Solution A: rip out and reknit on bigger needles (after buying bigger needles.)
Solution B: run a drawstring through the stitch gaps at the too-tight cast off end, and turn it into a hat.
Obviously, I went with Solution B. I loved this cowl and the yarn and the way it made the stitch look. I wanted to hand onto it way too much even to think of giving it away. I did try, but every time I convinced myself it was all right really, and put it into the gift cowl bag, I had to pull it back out.
Luckily, I had yarn in this same colourway, so making a matchy braid for the drawstring was no problem.
If only the hat didn't keep falling over my eyes all the time. I mean, I can get past the acutely late 1960s feel of it - I keep looking at it in the mirror and thinking it would be a great wrap for Julie Christie's updo in War and Peace - but I do need to be able to see.
So, I restrung the drawstring, a little lower this time...
and tied it tight...
and tried it on again. What do you think - bulky Hatcowl, or Purple Tea Cosy?
I can't help thinking Tea Cosy, but I don't care, because this hat is WARM.
Now, it's true that these small changes turned a failed gift cowl into a viable handknit gift (admittedly, only for somebody who sees the late 60s as fashion heaven.) It should totally have gone back into the gift pile as a hat. But the selfish knitter inside me isn't having any of it.
Lesson learned: never write off a knit - you may well be able to turn it into a roaring success.
(and also, don't go counting on me for a gift knit, because I am weak.)
Have a wonderful weekend and if you trip over any lemons, best of luck making delicious lemonade. See you Monday!