Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Flemish Block Cowl

Flemish Block Cowl

As soon as I saw this yarn, I was in love. After all, it's ridiculously soft, delightful to knit, and a pretty pink color to boot (well, my four-year-old says it's "too pink", but he also thinks racquetball is called "rocketball," so I'm not giving him too much credit). Anyway, the challenge I had after buying this yarn was finding a decent way to knit it up. And after rejecting not one, but TWO two-color designs and ripping out false starts at least four times, I came up with this voluminous and luxuriously soft spring knit, that could also be made a few inches shorter if you wanted something with a little less bulk around the neck. But let's get on to the pattern, eh?

The Flemish Blocks
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Pure Alpaca (100% Baby Alpaca; 220 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); #3055 Strawberries & Cream – one skein 

Needles: One 24" circular needle in size US 7

Notions: Tapestry needle, 3 stitch markers

Gauge: 20 stitches = 4 inches

Cast on 119 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then, knit one row in a * k1, p1 * pattern, placing one marker after you've worked 37 stitches, and the next marker 45 stitches later (so this marker should be 37 stitches from the end of the round) (and yes, since you're knitting a * k1, p1 * pattern, you will have two knit stitches together on either side of the round marker, since we have an odd number of stitches). Purl one row, and then complete another * k1, p1 * row like the first, slipping extra markers when you come to them on both rows. Then we'll go straight to the pattern, which is a combination of Flemish Block Lace from page 270 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and a simple lace pattern. So let's get started!

Row 1: k1, * yo, k2tog; rep from * until you're two stitches before first marker, k1, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, slip marker, k2, and then * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1 (plus 4 stitches)

Row 2 and all even rows: knit, slipping extra markers when you come to them

Row 3: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k1, and then * k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're two stitches before next marker, k2; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

Row 5: k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're two stitches before first marker, k1, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, slip marker, k2tog, yo, and then * k5, yo, sl1-k2tog-psso, yo, k4, k2tog, yo * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1 (plus 4 stitches)

Row 7: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k2, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1 * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

Row 9: k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're two stitches before first marker, k1, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, slip marker, k3, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3 *; slip marker, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1 (plus 4 stitches)

Row 11: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k4, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, k3tog, yo, k5 *, ending last repeat k4; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

Knit rows 1 - 12 until piece measures 8", or desired length, and you've just completed an even row of the pattern (I basically just knit until I ran out of yarn. For a less full appearance, knit to around 6" instead). Bind off loosely and tuck in ends.





49 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous cowl. I love the shade of pink you chose and also the pattern! Nice work!

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    1. Thank you! I have to say, I totally love this yarn. So lovely to knit!

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  2. Love!!!! And it is not too pink...it is the perfect pink!!

    Linda in VA

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    1. I think so too! Although my two-year-old is on a big pink kick, so there will probably be lots more of various shades in the future!

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  3. Am working on this now and have a question. Is that really supposed to be a knit-3-together on Row 11, or should it be a K2TOG?

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    1. Hi Sheila! It's really a knit 3 together - one of the cool things about this lace is that it uses two different 3 stitch decreases, depending on the directionality of the block (well, I think it's cool. that might be overstating it).

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    2. Thank you so much for your quick reply! My cowl is now finished and I've posted on my blog at http://sheila-bennett.blogspot.com/2014/03/flemish-block-cowl.html

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    3. It looks awesome! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. In Row 1 it says, " until you're two stitches before first marker, k1, (k1, yo, k1) in next stitch, " and I'm really confused :p I have 2 stitches to work with before the marker. I knit one, then I have 1 left. How do I (k1, yo, k1) with only 1 stitch? I'm missing somthing or reading something wrong!! I'm sorry! Thanks for any help:-)

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    1. Hi Kate!

      You've mostly got it - the (k1, yo, k1) in one stitch is just a way of turning one stitch into three, so you really only need one stitch to complete this increase. Basically, you knit the stitch and pull your right-hand needle out without removing the original stitch from your left-hand needle, you wrap your yarn around your right hand needle, and then you knit the same stitch again, at which point you can drop it off of your left-hand needle.

      Here's a link to a YouTube video, if my explanation is confusing:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8R2sj1JsKg

      Does that help?

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    2. OOOHHHHhhh! Yes, yes, yes! Thanks! And such a quick response! You're amazing!:-)

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    3. Glad I could help! And I can't always guarantee such speed (I was at my computer already), but I certainly try! :)

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  5. I love this. I have an illness that makes my hands tremor so I can't knit with needles but have been trying to do it with looms. Some patterns I can convert to a loom, but others seem to difficult since I've never knitted and am only been doing it with looms for about 15 months. Do you think it would be possible to do on a loom?

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    1. That's a great question! Unfortunately, I've never knit on a loom so I have no idea what to tell you. And a five-minute Google search makes me think that the most difficult part would be the directional decreases, since this pattern uses two different types of three-to-one stitch decreases to slant different directions. I still have the original piece, however, which is finished except for the blocking (I've gotten better about blocking recently, but I'm still not great about getting it done). If you want it, shoot me an email at ballstothewallsknits@gmail.com with your address and I'll put it in the mail.

