My apologies! I got caught up with a few other things, so I had to take a slightly longer break than I had intended to from Project Cowl, but now I’m back with a bang. So lets proceed.
Ideally, at this stage I would recommend that you do a Gauge Swatch before casting on for the main project. In fact, in a few days, I intend to put up a detailed (and highly technical) post explaining Gauge Swatching for fitted garments. But in the present case, since a cowl can be of any size of your choice – as long as it is not too small to go over your head – you can skip a Gauge swatch.
So lets get down to the meat of the matter – vegetarians excuse me (I’m one myself), its just a turn of phrase. Today’s work is actually really simple, we cast on for our project. Feel free to use any type of cast-on you like. For ideas, you can have a look at my post on casting on – Cast-on now, three ways how!
I personally prefer the Long Tail cast-on since it takes the least amount of time. I had promised to tell you about an alternate Long Tail cast-on method for projects with a high stitch count, so that you don’t end up wasting any yarn. Well for this, you need to use two balls of the same yarn at the time of casting on. I assume you’ll have more than one ball of yarn since this is a biggish cowl. If you don’t have two balls, then use two different ends of yarn from the same ball (a lot of balls are wound up in such a way that they have a center tail to pull on as well as an outer one).
Long Tail Cast-on for more than 100 stitches
Now, unlike the normal Long Tail cast-on, where you make your slip knot after leaving a long tail end, here you pick the strands from the two different balls and make a slip knot using both. Remember in this cast-on the slip knot is NOT your first stitch and you have to remove it from the needle once the desired number of stitches are cast-on. Once you have the slip knot in place, the remaining process is the same. You separate the two strands coming out of the slipknot, make a slingshot and start casting-on stitches just like you would in a normal Long Tail Cast-on. Have a look at some pictures to get a basic idea
Once you have your desired number of stitches, cut off the yarn attached to any one of the balls, making sure you leave a 6-inch tail. Now just remove the slipknot, turn your needle and start knitting. Easy peasy!
Casting on for the Cowl
For our pattern you need to cast on 210 stitches if you’re working on circular needles. So go ahead and cast-on using the method mentioned above or any other one of your choice.
Once you’re done casting on, I recommend that you count your stitches twice to ensure that you haven’t missed any. Especially in the case of circular knitting, once you join the round, casting on new stitches would be very difficult. Cut off one of the strands attached to one of the balls leaving a 6-inch tail. Now only one ball of yarn would be attached to your work. From the other end of the needle, remove the slip knot and proceed to the next step.
For those using straight needles, please cast on 57 stitches. You can use the normal Long-Tail cast-on (or any other cast-on of your choice) since the stitches are not too many. Once casting on is done, you can sit back, relax and meet us straight for Day 5 when we begin working on the body of the cowl.
Joining in the round
Before you start, you must make sure that when you point the tips of the two needles at each other, the gap between the stitches on the left needle and the right needle is not too much otherwise joining in the round wouldn’t be possible and even if you manage to knit a stitch it would be extremely loose. You can ensure that this doesn’t happen by using a circular needle of the correct length.
The pattern asks you to use a 29 inch circular needle however, if you are using a different yarn, you may end up casting on smaller or bigger stitches than those in the pattern. In such a case, you will have to modify your needle length accordingly.
The next step is very very important for circular knitters and should not be ignored even if the house is on fire. Before joining in the round, you have to ensure that your stitches don’t get twisted on the needles and the chord. If stitches get twisted at this stage, untwisting them later becomes rather painful. What I usually do is, I place my needles with the stitches on them on a flat surface, making sure that the bottom of the stitches are all pointing inwards, ensuring that there there is no twist in the chord.
Once you have fixed all twists and turns, place a stitch marker or a loop of yarn or a safety pin to indicate the beginning of the round. Now you’re ready to join in the round. As per our pattern, Round 1 is a part of the Garter stitch border and is a purl round which means all stitches are to be purled.
The needle with the yarn still attached to the ball will be in your right hand (if you’re right handed). You insert the right needle into the first stitch on the left needle from back to front, loop the yarn on the inserted needle counter clockwise and pull it through the stitch making your first purl stitch on the right needle. This stitch is likely to be little loose since it joins two ends, so try your best to keep the yarn as tight as possible. But don’t worry too much, we will tighten this stitch in the next round as well . Once you have your first stitch, you can proceed with Round 1.
Finish Round 1 and meet me here for Day 5.