Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

The Cowl Channel

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Dear Ann,
At what point should I feel embarrassed about the cowl output around here? Never? Is never OK with you? I simply am enjoying a pattern that rings all my bells at this moment. There is nothing wrong with that. It will run its course.
But I recognize that I have reknitivist tendencies (thanks Twist Collective for that coinage). It seems, even to me, a bit simpleminded to knit so many multiples of the same pattern. But I have multiples of people in my life, including myself, who think this is the perfect Winter 2012 accessory. And I have multiples of yarns I’d like to knit up into this cowl. In short, it doesn’t seem repetitive to me, or at least not any more repetitive than a second cup of coffee or piece of cake. So on I go. I feel the end is nigh. I think it’s just one Honey Cowl after The Current Cowl. Because while knitting the current Honey Cowl, I got a brain wave about a made-up cowl that has captured my imagination, and I bought the yarn for it, so it looks like a switch is imminent.
But let’s catch up on my Honey Cowls, shall we?
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Here’s niece Maggie rocking my second Honey Cowl, in Socks That Rock Heavyweight. This is a narrower width than Honey Cowl the First, because there is less yardage in a skein of STR than the mega wad of Tess’ Designer Yarns that I used.
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But it seems to be doing the job.
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And here, modeled inanimately, is Honey Cowl The Third, which used 2 skeins of Madelinetosh Tosh DK, in Honey Wheat. I think I’m keeping this one. But I cannot see the point of me modeling it, at least not while Carrie and Maggie’s jawlines are fresh in everyone’s minds.
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It’s a good color for me.
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Really sets my puffy coat apart from the 7 million other puffy coats in the city that never wants to feel a chill.
On the needles: Honey Cowl The Fourth, which is at the exact halfway point.
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Lots of progress was made on it over the weekend, as I re-watched old Eastenders episodes because I had forgotten exactly what happened between Janine and Laura, and it didn’t seem important at the time, until it really seemed very important (this was all happening in real-time Eastenders in 2004, but WLIW is nearly 8 years behind the UK). Then I got started on Season One of Downton Abbey. Mind you, I watched it twice last year, but short-term memory being what it is, I don’t want to start Season Two without a refresher on who’s who and what’s what. Not that even a memory-impaired person is likely to forget The Turkish Gentleman, but there are nuances. So, that’s a lot of good cowl-knitting time, too.
Honey Cowl The Fourth is for a deserving pal who has been hinting for a handknit for a while, and who has just acquired a brown coat. Deserving Pal is one of those people who is always well turned out and stylishly put together, which is why I have dithered so long about what to knit for her. It would be too easy, I fear, to get it wrong. I see Deserving Pal very frequently, so if the item does not make the cut for the New Brown Coat, I will know the sting of knitterly rejection. But how could even the pickiest pal not like a Honey Cowl in Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester? Could not happen, right? That’s my thinking.
[HERESY ALERT} I am not one to spend much time pondering the differences between the wool of the different heritage sheep breeds. To me, wool is wool, or rather, good wool is good wool. I’m more interested in the finished yarn’s texture, drape, and color, frankly, than the base fiber’s softness, fiber length, crimp and so forth. I love all the sheeps, the great and the small, but the yarns most of all.
But this Blue Face Leicester stuff, wow. I would not have identified it as pure sheep’s wool. It’s so suave; beautiful drape with no sacrifice of stitch definition. Pretty dang nice. Take that, Barney’s accessories department–you think you’re hot stuff, but you ain’t got BFL, and you certainly don’t have BFL dyed by Fleece Artist. I will hand this over to Deserving Pal without a worry in the world.
Love,
Kay
P.S.
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I’ve also been embroidering on my Prints Charming (Put a Bird On It) kit. (It’s not really called Put a Bird on It.) So fun; it’s taking me back to 8th Grade Home Economics. In a good way.

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38 Comments

38 Comments

  1. Gah, your string of Honey Cowls has me reaching for the needles. My string of startitis this year has resulted in projects that even with a lot of dedication will not be done in a month. Need a quick fix! Even a hat will do!

  2. Kay, I don’t really know my knitting history, but I suspect that it’s really only recently that most knitters are not reknitivists. I am betting that, without the internet always tempting us and egging us on, many knitters would have a tendency to stick to something they know, and master it. I could be wrong, but I would guess today’s three-year knitter has already learnt more ways of casting on than most 19th-century knitters learnt in a lifetime.
    Anyway, nice cowls! And: I shall never tire of the comforting news that memory problems are common in Ladies My Age.

