This is the Afterglow Hat & Cowl set the last pattern instalment of the 2017 TFA Year In Colour Club. Don't forget I've got a coupon code for you! Enter coupon code THANKS at checkout to receive 20% off any of my self published patterns in my Ravelry shop.
I'm very pleased with this pattern combo if I do say so myself. Allow me to elaborate. It all started when I decided to design a cowl for the November Club. I had already done 2 hats this year, one pair of mitts, 2 wrap around your neck accessories, but no cowl. It was time. I have a funny relationship with cowls. The thing is, knitters love cowls! Designers love cowls! Cowls are totally beloved in the knitting world. But... they are not what I personally reach for when I'm chilly. I'm just more of a scarf of shawl person. There are 2 reasons for this.
#1: Pulling a cowl down over my head inevitably leaves my hair weird and staticky and as a curly haired person I prefer to disturb my hair as little as possible throughout the day. It's a legit issue. If you've got curly hair, you probably know what I'm talking about. Let's not get into how hats affect the curly haired among us, that's a conversation for another day, let's focus on cowls today ok? I also personally don't like rubbing my knits all over my face when I pull them down over my head - this issue is specific to small cowls or big cowls that need to be looped twice where I really end up manhandling my head and face in the process. Am I just a defective person? This is getting really personal... don't judge me!
Ok, and #2: They have to be the exact perfect size in order to actually function and keep me warm. I have seen so many cowls that drape beautifully and function as a lovely shoulder/back of neck warmer, but I personally can't handle having my throat and chest exposed, I need my neck to be truly bundled when I head outdoors! Most cowls can be kinda scrunched and bunched up in the front to cover the throat when your jacket is done up, but I just don't find that as comfortable to wear. I'm a turtleneck person, so I like fabric around my neck, just not weirdly bunched. I'm really letting you all in on my deepest personal quirks here aren't I?
So, in my collection I happen to have 2 cowls that I completely love and wear often in the winter despite my particular aversion to cowls as a genre. I wear my Rove cowl quite a bit. It fits like a neck warmer and when I do up my jacket it stays put and keeps me warm. But the one I wear the most is definitely my Candygram Cowl. It's warm and cozy, looks great on both sides so when it's folded over and you see the inside and it's a beautiful combination of textures and colours. But I think what I like most about it is the proportions.
Now that you know everything that you could possibly need to know about my personal relationship with cowls (I should probably just edit that all out because this is going to be a long post... I'm feeling chatty!) I want to talk about how this pattern set came to be, because it's kind of interesting if you ask me. I started off with the goal of designing a cowl that would fit the way my Rove Cowl fits, more like a neck warmer. It would use up the single skein of yarn that is included in most Club memberships and I'd love it. I picked out a beautiful cabled stitch pattern that I am really drawn to and cast on. About 3/4 of the way through I realized that I was making a hat, not a cowl, the proportions were totally hat like and even though I was aiming for neck warmer I felt like it was going to be a bit snug. Since I had come this far I thought, ok, so it wants to be a hat, I can work with this, and I ended up really loving the resulting hat! The decreases are beautiful - which is pretty much all I care about in a cabled hat if I'm being honest - the hat looked great! I admired it for a sec and then turned it inside out to weave in my ends and BAMMO! The inside was just as beautiful as the outside!!! I hat no idea that I had been knitting a reversible stitch pattern this whole time. This little detail got me unreasonably excited.
The top photo above is the "outside" and the bottom photo is the "inside".
A reversible stitch pattern just begs to be used in a cowl, so I set about making this month's pattern a twofer. For the cowl vs. 2.0 I grabbed 2 skeins and aimed for a Candygram Cowl proportion and it came out just right!
I love the way it looks with the top folded over just so. You can see both sides of the knit and admire all those glorious cables. When I do up my coat it sits up and covers my neck I am one happy camper.
There you have it. Everything you could possibly ever want to know about how I feel about cowls. :) I'm a complicated lady.
Looking back on the year I'm really happy with what I was able to put together for you. Chris and I work hard on the Club yarns but the patterns are definitely what require the brunt of the effort. I want to make sure that each pattern really highlights the featured yarn base and colourway but mostly that it's a pattern that could stand alone without the context of the Club. It's a challenge that I welcome. I know that I would not have released this many accessory patterns without the Club's deadlines, and I really appreciate having the motivation.
Next year I won't be offering the same type of Club. With a baby due in late February I think the bi-monthly deadlines are more than I should take on. I've been mulling over a few other ideas for ways to keep me motivated and busy designing while at the same time offering a similar experience to knitters and I'm really looking forward to fleshing out a few concepts. I'm thinking of doing limited edition "Club" kits - a custom colourway and pattern available for pre-order a couple of times a year. Maybe they will include a bit of swag as well, kinda like mini versions of the Gift Bundles... I'm still working it all out!
Thanks to everyone who was part of the Club this year! And HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all our American friends!