My darling husband asked me to knit him a pair of fingerless mitts to wear to work and a tight-fitting cowl for snow-blowing from this wool/alpaca blend. I looked forward to working with such a soft, smooth yarn. It makes the wool in the pair of charcoal mitts I finished last Sunday, seem rather coarse and rough, in comparison.
I knew there was plenty of time, six days, to finish these simple items before Christmas. Well, there was plenty of time, but some how Thursday arrived and I had yet to start!
Day One – Thurs., Dec. 22
I considered how much thinner this yarn is than the double-strand of charcoal I used for the last pair and how much less crinkled it is. Skipping the gauge swatch and casting-on the mitts worked well enough for the charcoal ones, so I tried that again. I cast-on forty stitches with a #7 needle and then knit in 2×2 rib with #5 dpns. To be honest, I did the knitting with three #5 dpns and one #6. I think there may be quite a collection of dpns hiding somewhere inside our loveseat!
A couple of inches in, I was truly amazed to find I’d gotten the size right on the first try!! The short ribbed tube fit my hand the same as DH’s charcoal mitts did!
I knew I could relax for a while, because the rest of the mitts were very easy knitting: 4 1/2″ in-the-round, then 2″ worked back and forth to create an opening for the thumb, and finally, 1 3/4″ more in-the-round. This would make a mitt just a little longer than the charcoal ones, just as DH wanted.
By Thursday night I had this:
Day Two – Fri. Dec. 23
And by Friday night – two yarny yule logs!
Day Three – Sat. Dec 24 – when things got tricky.
I’ve made DH two cowls, which he likes to pull up over his nose to protect his face from snow and wind while using our snow blower.
He had plenty of opportunity to wear them during January’s first and second Huge Snow Storms and he showed me how their fit loosened and they slid down as they became wet. In March, I made him a balaclava, which couldn’t slide down, no matter how wet it got, only to discover it’s too warm to wear except in bitter winds. He prefers the hats I’ve knitted him from fingering weight yarns.
I had to decide quickly. Should I try making a lighter-weight balaclava? Another cowl would be faster, especially if I could knit it primarily in stockinette stitch (all knit stitches when done in-the-round) instead of rib! I thought of a way to help it stay up too. I planned to make snug-fitting ribbing at its top, then switch to stockinette, which would gradually widen to fill his coat’s collar. It could work!
There was a little math involved in arriving at the correct number of stitches for his new cowl. DH likes the snug fit of the charcoal mitts on his 8 3/4″ diameter hands. His head’s diameter is 21″, or 2.4 times as big as his hand’s diameter. So I took the number of stitches I cast-on for his newly finished mocha mitts, 40, and multiplied it by 2.4, which is 96. I cast-on 96 stitches.
I planned to make it gradually get wider by changing needle sizes as I went. Knitting from the top down I began with two inches of 2×2 rib worked on #5 needles, than switched to stockinette stitch and did 2 1/2″ on #6s, then 2″ more with #7s, and another 2″ of stockinette on #8s, followed by 1 1/2″ of rib, still on #8s. The height of this cowl is the same as his old ones, ten inches.
Taa-Daa!! One snug-fitting cowl, finished around 2 a.m. Christmas morning.
You can get similar results by following Lynne Wiora’s free pattern for a Simple Fitted Cowl. It is knit from the bottom up and you change its diameter with decreases, instead of using different needle sizes.
DH was excited to try out his newest knits on Christmas Day! Excited enough to go outside for a photo shoot!
I left all the ends unfinished, in case I needed to adjust the fit of anything.
The mitts passed inspection with flying colors!
But what’s going on here?
Is he listening to the direction of an arresting officer,
after having been identified as the suspicious-looking masked man who was seen lurking about?
No, this mild-mannered gentleman wouldn’t cause any trouble!
Or would he? Check out the mischief in those eyes! lol.