!).  Click here!

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You can adjust the size of the shawl (the length/depth) for the amount of yarn you have on hand.  The pattern has been tech edited.

Who is Cathay Williams? In a time when U.S. Army regulations forbade the enlistment of women, Cathay Williams enlisted under the name William Cathay on November 15, 1866.  She told the recruiting officer that she was a 22-year-old cook.  An Army Surgeon examined her and determined she was fit for duty.  Cathay Williams then became the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army.  She was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry and traveled throughout the West with her unit.  She was discharged in October 1868 when an Army surgeon found out she was a woman.  She is the only known female Buffalo Solider.

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  • Yarn
    • Approximately 825 yards fingering weight yarn. Shown in Fresh From the Cauldron Schoodic Sock (75% superwash merino, 25% nylon, 460 yards, 3.53oz) in the colorway Poe’s Absinthe Induced Dream.   Other suggested yarns include Destination Yarns Postcard, Cascade Heritage Paints or Knitted Wit Victory Sock.
  • Needle
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 32″ or 40″, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 2 stitch markers
    •  Tapestry needle
    •  Blocking pins

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  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 32″ wide
      • 44″ height (or depth)

The shawl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. 

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Musings on Interchangeable versus Fixed Circular Needles

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I recently went through all my interchangeable and fixed circular needles to list and organize what I had (I feel like I’m always buying more US 4 fixed circular needles).  Doing so got me thinking about under what circumstances I reach for fixed circular needles rather than my case of interchangeable needles.  Here’s the quick version: when I’m knitting lace, cables and/or knitting with thinner yarn, I reach for my circular needles.  Most other times I reach for my set of interchangeables.

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I started knitting in July of 2010 and during that year all the yarn I used was DK weight or heavier and I didn’t knit any lace or cables (thank you Ravelry for the trip down memory lane).  At that time I was using a few fixed circular needles (mostly for hats), some straights and some DPNs.  In October I ordered a try it set of interchangeable needles from Knit Picks (where you’d get 3 sets of tips and 1 cord) and in January of the following year I ordered my first set of interchangeable needles.  During that year I was mostly using my set of interchangeables for lace knitting.  From 2012 through 2015 though I gradually transitioned from using my interchangeables for lace and cables (and anything fingering weight or thinner) to using fixed circulars.

Note: If you’re looking into which brand of fixed circular needles is right for you, check out my comparison review here.

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Retrospectively, I’ve done this for a few reasons:

  • Having had a set of interchangeable Knit Picks needles come apart at the join, I am somewhat fearful of this happening with lace or cables.  While I know how to fix dropped stitches in lace and cables it is still a major pain and time suck.  If it happens on garter stitch or with thicker yarn, it’s not that big of a deal but with lace it is.  And by far I mostly knit lace.  I do use the little key to tighten my cords to the tips but I still sometimes find the cables start to come loose.  I sold most of my Knit Picks interchangeable needles in favor of my Chiagoo sets but even those require tightening.
  • I mainly knit lace shawls and cowls out of fingering weight yarn which means I tend to need to the same size needles in the same lengths for many projects.  So, I’m not having to buy a ton of fixed circular needles for my knitting (although in the interest of full disclosure I have a fair amount of fixed circular needles).
  • I find less snags at the join on my fixed circular needles than my interchangeables (because on the interchangeables it can snag at the cord to tip join and at the tip base to stalk screw together join.
  • I like being able to grab the one or two needles I need, toss it in the project bag and go.  I don’t need to carry around my interchangeble set on a regular basis.
  • On a per basis, the fixed circulars are usually cheaper than buying an interchangeable cord and tip (at least for Chiaogoos).

So, it appears that for my primary knitting, I’ve just found fixed circulars to be the best fit.  I DO use my interchangeable needles for more simple (no lace, no cables) projects, especially those that have a thicker weight yarn.

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I think interchangeable sets are great when you start knitting because it allows you to buy the least amount of needles until you settle into your “normal” knitting.  That comes with the caveat though to ALWAYS tighten your tip to your cord (assuming the brand you use joins in that manner).  As you progress as a knitter (especially if you have problems with joins and/or needles separating), it’s not a bad idea to try some fixed circular needles in the size(s) you use most often.

