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 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.





30 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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