This week comes a tale of color and technique. The catalyst? My Inspira cowl.
Initially, let me say the phenomenon known as the Inspira cowl started late last summer, when a then relatively quiet person on Ravelry – Celerystalk - created a colorful cowl for herself, based on a neat hat a friend had made. She posted her completed project … and when the dust had cleared, over 700 other Ravelers had hearted her colorful Inspira creation (you'll need to log in to Ravelry to access the pattern). As I wrote to her back then, the little cowl that could had gone viral.
Fast forward to January when, after many prompts from oh-so-many people, Celerystalk wrote up the recipe for her cowl (well, three separate recipes, really) and started a little pattern test. That’s where my current project comes onto the scene. Knowing that I had previously done virtually no knit colorwork, nor any knitting in the round, and that I wasn’t the best when it came to meeting testy FO deadlines, she suggested that it would be perfectly alright if I wanted to sit out the testy phase of the pattern, and go directly to the finished pattern. But no, I decided I wanted to join the testy fun. Hmmmmmm.
I bought yarn for one version of the Inspira. I was thrilled with my color combination, because this cowl is all about color. Color. Color. Color. I bought my circular knitting needles. I was armed and ready for testy battle.
And then … I sputtered. I learned how to cable cast-on, and did just that. And then didn’t do much else. I wasn’t thrilled with my original colors. I wasn’t thrilled with the circular needles. I wasn’t thrilled with trying to not twist my cast-on stitches before joining. I wasn’t thrilled with using two strands of yarn at once on a circular needle that I seemed to be constantly fighting. And did I mention I w-a-s-n-’t thrilled?
So … the test came and went. Done at the beginning of February, with almost 100 wonderfully colorful Inspira cowls completed. And not one was mine.
Dejected was I. Frustrated too. But not defeated. Absolutely not. I went to my stash with renewed purpose, appropriated different yarn – a combination of three separate colors, in case I wasn’t already a glutton for punishment (two of which are seen above – isn't the Noro lovely?). And then, I had a stroke of genius (at least I think so) – I pulled out the knitting-in-the-round training wheels.
Yup. I pulled out my straight knitting needles.
I then performed my newly learned cable cast-on which, by this point, given the amount of times I’d actually cast-on for this project, made me a virtual veteran of this cast-on technique, and completed the first third of my Inspira cowl in the conventional back-and-forth manner.
I am now back to officially thrilled status. I’m also now relatively comfortable with the two-stranded knitting technique. As you can see from this photo, here’s what it looks like on the wrong side:
The best thing about working with two strands of yarn at once is I learned to lose what I’ve coined the “death grip” hold on the yarn. I give it plenty of freedom and breathing room, and it rewards me by behaving ever so nicely as I knit – no bunching from being pulled too tight.
And I’ve now switched to my circular needles, when there’s enough weight on the cable so there’s no need to fight it, or curse because I’ve joined the round with the dreaded twist. See?
Did I tell you I love this pattern? I do. Did I tell you I love color? I do.
Oh, and did I tell you I now love knitting in the round?
I knew you’d love a happy ending.