Friday, March 15, 2013

Calla Lily Cowl

Calla Lily Cowl
My three-year-old's opinion of the piece?  "It looks like a funny one!"
Ah, where to begin with this one!  Well, for starters, I've been lusting after this yarn for months now; it's hard to tell from this picture, but it has a slight metallic edge to it that makes it super fancy/sparkly/delicious.  When I finally bought it, however, I struggled a little with how to use it.  Since it's a cotton base, it's a bit dense and heavy, and I wanted to come up with a pattern that would show its prettiness without bogging down.  I also hate finishing, so I wanted to make it a one-piece knit.  Originally, I had planned to make a cabled necklace-type thing out of it, but after I began, I realized that my initial design wouldn't show the yarn off the way I wanted it to.  Which is when I decided to open it up.  Ultimately, the design reminds me of a calla lily more than anything (obviously, from the name!), and it's a nice, not-too-warm way to keep wearing your knit goods into the spring and summer.  This pattern also has very pretty dimensionality, as you can see from the photo at the bottom of the pattern.

Oh, and before I forget - I recommend reading this pattern all the way through before you begin, since there are multiple pattern changes, as well as the initial increases and the finishing decreases.

Yarn: Cascade Yarns Sunseeker (47% Cotton, 48% Acrylic, 5% Metallic Yarn; 237 yards [217 meters]/100 grams); #10 Blue Turquoise - just one skein needed.

Needles: One set of double pointed needles in size 4, and a straight or circular needle in size 4 if you so desire (for when you're done knitting in the round)

I don't know why I take pictures of the balls. 
I guess I like to.
Notions: Tapestry needle, 7/16" button, large darning needle, depending on button hole side

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches

So let's get started!  To begin, cast on 3 stitches and divide evenly between 3 double pointed-needles, join in round.  By convention, we're going to call the needle with the first stitch dpn 1, the needle with the second stitch dpn 2, and the needle with the third stitch dpn 3.

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: * kfb; rep from * (6 stitches)

Row 3: Knit

Row 4: * kfb, k1 * (9 stitches)

You may want to think about marking the beginning of the row with a piece of scrap yarn about now, since it will be difficult to tell where you started later on!  Also, as the piece twists with the rope pattern, you may want to move your scrap yarn marker as you work.  I got jumbled up a couple of times before I started moving mine!

Rows 5 - 7: Knit

Row 8: * kfb, k2 * (12 stitches)

Rows 9 - 10: Knit

Row 11: * kfb, k3 * (15 stitches)

All even rows until main body of pattern starts, including row 38: Knit

Row 13: * kfb, k4 * (18 stitches)

Row 15: * kfb, k5 * (21 stitches)

Row 17: * kfb, k6 * (24 stitches)

Row 19: * kfb, k7 * (27 stitches)

Row 21: * kfb, k8 * (30 stitches)

Row 23: * kfb, k9 * (33 stitches)

Row 25: * kfb, k10 * (36 stitches)

Row 27: * kfb, k11 * (39 stitches)

Row 29: * kfb, k12 * (42 stitches)

Row 31: * kfb, k13 * (45 stitches)

Row 33: * kfb, k14 * (48 stitches)

Row 35: * kfb, k15 * (51 stitches)

Row 37: * kfb, k16 * (54 stitches)

Now it's time to move on to what I'm calling the "tuber" part of this necklace, which is worked in a Diagonal Wave pattern, from page 275 of Barbara G. Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Tuber rows 1 - 5: * k3, p3; rep from *

Tuber row 6: slide first three knit stitches to dpn 3, * slide 3 purled stitches to cable needle and hold in back, k3, p3 from cable needle *, end row by sliding the final three purled stitches back to dpn 1 and continuing from there with rope row 7

Tuber row 7: * k3, p3 *, end with k3

Tuber rows 8 - 11: * p3, k3 *

Tuber row 12: * slide 3 purled stitches to cable needle and hold in back, k3, p3 from cable needle *

Continue in tuber pattern until the piece measures roughly 16 inches from tip to tail, and you've just completed tuber row 5.  From now on, you will be knitting back and forth instead of in the round, in a diagonal pattern.  The pattern is simple, and begins with the same k3, p3 ribbing you've been knitting in, although each stitch moves one to the right with each right side row, and stays where it is for the wrong-side row return (see below for a row-by-row description).  You'll need to use the dpns to knit until your fabric opens up enough to switch to a straight needle or just one dpn, though.

Diagonal rows 1 & 2: * k3, p3 * (row 1 will be right side, or in other words, we're calling the outside of the tuber the right side)

Diagonal row 3: * k2, p3, k1 *

Diagonal row 4: * p1, k3, p2 *

Diagonal row 5: * k1, p3, k2 *

Diagonal row 6: * p2, k3, p1 *

Diagonal rows 7 & 8: * p3, k3 *

Diagonal row 9: * p2, k3, p1 * (same as row 6)

Diagonal row 10: * k1, p3, k2 * (same as row 5)

Diagonal row 11: * p1, k3, p2 * (same as row 4)

Diagonal row 12: * k2, p3, k1 * (same as row 3)

Repeat diagonal rows 1 - 12 until piece measures roughly 4.5" in new pattern.  From that point forward (and from wherever you happen to be in the pattern), ssk or p2tog at the beginning of every right side row, depending on which decrease will fit in better with the overall pattern.  Continue in pattern, decreasing by one stitch at the beginning of every right side row, until there are 46 stitches left.  Beginning with the next right side row, continue decreasing by one stitch with a ssk or p2tog at the beginning of each right side row, and also decrease at the END of each wrong side row with a k2tog or a p2tog.  Continue this way until there are 6 stitches left on your needle. 

Now that you have 6 stitches left on your needle, you should be on a right side row, and it's time to work the buttonhole.  Ssk or p2tog, depending on where you are in the pattern, and then ssk or p2tog again, yo, and knit or purl last two stitches on your needle.  Finish the piece decreasing as you have been, simply knitting or purling the yo stitch in pattern when you get to it.  When you have only one stitch left on your needle, cut the tail and knot it through the final stitch.  As far as tucking in the ends is concerned, I used my tapestry needle to tuck in the end on the "lily" side, and used the cast-on end from the "tuber" side to attach my button, like so:

As you can see, I had to use a large darning needle to get through the hole in my button.  Also, now you're done!  So that should count for something.