Classic Colorwork Cowl: my first knitting pattern (Feelin’ like a proud mama)

22 Feb

Hey, lookit! My first knitting pattern!!! And, geez, it took long enough – this was started way back in November or so – but it’s finally here!

Classic Colorwork Cowl
Classic Colorwork Cowl

This project basically started just as an intellectual exercise – I really just wanted the experience of designing something knitted and creating a pattern from it. At about the same time, I started seeing fair isle absolutely everywhere. And in that way that trends brainwash us, I wanted me some fair isle so badly. It seemed like those two wishes could go together quite well.

In one of those John Lewis winter sales, I picked up a few balls of the oh-so-lovely (but now sadly discontinued) Rowan 4 Ply Soft that happened to go together beautifully. It was not at all intentional, just a happy accident.

Classic Colorwork Cowl

So I threw in some creamy goodness in the form of a ball of Rowan 4 Ply Cashsoft and I had a readymade fair isle palette. A couple of days flipping through Sheila McGregor’s fabulous Traditional Fair Isle Knitting and Traditional Scandinavian Knitting gave me a selection of motifs that were exactly what I was looking for – so traditional that it almost borders on cheesy, but is still cute: snowflakes, hearts, and the most perfect reindeer. Though some people insist that they’re moose. The more I look at them, the more unsure I am either way, so I say the knitter is free to choose.

Classic Colorwork Cowl

I kept it basically simple, to allow the colorwork to speak for itself and not get too cluttered, though I did throw in a little detail with a slightly fancier-than-normal ribbing. The project stats are all included in the PDF (link down at the bottom of the post), but here’s the basics:

Yarn: 4-ply wool yarn in four colors (pattern will work best with a neutral + three shades of one color); 50g of each will be more than enough, this would be a good use for leftovers and partial balls

Needles: 16” circular needles, 2.25mm and 3.0mm

Gauge: 34 st and 35 rounds = 4” in stranded colorwork, blocked

Finished Size: 11.5” height x 21.5” circumference

I learned so much from working on even this simple design. There’s so much more to consider than I expected, both in the design and the creation of an actual pattern. But I really really enjoyed it. I really hope some people knit it (that would be amazing to see!), but I’d still be pretty dang proud of myself just for getting something this far. And now that I know what to expect from the design and pattern-writing process a little better, I hope to step it up a little for whatever ends up being my next design project!

(Disclaimer: this pattern has not been test-knitted! If you find any problems or mistakes, pretty please let me know at: julie [at] button-button [dot] co [dot] uk.)

13 Responses to “Classic Colorwork Cowl: my first knitting pattern (Feelin’ like a proud mama)”

  1. Scrapiana February 22, 2011 at 15:41 #

    Nice job! That gave me goosebumps as I have a very similar reindeer/snowflake pattern cardigan bought in Norway c. 1970. Very different colour palette though. Will try to dig out and take pictures.

  2. Monika February 22, 2011 at 16:06 #

    It’s beautiful! Congratulations!

  3. julie February 23, 2011 at 12:44 #

    Thank you both so much, you’re both so lovely! :)

  4. Michele February 24, 2011 at 00:41 #

    Great job on your first pattern!! I love the colors, too. Thank you for sharing it.

    • julie February 25, 2011 at 11:55 #

      It was definitely my pleasure to share this – it’s the least I can do in return for the many many wonderful free patterns I’ve been lucky enough to use. And thank you to YOU for stopping by and saying such nice things!! :)

  5. Jean March 3, 2011 at 19:11 #

    I am going to try this. It is so pretty, and I am starting a class today. Wish me luck. You have done a wonderful job with this. Hope I can do it justice :}

    • julie March 4, 2011 at 09:27 #

      That’s great! If you do, pretty please stop by and let me know how it went or, even better, show off some photos! I’d be crazy excited to see someone else’s version of my pattern!

  6. Carrie at In the Hammock Blog March 5, 2011 at 01:35 #

    This is gorgeous!! I’m not sure I have all the patience for the details myself, but yours looks amazing!!

  7. Suzetta March 28, 2011 at 19:16 #

    Wow, beautiful!

  8. Patricia March 31, 2011 at 01:13 #

    Congratulations! Beautiful first design project! Best wishes.

  9. Marilyn April 6, 2011 at 01:49 #

    So darn cute! The “reindeer” drew me in. I’ve never done intarsia but I have to make this cowl. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful pattern.

    • julie April 6, 2011 at 10:09 #

      Hi Marilyn – Thanks so much! Just wanted to let you know that the technique used in this cowl isn’t actually intarsia, but stranded colorwork (fair isle)! And even if you haven’t done that before either, this is a really great project to learn on. Because there’s no shaping and it’s really just a straightforward tube, there’s nothing but simple colorwork patterning to pay attention to. I hope it works out for you!

  10. Nonnelien November 17, 2011 at 17:18 #

    Ik was surprised to read a message from you ad my blog. I`ll love you`re cowl and i send you a picture when it ready.
    Greets Eugenie (nonnelien)

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