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  6. This would look great in any color!!! Thanks for the pattern!

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  7. Hi..I Love this cowl so much! Great work..but I don't use circular needles. :-( Would you have the pattern with straight needles? I want to make this badly. :-)
    Thanks! Julianna

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    1. Hi Julianna!

      This pattern is relatively simple to convert to straight needles - you can leave all of your set-up rows as is, with the only change being to work back and forth instead of in the round, and then simply replace all of the even-numbered pattern rows (which will be your wrong-side rows, in a back-and-forth design) with purl rows instead of knit rows. And then just seam when you're finished! The only thing to remember is that you still will be working the piece top-down, so you'll want a needle long enough to accommodate it.

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    2. Right, ok..I figured that..I just didn't know if it was the odd or even rows. :-) Thanks so much for the quick response. I can't wait to make it. It's a beautiful cowl. Thanks for sharing it. :;-) Julianna

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    3. I'm glad you like it! Let me know if you have any more questions!

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  8. oh my lord hun, what an awesome pattern you made, it is just tooo beautiful. And I think you couldn't of chosen a better color and for spring coming, gonna be beautiful, thanks so much for the beautiful patterns you design and share with us all, God Bless hun.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words! I have to admit, I love love love this yarn, and thought the pattern turned out nicely as well. And please - if you make it, feel free to ask any questions that may come up!

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  9. This is such a beautiful cowl, and more lightweight than a lot of them -- which is a plus. Thank you so much for sharing it.

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    1. I'm happy to hear that you like it! And I'll be posting more lighter-weight cowls through the next few months as well!

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  10. Could a 3 ply worsted yarn be used for this?

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    1. Absolutely! As long as your gauge is in the ballpark, I wouldn't worry about it at all. And while this yarn is a 10-ply, it's still on the fine side, for a worsted. You may even get better definition with the pattern!

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  11. Hi Gretchen,
    I love this cowl! I'm making it as a gift for my son's girlfriend for Christmas, and I'm a little confused. After each pattern repetition, I have more stitches on the side panels than I started with. After four pattern repetitions, I have much more stitches. Am I reading the pattern wrong or is this deliberate? Please let me know.

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    1. Hi Bea! Yes, this pattern adds 8 stitches every pattern repetition; this helps it lay a little flatter, which accentuates the design. I'll add some notation to make that clearer :)

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    3. 12 stitches! I meant 12 stitches! :)

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  12. I'm making the cowl and am on row 11 the middle panel and am a little confused. The middle panel holds 45 stitches with no increases, so on row11 it is k4 and then *yo, ssk, k4, yo, k3tog, yo, k5*. Ok so I count each repeat as 14 stitches x 3 repeats = 42 + 8 (k4 beginning and end of row), which is 5 stitches too many. If I do k4 at the beginning and two repeats of 14 stitches andk4 at the end then I have 9 stitches left what am I missing. Please help!

    Tanya
    New York, NY

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    1. Hi Tanya! It sounds like all of your math is right, except for the end of the row should replace that final k5 with a k4. Then you have the first k4 (4 stitches), two full sets of the pattern (28 stitches), and the last pattern repeat, minus one (13 stitches) (since you've replaced your final k5 with a k4). That should bring you to 45! Let me know if that's unclear, or if you need any more help. :)

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  13. Could I double the length of this cowl and I want to use diadem 50% alpaca 50% silk it's a vibrant pink, for a friend but she loves to have long cowls that wrap more than once.

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    1. Hi there!

      Yes, you could totally modify this to be longer. As is, it has two sections, a Flemish block panel and a basic mesh. It also has some shaping, and gets bigger as you go. Do you want to keep the shaping or get rid of it? Also, how much of each pattern do you want? Half and half? 40/60? Just let me know and I'll help you modify the pattern! :)

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    2. Oh I could do the mesh part longer then, and still have the block panel. I love how this drapes and looks, it's gorgeous! It might be out of my league, I'm a pretty basic knitter, I've done a honeycomb cowl, but I do socks, I can usually figure out what to do from Utube videos. Do you think my fingerling wool is too thin for this project?
      How much of each is your pattern, is it 50% each now, and if she wanted to wrap it around is the shaping not good then or does it matter? Thanks for helping, you've made a fabulous pattern good of you to share it! I put anonymous, cause I don't know how to choose any other, my name is Bex

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    3. So I could perhaps add to the 37 stitches on either side, I assume this is the basic lace or mesh part?

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    4. Hi Bex! Yes, that is the basic lace part on the side. And I basically think you should drop the shaping and either add to the basic lace or just knit the Flemish Block pattern. I have adapted the pattern below for either option; on top, you'll find it with an extension of the lace; below, just the Flemish Block. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. :) Oh, and yes, fingering is definitely going to be too small for this pattern (unless you cast on a bunch more stitches). If you really want to use it, though, let me know the gauge of the specific yarn and I'll try to make more adjustments to make it work.

