Monday, October 29, 2012

Shelter Valley Cowl: a free pattern

This pattern was born of pure practicality.  I saw a cowl I liked with eyelets and a drawstring, and the yarn I wanted to use to make it didn't have the yardage I'd need, so I improvised with a different eyelet pattern and knit a less expansive cowl.

The eyelet stitch is called 'Eiffel Tower' for the pretty little towers resulting from successive rounds of knit stitches drawing closer together as they move away from the yarnover that made them.  I loved the stitch the minute I saw it but there was no way I wanted to spend that much time purling, so I decided to knit the cowl inside out.

I got pretty attached to this 'wrong side', and I think it looks pretty great in cowl form as well...

... but I couldn't help thinking the 'right side' would look pretty good on a guy.

(to double check, I asked a guy who wouldn't be caught dead in a cowl, and he liked it so much he conceded he would wear one of these... but not necessarily for a photograph, so you'll have to take my word for it.)

When I stumble across a setup like this - easy stitch, fast knit, amazing yarn, unisex style - I immediately think Gift Knitting.

So I knew I was going to roll this out to you guys as fast as I could.  But what I could not do was think of a name.

Naming designs is not as easy as you might think.  Once you've spent that much time on a thing you want its name to be perfect, which it isn't going to be if it isn't unique.  Most of the names I thought of for this cowl had been thought of many many times before by other knit designers for other knit designs, and after I while I got to thinking I should opt for Esmerelda or Radial Tire or Beaky or something.

Then I looked closer and thought you know, those little towers remind me just as much of Hydro towers as Eiffel ones.  And the reverse side looks a lot like a current in some water.  After some hydro-electric hunting (you'd be amazed how many design names draw on electricity) it struck me that there is one special place in my life where there are Hydro towers...

... and a creek with a pretty good current...

... and that is the farm in Shelter Valley.  (as proof of its farmhood, that black blob thing with 'cow' written under it in the top photo is in fact a Cow.)

There is the Hydro right of way that cuts down one side, and the trout stream that winds along another, and it's a very nice cosy-feeling place if you're not there in spring (hello: mosquito convention), and frankly, I don't think I could come up with a better name for this cowl if I tried for another week.  Which would be whole a week you could spend knitting one.  So there we are.

About the yarn, which is a yummy worsted-weight cashmere blend easily ordered online from Biscotte et Cie: I'm showing it in grey (or rather, gris-gris) because that's what I had in the house, but you can choose from a rainbow of gorgeousness.

Shelter Valley Cowl

Biscotte et Cie La Grande Douce (80% superwash merino wool, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon, 202 yards, 115g), 1 skein
4.0mm 16” circular or double point needles, or size to obtain gauge
stitch marker
darning needle
18 sts, 27 rows = 4” in stocking stitch
Finished Dimensions
19.5” circumference, 6” long 


Anonymous said...

Hi, Just wanted you to know that I saw this same pattern called an "Eiffel Tower Cowl" somwhere on the net and noticed yours is dated 2012. Kind regards, Cheryl

Mary Keenan said...

Thanks for this Cheryl! I expect you saw it at - for some reason, and without permission, they change some pattern names, and I know that's what they chose for this one. It is an Eiffel Tower Stitch I used for it though, and I'm sure other designers have used that stitch too!

Carol C said...

I love this cowl. I made it for my son for Christmas and he loves it. Thanks so much. Is there a problem if I make some of these for sale at a consignment store. Let me know if there if I owe you anything for it's use.

Mary Keenan said...

Carol, I am so glad your son is enjoying his new cowl! All my patterns are marked For Personal Use, meaning that I am happy (very happy, in fact) for the hours I spent designing them to result in handknits *given* to people who need them - but never sold. I would absolutely encourage you though to design a cowl of your own if you want to sell some on consignment - cowls are a great place to start designing as you only need one size, and even without a stitch dictionary to browse through for ideas it's a very satisfying project.

jai cee said...

Can this pattern be done on straight needles?

Mary Keenan said...

Jai Cee - it probably can but not as written... you would be knitting flat so the second row would be reversed and purled, and you would have to graft it together when you were done.