cherry blossom tree cowl

Some of you might have noticed this cowl in my me-made-may posts, and I’ve been meaning to show it off. Here it is:

I am a sucker for cowls I think. Three of them in four years isn’t really excessive I guess, but the last three scarves I’ve made, and really – about the only ones I use, are of the loopy variety. (here is a red cowl, which was the first one, and then a yellow one from this winter.) It’s just so lovely to not have any ends to tuck in, or to not have re-wrap while fighting blistering winds!

A funny thing with all these cowls is how the yarn has dictated the outcome. With the red one, I choose garter stitch to show off the changing colors, and tried intentional pooling for the first time. With the yellow cowl, I went with subtle and simple stitch patterns so the yarn is showcased in all its fluffy glory.

For this cowl, it was the colors. While I love tweedy, heathery color variations in yarn (like what I used for my Bayview Street cardigan), I usually don’t go for variageted yarn simply because I really don’t know what to do with the pooling that happens. This was a gifted yarn, and much like my yarn that did not want to be knit, I absolutely adored the colors and the skein, but was stumped by what to make with it. I tried a pair of mittens first, thinking I’d like the striping effect, but I actually hated it (my ravelry project page has a picture of the fated mittens).

So, another cowl came to life. It’s the honey cowl pattern, which has a pretty simple slipped stitch pattern repeat. I wanted something that would break up the pooling, and this did (with some additional coaxing to get the repeating of the colors to alternate and stagger instead of stacking). As I was knitting I kept thinking the one side looked like morse code! I view this scarf as patterned, and it’s quite honestly a little outside my comfort-zone and I’m having a bit of a challenge incorporating this cowl easily into outfits. I actually had more patterns as a goal in my (sort of failed, kind of still being worked on) fall palette challenge, so this is a wee attempt to do just that!

I also thought the colors were like the Japanese cherry blossom trees that have been coming in to bloom downtown. It does actually look like bark and buds to me, but I think it might be a good thing the cherry blossoms were still in hiding when we took these pictures, because they would have put my scarf to shame and made it look like a pile of mud! But it’s a funky pile of mud that keeps my neck warm, so it’s all good.

Photos by John B.


4 thoughts on “cherry blossom tree cowl”

  1. i love cherry blossoms :-)
    your cowl looks great, i knit a honey cowl for my mother for christmas, its a lovely repetitive stitch pattern to knit up.
    Question – how were you coaxing the yarn out of pooling/stacking the colours? were you alternating in another skein?

    1. Thank you! Check out my latest post too – I finally got my cherry blossom picture! Those trees are so gorgeous, and it just makes my day to see them on my way to work. They’ll only last about another week, so I’m trying to soak it all up now!

      So – pooling. I read up on intentional pooling on ravelry forums, and learned a bit about how yarn is dyed, and how some of them have color repeats – that is, about the same length of the same color in each wrap around the opened skein. If you find the right number of stitches, you can make those color repeats stack on top of eachother, like I did in my first cowl scarf.

      In this scarf, I wanted say, the lightest sections of the yarn to end up between where there were light sections in the previous knitted rounds. I tried to make sure I cast on with a number of stitches that were a bit over a full round, so the colors wouldn’t end up on top of eachother. It was a little hard to get this all correct since there were essentially two color repeats in one round in this yarn, and they weren’t quite symmetrical. Also, the pattern rows of the honey cowl took up a different amount of yarn than the knit-rows, so it ended up being quite impossible to do the way I originally thought! Then I tweaked throughout with extra loose or extra tight knitting in places to “force” the colors to go where I wanted, and I also increased several times throughout the scarf to skew things when the colors were starting to stack on top of eachother.

      Do check out this forum on intentional pooling on ravelry, sorry about the long-winded answer, and I hope that was helpful in some way!

  2. Your cowl does not look like mud haha, goes beautifully with the cherry blossoms!

    Re: Willow jacket, she cuts outerwear really well, and unlike any other designers I’ve seen (in Australia, at least). Super high armholes & really fitted sleeves so you get lots of movement, something to try next time you fancy making a jacket perhaps!

    Ps. Thankyou so much for your thoughts & words lately xx

    1. Hi Claire! Thanks for the Willow-comment, I think I’ll start being on active look-out to get me some pieces! That’s interesting about the armholes – I’ve been doing some patternmaking lately, and the low armholes especially have been driving me crazy! I’m on board with high armholes, except they can’t have such a high and narrow cap as they did in my mom’s time. I tried on a dress she made in her youth, and I could hardly move my arms! Actually, I got kind of stuck in that dress, and mom was *this* close to cutting me out of the dress, haha! Ok, that was random.
      P.S. Any time.

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