The Wood Warbler cowl, designed by Martina Behm, was the September pattern for A Year of Techniques, and I originally planned to knit this in September. After multiple attempts to get gauge on the recommended 5mm needles, I had to resign myself to waiting for my single pair of 4.5mm needle tips (then being used to knit my lopapeysa) to become available. Then it was October and I moved on to the Good Intentions knit and the October A Year of Techniques pattern, and here we are nearly in November.
Since this is a DK-weight, garter cowl, with only a few increases and decreases to worry about, I’m fairly confident that I’ll finish this one in November too, which means I can add it to the Christmas gift pile. The Schoppel Wolle Gradient is a slightly felted 100% wool yarn, which gives it a somewhat stiff feel when knitting. I believe it will hold it’s shape well, and assume that that’s why it has been used for this particular pattern, which is knit straight, on the bias, and grafted to form the cowl. I ‘m enjoying the revelation of the gradient as I knit, and toying with the idea of knitting one for myself, but swapping the green-blue colourway for something with a touch of pink or orange. I think that decision will wait until I’ve finished this and try it on, however, as I think I may prefer something squooshier and softer round my neck.
Last March Arnall-Culliford Knitwear launched A Year of Techniques: a book of patterns which each addressed a new knitting technique. The initial 6 patterns were released on a monthly basis as pdfs, with options for a hard copy or ebook of all the patterns to be delivered when it launched in September. Each pattern, designed by the likes of Bristol Ivy, Sarah Hatton, and Ella Gordon, is small enough to complete within a month (in theory 😂), and accompanied by step-by-step instructions; there are also online tutorials available at the Mason-Dixon Knitting website.
Although I signed up to A Year of Techniques in late March, and I have the yarn to knit 9 or 10 of the 12 patterns, I’ve yet to complete any of them. I’m hoping the Ruschia hat (designed by Woolly Wormhead) will prove different, and not only because I have a recipient in mind come Christmas.
The yarn I’m using is the recommended Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran (55% wool/45% silk) in the slate colourway. The technique in question is short-row shaping, but the pattern also draws on techniques from previous months: a provisional cast on, and garter stitch grafting. I have used short rows before (for the Studies in Ice pattern), but I didn’t feel confident about them, so it’s nice to have a reason to practice. I recently acquired Woolly Wormhead’s Elemental ebook, so I’m also seeing this as a bit of a test run for all those gorgeous sideways knitted hat patterns.
I’m not overly fussed by the yarn, but the pattern is excellent: easy to follow, requires a little attention to keep straight, but not so complicated that you can’t let your mind wander. I think I will definitely knit this again, just maybe in a different yarn.