  3. >>At what point should I feel embarrassed about the cowl output around here? Never? Is never OK with you?
    you have your answer! all-obssesive-y, all the time. xoxo Kelli Ann & co.

  4. Have a look at my holiday Citrine’s on ravelry and you will see that you are not alone in reknitivism! I love that word.
    But mostly I truly love the fleece artist yarn. I’ve used their woolie silk, but that stuff you have there is lovely. Lucky friend.

  5. Ha! I’ve made two this winter season. I used Madeline Tosh worsted in clematis. Beeeeeeeauuuuutiful.

  6. Reknitivist or Serial Magnificent Obsessionist?
    I myself am where I never expected to be: on my first-ever sock kick, courtesy of Teach Yourself Visually Sock Knitting by Laura Chau. (Though we share a first name, she’s not a relation. : ))
    Please let us know what’s next on the needles…or the embroidery hoop!
    P.S. You reference “Carrie and Maggie’s jawlines.” Just remember, our jawlines are not sagging, they are SOFTENING. And isn’t softness an excellent thing?

  7. I heard a horrifying rumor from a spinner/knitter friend of mine. BFL is likely to become scarce for knitting yarn because the demand for BFL is increasing from folks who manufacture sweaters.
    If you want to be on a world wide protest committee let me know.

  8. The Cowl Channel – all cowls all the time!

  9. Whoa!
    I love the honey cowl, and because I can’t knit fast enough, confess to *buying* the winter 2012 fashion accessory several times. I will knit the honey cowl soon. And DOWNTON ABBEY! We borrowed season 1 DVD from our library, and it was even better in 2 sittings than watching the episodes on TV. I was a little worried about season 2 until last Sunday night, and now I hear in season 3, Shirley MacLaine will be Lady Cora’s (Elizabeth MacGovern) mother! I need to see that, because I can’t imagine her as someone from the late 19th early 20th century, somehow.
    But whoa!

  10. i would love to see a cowl knitted in a lacy
    open work pattern with tiny flowers and pearls
    and tiny sparkles all in white for a wedding cowl
    chain stich what next lazy daiseys samplers
    pillow cases get out your gingham checks
    and cross stich an apron needle point coasters
    the list is endless is it not

  11. Have you been watching Portlandia?!? “Put a Bird On It” indeed! It is insane, sometimes obscene, always hilarious.
    Just cast off the Liesl cowl and a Horai scarf and the only reason that more of them weren’t immediately cast on is that I came down with a raging case of finishitis. Soon, soon, my darlings…..

  12. Which “size” of the cowl is in these pictures?

  13. I haven’t started my first Honey (so I don’t know yet how the pattern and stitch count work themselves out) but the yarn is in the mail. When I look at your photos, I am a little distressed by a vertical line I can see. What is that? Would it be relieved by adding one stitch to the count or would that totally mess up the pattern???

  14. Geez, those cowls are quite lovely. I want to reach into the photos and squish the fabric.
    And your embroidery! Those are some sweet chain stitches you have going on.

  15. You sure you can knit while watching “Downton Abbey” and not miss the sets and the costumes and the nuanced expressions of Dame Maggie? Last Sunday’s episode brought tears (spoiler alert!) But I seem to manage to watch repeats on WLIW or some such at strange times … and was thrilled on my (almost) daily nursing home visit to find Downton on the telly in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday! There are some Britcoms on late afternoon! Though I am hooked on “A History of the World in 100 Objects” on WNYC, courtesy of BBC …
    and what I mean to say — Lovely cowls. Lucky recipients.

  16. Oh the Fleece Artist BFL is to die for. It’s on my needles now – a Tubey from Knitty. May have to become a reknitivist of anything with that yarn. It’s not fussy or fancy, simply great stuff.
    Your cowlgirls are super cute. Those Honey Cowls are tame compared to the ginormous things I’ve seen around these NY City streets. But, I knit a Honey Cowl in Tosh DK and it came out a bit too wimpy for me. Or maybe my coat is too puffy? Will have to try it again but kick up the bulk.

