Knitting Notes, Project Ideas

Great Gifts: Two-Point Cowl from Churchmosue

I got it in my brain last week that Wool & Grace needed a store sample of the Two-Point Cowl, a new pattern from Churchmouse.  This piece is like a scaled-down version of their ever popular Easy Folded Poncho.  It’s an easy cowl to throw on over or under your jacket or coat to add an extra layer of warmth.  You should know by now that I love the accessibility of Churchmouse patterns.  They are meant for knitters to make them and feel good about their finished project.

Two Point Cowl
Two-Point Cowl by Churchmouse Yarns

I opted to make our shop sample in Rowan’s Brushed Fleece.  First of all, I love this mooshy, lightweight fabric.  Second, the bulky weight meant it would knit up in a flash.  I began this project last week expecting to bang it out without a second thought.  As it turned out, it was absolutely delightful to knit, with an interesting construction and a few new techniques to add to my toolbox.

Rowan Brushed Fleece
Rowan Brushed Fleece

The Two-Point Cowl begins with a provisional cast-on.  For newbies, this means you start with a row on waste yarn so your second row, done with your working yarn begins with live stitches that can be picked up and worked later.  For years, I’ve been doing my provisional cast-ons with crochet chain and picked up stitches.  This Churchmouse pattern has you use a crochet hook and knitting needle for your cast on, crocheting over your knitting needle.  This method is SO EASY and left me asking myself “WHY HAVE YOU SPENT SO MANY YEARS DOING THAT GD CROCHET CHAIN PROVISIONAL CAST-ON?”  (Want to see a video tutorial for this easy provisional cast-on method?  Check out this great video from Very Pink Knits).

Needless to say, I’m switching methods to this new one starting NOW.  A slip-stitch edging on both sides makes for a tidy, i-cord-like edge that doesn’t curl and looks incredibly finished and polished.  Without getting to into the construction of this piece, I’ll tell you that you finish the main piece with an easy and polished looking i-cord bind-off, pickup stitches for the neck and finish that with another i-cord bind-off.

I knit up this sample in 3 days, all while being distracted with another project (my new and beloved socks).  Being a fast knitter, I can tell you by anyone’s standards, it’s quick to knit – and this makes it a great contender as gift knitting!

Churchmouse often writes patterns for multiple weights of yarn, and the Two-Point Cowl is no exception.  It’s also written for a sport-weight yarn.  That said, it’s so simple it’s easily modified for ANY weight of yarn.  This would be a great opportunity for a knitter looking to tinker with gauge to try some simple to make this work.  If this pattern’s dimensions are 14″ wide at one point, it’d be quite easy for you to check your gauge with a worsted or super-bulky weight of yarn and modify your cast-on number to suit your yarn choice.  If you are feeling uncertain about how to do this, email me!  I’d be happy to meet up with you to show you how YOU can make these calculations yourself!

As mentioned, I made our sample in Brushed Fleece and I LOVE IT.  I can’t wait to steal it here and there to wear for myself.  Brushed Fleece yields an absolutely weightless, warm and soft fabric.  If you’re going to try to work with a similar weight of yarn, try out Juniper Moon’s Fourteen, Conway + Bliss’s Odin, Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry, Cascade’s 128 Superwash and Blue Sky’s Extra, to name a few.

If you’re going the sport-weight/DK route, try out Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca, Debbie Bliss Aymara, Juniper Moon’s Dromedary, Brooklyn Tweed’s Arbor or HiKoo’s Kenzie for a few options.  As I mentioned, there are endless possibilities for yarn substitutions.  I can’t help but think a light but super-bulky version in Mirsaol’s Ushya would be absolutely dreamy.  Or making a version in Katia’s Cotton Merino would make up a particularly luxurious choice.  Or how about knitting up a version with a bit of sheen using Cascade’s Luminosa?  Mix fibers using Shibui’s Birch + Pebble for a big dose of luxury.  Or go crazy for color and try something like Noro’s Ito or Cascade’s 220 Superwash Wave.

I’m convinced this is an incredibly versatile project that will make a great gift for countless people around you.  It’s also got a couple new techniques that will make you feel like a stronger knitter.  There’s so much room for tweaks and modifications, it’ll make you realize how creative you are as a knitter!



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