Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The guy cowl

Remember the other day when we talked about the importance of not setting knit-related precedents we can't handle?  Well, let's look at the outcome of all that.

It's another cowl, this time for Richard.

I never think about knitting cowls for men because even though Guys Wear Neckwarmers - I see it all the time around the city - I've never had to knit one for any of them.  That's because the more obvious Neckwarmer-Wearing Guys in my life swear by their polar fleece versions and Pete won't let me so much as hold up a skein of potential yarn for his reaction. 

(I may have mentioned this before: he's practically made me put it in writing that I will not only never ever knit for him but also, stop asking to do it.  I have no idea what this is about.  I'm pretty sure it's not personal but the alternative is that he just doesn't like knits and that is practically impossible for me to comprehend.)

Even when my original Shelter Valley Cowl ended up with Bob, it wasn't on purpose.  I had made it for myself (surprise!) but ended up not wearing it because it kind of clashed with my hat-of-the-moment, and then one time he was visiting and about to get in the car on an exceedingly cold day for a 5-hour drive so I made myself offer it to him for extra insulation.  He loved it, put it on right away, left it on, and gave me the heads-up that I can knit for him any time.  Also it looked great, all of which made it easier to let it go.

But when it came to knitting something for Richard, and I knew a cowl was all I'd have time for - or maybe fingerless gloves, when my needles came free again - I wasn't sure. At. All.

 I'm not even sure about fingerless gloves actually.

Some knitters just knit and gift all the time and have faith about how their work is received, but I've never been able to do that.  It has to be right, by my complicated standards which are probably related to preferring always to knit for myself.

To be right, you have to have inside information, like what will fit.  That's why scarves are so great really, except that they take foreeeeever.  All you have to do is get the colours right.  They are perfect for times when you are knitting for a Guy you only know well enough to have something for which you are grateful to them.

Or to put it another way,


For this cowl, all I could do was pick the manliest colour in my stash,

which turned out to be exactly the same yarn base as I'd used for the Shelter Valley Cowl.  Bonus: Richard used to live near Shelter Valley.

Another bonus: this is Viola yarn.  You know, the amazing yarn Emily used to dye by drawing on her amazing colour talents, which she's no longer doing by hand in small batches, which makes every skein of this stuff pretty much gold.  Richard doesn't know why Viola is so precious, but I do, and that is something.

Best of all, Trish told me it would be okay.  This is another thing I've probably said before, but Trish is my Enquire Within Upon Everything, and she is always, always, right.  Cowls are practical, she said, and he can always regift it if he really isn't going to wear it.

So I made it, and then I buckled (okay, what really happened was I put it on and saw how perfect these colours are for me because they match my hair and eyes - man, it's just SO HARD for me to knit something not for myself ) and checked in with him and he said it sounded perfect.

Did I tell you this guy is knitworthy?  Because that remark says knitworthy in at least nine languages.

The end of this story is that I kinda feel now like I should be knitting something new for Wayson, who started this whole Domino effect.  And I think it should be a cowl, and I also think it should have a different stitch that doesn't fold over with wearing, so watch this space for another zippy free pattern in time for your holiday knitting (I hope.)


Pattern: Shelter Valley Cowl

Modifications: Same stitch count, but down from 4.00mm needles to 3.25mm needles for a firmer fabric, garter stitch border instead, and another half-repeat of the body pattern before castoff.

Yarn: Viola merino-cashmere-nylon worsted (same base is the original Biscotte yarn, which is still available) in Nightshade

Finished Size: 18.5" circumference, 6.25" tall

And that's me for today.  I sure hope any Guy Knitting you're doing is a lot more straightforward than this was!


Leslie said...

I like the cowl very much. My hair dresser said he LOVES his. So much easier and more practical than a scarf, gets caught on fewer things and isn't "fussy"...perfect guy-wear!

linda gaylord said...

I knew exactly what it was when I saw the first pic the other day...mine will be off the needles sometime today or tomorrow...yours is indeed the perfect guy present.Richard will love it! :)