FO: Arbutus Cowl

My first FO of the year (and let’s not focus on the fact that my last FO was a pair of socks four months ago).

Arbutus Cowl Done

Pattern: Arbutus by Jane Richmond

Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Bugga! bought at Rhinebeck 2010

Mods: The pattern was written for DK but the Bugga is heavy sock weight.  I changed CO numbers slightly as follows: 52 (instead of 48) and 36 (instead of 32).  Then, I changed the CO number for the Middle Tier from 32 to 36 and the Bottom Tier from 42 to 46.

Needles: 16″ US 7

KAL: Use It or Lose It

I LOVE the yarn!  I can’t believe I had this yarn in my stash for over 2 years.  It’s soft, squishy, bouncy and sproingy.  It’s gorgeous.

I LOVE the pattern!  The corrugated horizontal ribs fold beautifully together and make this cowl act more like a scarf.

I wish I loved this cowl.  But, when I bound off and tried it on it wasn’t staying close to my neck (but it was almost the same exact size as what is listed in the pattern).  I washed and dried it to see if it would shrink up enough.  It didn’t.  But damn is it fluffy now!

So I picked up sts on the cast on row and did a k2, ssk around (decreasing by 25%).  I knit a few rows, purled a few rows (keeping those beautiful corrugated ribs) and bound off.  I chose *not* to bind off loosely.  Fatal mistake.  I can get the cowl over my head but it’s tight.  And then it’s still not quite tight enough after I get it around my neck.

So  – let’s call this a lesson-learned cowl.   The lessons:

  • Don’t let awesome yarn sit in my stash for two and a half years.
  • Drying a superwash yarn can make it fluffy-soft.
  • If I want to make a cowl that both fits over my (big?) head and sits snugly against my neck I need to make it adjustable.  I’m considering knitting a cowl flat and buttoning it, or a circular cowl with a button that tightens it after it’s on.  Do you have any other ideas?  I love the ease of cowl-wearing but only when they’re actually useful.  I’m picky like that.

Having shared all my disappointment, full disclosure – I’ve worn it both days this weekend.  So I don’t hate it.  I just don’t love it.



7 thoughts on “FO: Arbutus Cowl

  1. That’s the dirty little secret of cowls – they really don’t keep your neck as warm as a scarf. Unless, as you noted, you include a button somehow.

  2. I often pull a fold over to tighten and stick a pretty pin in. That holds it tightly enough and lets me use my pins more often.

  3. Ribbing was my suggestion also. Try a stitch dictionary for interesting rib patterns; doesn’t have to be plain, I don’t think.

  4. I live in frigid Eastern Ontario and Zuzu’s Petals on Ravelry keeps my neck nice and warm unlike other cowls I’ve knit. It has a totally different shape but is very well thought out!

  5. Sorry you don’t love it, but it really looks beautiful. On a side note..look how thin you are looking. Of course I am just going by a neck shot here, but still very noticeable. :)

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