  17. Now that you’re a Downton Abbey fan you may go straight to mocking it along with the cast of the UK’s Red Nose Day Uptown Downtown Abbey Part One and Part Two on Youtube. Two of our old favorites (Patsy and Edina)from Abfab star and are just as funny in in this costume drama as they were in the one set just a few decades ago.

  18. Cowl Channel…here it’s been the Schmatte Channel since November. Which is unlikely, since it’s South Carolina, but we had a few frosty mornings where the Schmatta was the perfect thing. At yard sales, at barbecues, people see it, ask about it, and before long, there’s another one on the needles. I’ve made them in rich deep colors, blocks of colors, and one bright pink one with heart buttons for a 10-yr old. Thanks, Kay, for the pattern, and thanks again now for the pointer to the Honey Cowl.

  19. I’m an Eastenders obsessive! I also watch on WLIW but remember the Golden Age when Eastenders was on WLIW, WHYY, 13 and BBC America…all on different storylines. Those were the days. Did Janine & Laura hate each other because Ian used to visit her long ago when she was a lady of the night?

  20. As someone who is not a reknitivist, I think reknitivist tendencies are to be admired. When I buy clothes, if I find a cut I like, I’ll get the same shirt in a few different colors.
    But I’m a process/ADD knitter; I get bored easily. The knitting project that holds me is the one with the new stitch or new concept to learn. If I don’t do mitts two at a time it has taken me a full year to get back to the second one. So, I think never works just fine.

  21. I’m loving the cowls! Up to this week, I never really saw the point of knitting a simple cirlcle, but my eyes have been opened. Yours are just lovely, and I also had a friend with one fresh off the needles in a Noro-type yarn. She modeled it looped, double-looped, and also pulled up Audrey Hepburn style. Just beautiful! I feel one calling my name. As for the reknitivism, I may be also be falling prey with your great Buttonhole bag pattern. I know I’m way late to that party, but I just made one, and it the cutest shape ever. Thanks for a great pattern ladies! :)
    PS:l’m lovin the embroidery too!

  22. Make me itchy to start [another] mobius. Haven’t had that fun in a while.

  23. Dear Kay,
    Holiday 2011: The THORPE
    January 2012: The COWL
    Spring 2012: The return of the DISHCLOTH??!!!

  24. I wouldn’t have thought there WAS a good way to go back to 8th grade Home Economics (she said, thus revealing her age). Now that’s creativity!

  25. I made 5 Honey Cowls before the fever finally broke. You should be nearing the end soon. (Put a Bird on it, indeed.)

  26. I just finished my second Honey and I love it. They are addictive, but I really do need to finish the shawl I started before the Honeys.

  27. If “Put a Bird on it” is not a current industry term, it certainly should be.

  28. I have not Honey Cowled but maybe I should. I’ve been fixating on cowls knit with two or more textures/patterns for months but only produced one.Theoretical knitting is not as fun to see as reknitvism. Keep going.

  29. What’s a jawline?

  30. I love all of your honey cowls and you have completely inspired me to make one. Or more. I have at least 2 skeins of stash I’m considering, and that’s without looking. Thanks for the great pics & blog posts!

  31. ALL the honey cowls are amazing, but what is the yarn and color of Cowl The Fourth? That one made me “ooh” out loud.

  32. I love them all.

  33. There are still people in my orbit, albeit a few, who have yet to be adorned with a Schmatta; and only when I have completed a projects page on Ravelry, photos’n’all, will I be abandoning the Schmatta for any other cowl…
    This message is directed to Madame Kay, Patron of the Speedy Knit!

  34. Nothing wrong at ‘all with being a reknitivist. Sometimes a particular project is just what you need at a given time. Dishrags were mine back when my Dad was sick: easily memorized, easy to stuff in my purse, and easy to put down and pick back up when he was called back at the doctor’s office. Knit on!

  35. Just dove into my first Honey Cowl and can easily see the addiction. My question is: What’s the best way to block these lovelies? Wet blocking? Steam? Just sort of hope it blocks itself? I really want to do right by these beauties!! Thanks for getting me addicted-again!

  36. Ooh. I love the look of seed stitch but not so much the working of it. However, this blankie has me motivated. And you Really, Really rock that Honey Cowl, Kay!

  37. Maggie is adorable!

  38. After falling madly in love with all these beautiful cowls, I just cast on my very own Honey Cowl.