The other day I was flipping through the January issue of Martha Stewart Living, when I came across a pretty substantial article about the Lion Brand Yarn studio. Within the article were a couple of fun projects that people were working on in the studio. One was a basket of adorable knitted and crocheted stuffed animals, and the other was a couple of different ways to make a cowl.
This reminded me that I bought some yarn back in November from Knitch with every intention of making my own cowl. (of course when I told Collin, he asked me if that was a towel for a cow...) The pictures in the magazine were of knitted cowls, but I had been itching to work on some different crochet patterns, and cowls are such an easy construction, I thought it would be a good way to come up with something new.
The only reason I got to start so soon was because day one of the project was snow day here in Georgia! Collin got to stay home from work, and I didn't have to go in, so I had lots of fun crocheting and playing in the SNOW! There's nothing like freezing temperatures to get you in the mood for a nice warm winter accessory.
For my cowl, I used a yarn from Uruguay - Malabrigo. It's a kettle dyed pure merino, and I bought the color Cadmium. As for a crochet hook, I don't have a full set, so I settled on an "I," 5.5mm hook.
The pattern is pretty simple, and since crochet is easy to attach finished pieces together, I decided to work flat and then attach the sides together at the end to make a circle. If you'd like to try making one yourself, I've worked out a pattern below:
To begin, chain 88 stitches. Chain two more, but skip those two when returning back to start your first row.
Double crochet all the way down your chain until you get to the end, then chain two more. At this point you turn the work to start your actual pattern. This pattern consists mostly of three main stitches: relief double crochet worked at the FRONT of your work (which we'll call RDF), relief double crochet worked at the BACK of your work (RDB), and a relief puff stitch worked at the FRONT of your work (puff).
Here is the step-by-step for the relief double at front:
First, wrap the yarn once around your hook
Insert your hook behind the stitch you're working, so that the stitch will be raised up towards you while your hook is underneath.
Wrap the yarn around your hook and pull it through from behind the stitch.
Finish the stitch as you normally would. (Yarn over hook, pull through two loops on the hook, then yarn over again and pull through the last two loops on the hook)
For the relief double worked at back:
Wrap yarn once around your hook and insert the hook in front of the stitch you're working, so that the stitch will be pushed back while your hook is in the work.
Wrap yarn around your hook...
And pull it through in front of the stitch. Finish the stitch.
For the puff stitch, this YouTube video explains perfectly. For this pattern, you just want to make sure that you work the puff in relief in the FRONT of your work, so always pull your yarn from behind the stitch you're working.
To make the pattern:
1: Work two RDB, five RDF, two RDB, two RDF, and continue this sequence till the end of the row. Single stitch into your previous chain. Chain two and turn the work.
Now, do your stitches to complement the ones you just finished. If your stitch is facing out, work the stitch in RDF. If the stitch is receding back, work it in RDB. However, this time you will add the puff. The sequence will go like this:
2: Work two RDB, two RDF, two RDB, work a PUFF in the front, two RDB, two RDF. Continue this sequence till the end of the row. Single stitch into the previous chain. Chain two and turn the work.
3: Do row three exactly as you did row 1. You will be tempted to work your puff stitches in RDB, but remember that you should do them in RDF (so that you will do five RDF's in a row). Single stitch into the previous chain. Chain two and turn the work.
4: Work row four just like you worked row 2, but this time do not add the puff. Instead, you will just work five RDB's in a row. Single stitch into the previous chain. Chain two and turn the work.
Now start over doing rows 1-4 until you get to the length you want. I ran out of yarn once the cowl was seven inches long. I would have liked it to be longer so it would bunch more, but I didn't want to wait to buy more yarn! When the pattern starts to form, you will see that when you're looking at the right side of your work, it will look like you have two columns of stitches side-by-side, with a column of spaced-out puffs in between. Once you have the length you like, you can bring the two edges of the piece together and stitch them so that your work forms a circular tube. Tie it off and sew in your ends, and then you've got yourself a cowl!
Another accessory I loved during this winter storm was my Simple Pleasures Hat, which I knitted from a pattern on the Purl Bee. The pattern calls for a cashmere yarn, but I don't work at a yarn shop and have a discount, so I used Stonehedge Fiber Mill's Shepherd's Wool in Antique Rose.