What types of needles do you reach for? Does it depend on the project or yarn? I would love to hear what your experience has been.

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September 2017 Odds n’ Ends

It’s almost fall.  We’re almost there! I love fall – cinnamon, apples, fallen leaves, the slight chill, plaid shirts (which apparently is “in” this fall”) and more apples.  I might have already put out fall decorations and stocked up on cinnamon as I gear up for a busy September.

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New Bag I ordered (another) custom bag from The Silver Shed on Etsy.  The proprietress Ann is always so great to work with and this time was no exception. I found this Supernatural (as in the tv show) themed fabric on Spoonflower and was dying to have it as a bag.  So, I reached out to Ann, ordered and shipped her the fabric and POOF she made me a bag.  One of the things I love about her shop is the ability to customize the bag by adding different types of exterior and interior pockets.  I love the big clear vinyl pocket on the outside for storing my pattern.  I couldn’t be more pleased.

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Upcoming Design I’m wrapping up a cozy autumn/winter shawl that has mesh and a slipped stitch texture designed to show off highly variegated yarns.  It should go out to test knitters by the end of the month – if you’re interested in test knitting please shoot me an email or/ message me on Ravelry.  Test knitters get a free copy of this pattern PLUS a free copy of any other of my patterns of their choice.

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Upcoming Events

  • September 16 – I will be at Nomad Yarns in Plainfield, Indiana during their Santa Knits in September event for the debut of my new pattern with Malabrigo.  You can choose from a selection of Malabrigo yarns and get a free copy of the pattern.
  • September 17 – I will be in Yellow Springs, Ohio for The Wool Gathering fiber festival.  This event does not offer classes/workshops so I will NOT be teaching there.
  • September 23 – I will be at Montrose Farms Alpaca Ranch in Brownsburg, Indiana to demo spinning alpaca during their annual open house event.   There will also be a fiber processing demonstration, alpaca photo booth and all the cute farm animals.

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 Upcoming Blog Posts I’ve been thinking a lot about fixed versus interchangeable knitting needles, how to organize my needles, books I read last month, squeezing in a little yarn dyeing and some fun fall recipes.  Is there anything in particular you’d like to hear about?

 

 

 

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Malabrigo Knitting Pattern Release: Bryce Canyon Cowl

I hinted last winter I was up to something with one of my favorite yarn companies.  I’m happy to announce today that I’m designing some knitting patterns for Malabrigo Yarns.  My first design for them was just released, a cowl called the Bryce Canyon Cowl. It features a fun texture created by slipping stitches up multiple rows.  The cowl uses one 100 gram skein of fingering weight yarn such as Malabrigo Sock or Malabrigo Mechita.  This was my first time working with Mechita (a single spun yarn) and it was a true delight.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

The pattern is offered for sale by Malabrigo on Ravelry.  You can read more and buy the pattern here

The Bryce Canyon cowl is knit in the round and uses one skein of sock yarn, perfect for that single skein you can’t decide how to use. You can wear your cowl as a single looped long scarf, double looped as a casual mid-chest cowl or triple looped for a snugly neck warmer. The slipped stitch texture plays well with highly variegated yarns as it shows off the color changes.

Bryce Canyon Cowl

Yarn

    • Approximately 375-400 yards/343-366 meters fingering weight yarn. Sample shown in Malabrigo Sock  (100% merino, 440 yards/402 meters, 3.53oz/100g) in the coloway Diana.
  • Needles
    • Size US 4 (3.5mm) circular needle in a length of 24″/60 cm or 32″/81 cm, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • Other Materials
    • 1 stitch marker (additional stitch markers to notate repeats optional)
    • Tapestry needle
    • Blocking pins

Malabrigo sample knit using Malabrigo Mechita in the Aniversario colorway. Photo Credit: Malabrigo Yarns

  • Finished Measurements
    • After Blocking
      • 58″/147 cm circumference
      • 7″/18 cm height
  • Gauge (all over 4”/10cm)
    • After Blocking:
      • Pattern: 20-22 stitches & 60 rounds

The cowl is blocked aggressively width-wise. Meeting exact gauge is not crucial but may affect the final dimensions. Stockinette gauge is provided to assist with determining an appropriate needle size for you.

 

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