      Cast on 167 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Then, knit one row in a * k1, p1 * pattern, placing one marker after you've worked 61 stitches, and the next marker 45 stitches later (so this marker should be 61 stitches from the end of the round) (and yes, since you're knitting a * k1, p1 * pattern, you will have two knit stitches together on either side of the round marker, since we have an odd number of stitches). Purl one row, and then complete another * k1, p1 * row like the first, slipping extra markers when you come to them on both rows. Then we'll go straight to the pattern, which is a combination of Flemish Block Lace from page 270 of Barbara G. Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns and a simple lace pattern. So let's get started!

      Row 1: k1, * yo, k2tog; rep from * until you’re two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k2, and then * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, k2, * yo, k2tog * until you’re one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 2 and all even rows: knit, slipping extra markers when you come to them

      Row 3: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k1, and then * k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're two stitches before next marker, k2; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 5: k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k2tog, yo, and then * k5, yo, sl1-k2tog-psso, yo, k4, k2tog, yo * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, k2, * yo, k2tog * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 7: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k2, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1 * until you're one stitch before next marker, k1; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 9: k1, * yo, k2tog * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k3, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3 *; slip marker, k2, * yo, k2tog * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 11: k1, * ssk, yo * until you're two stitches before first marker, k2, slip marker, k4, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, k3tog, yo, k5 *, ending last repeat k4; then, slip marker, k2, * ssk, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Knit rows 1 – 12 until piece measures roughly 8” wide and you’ve just completed an even row of the pattern. Bind off loosely, tuck in ends, and block.

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    5. ALTERNATIVELY (and this will only give the Flemish Block pattern, with no side lace): Cast on 157 stitches, place marker, and join in round. Knit one row in a * k1, p1 * pattern, purl one row, and then knit another row in a * k1, p1 * pattern. Then proceed as follows:

      Row 1: k2, and then * k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 2 and all even rows: knit, slipping extra markers when you come to them

      Row 3: k1, and then * k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k4 * until you're two stitches before end of round, k2

      Row 5: k2tog, yo, and then * k5, yo, sl1-k2tog-psso, yo, k4, k2tog, yo * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 7: k2, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k1 * until you're one stitch before end of round, k1

      Row 9: k3, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3 *

      Row 11: k4, and then * yo, ssk, k4, yo, k3tog, yo, k5 *, ending last repeat k4

      Knit rows 1 – 12 until piece measures roughly 8” wide and you’ve just completed an even row of the pattern. Bind off loosely, tuck in ends, and block.

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    6. Thanks so much for both options. Was your cascade bulky, cause when I looked up cascade alpaca only bulky came up on all the sights. I will maybe just buy different wool to do your beautiful pattern. But I need super soft not itchy, is this wool you used a soft one, 100% alpaca usually is. I will check my gauge. Maybe if I double it. But I might not have enough then. Bex

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    7. So my wool is 7-8 stitches per inch, 1/2 of what you used. Maybe doubling would work... But maybe I should just wait to use your gorgeous pattern until I have worsted. I found your wool online, but as I am in Canada to order online it's crazy high shipping, $25 on a $50 order, so I'm not able to afford that. I'll just look around town and maybe have to use my fingering for something else. You are super helpful thank you!

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    8. Hi again! This yarn is just a worsted (and very soft, but not worth $25 shipping!!!). I do think you'll have more success with this weight, though. I would just try to find something soft and natural - even a nice cotton would do!

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    9. ww cotton is very nice to work with on this pattern

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  14. i need confirmation when you state needle size is it always mm needles?

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    1. Hi there!

      No, I use US sizing. I have been trying to update old patterns with this information; I'll do this one right now! Please let me know if you have any other questions. :)

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  15. I am attempting to make the Flemish Block Cowl but what do I do with the extra 12 stitches created in rows 1, 5, and 9?

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    1. Hi there! Those stitches simply give the cowl shaping and add into that second pattern (the one near the neck). So you don't have to do anything with them - they will simply get absorbed into that second pattern. :)

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  16. "add into the second pattern" so I just knit them? Or do I continue on with the pattern at hand? e.g., yo/SSK one more time? I cam up short doing this and got to the point where I needed to K,YO,K in same stitch then K1. I was short one stitch. I think I might switch to making the Fretted Band Cowl. I simply LOVE you work, Gretchen. Thanks so much.

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    1. Hi again!

      Sorry, I didn't mean to be confusing. What I mean is that since you're working a two-stitch pattern in those places (the yo, k2tog or the ssk, yo) and you're adding two stitches, you can continue to work them in pattern without creating a problem. Or in other words - don't just knit them, but do the pattern on them. And that's rough to lose a stitch, but I've found that it's almost always because I miss the first or last yo when that happens to me. You could probably just add one either at the beginning or end of the pattern section without anyone noticing the difference. And if you end up making the Fretted Band Cowl and have any questions, please let me know. :)

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