FO Friday #16: A Tale of Three Cowls

Friends, it is very rare for me to knit the same exact pattern more than once. It is even more rare for me to knit two items from the same pattern within a week of each other. This rarest of patterns is Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer. It is a clever little shawl-shaped-cowl accessory that is simultaneously genius and simple in design and engaging and quick to knit. I think cowls in general make wonderful gifts, they serve the same function as scarves more efficiently (as far as knitting time goes) and they’re rare enough in stores to make them uniquely knitterly and therefore more awesome. Anywho, I’ve made three of these cowls, one for myself last summer and two in the last couple of weeks for gifts.

#1 and #2 are the new ones (size large), #3 is my old one (size small).

Cowl #1 is the large size knit with a skein of my handspun merino/tencel blend yarn. This yarn was the thickest of the three which made this cowl the largest and bulkiest to wear. I’m particularly excited about the way the colors in this cowl worked out. When I spun the yarn, I split the braid in two and and ended up with two little skeins that gradually transitioned from gold through green to a darker brown. When I knit the cowl, I started the first skein with gold and then knit from the opposite end of the second skein so it would transition from brown to gold again.

Cowl #1 – handspun

Cowl #2 is also the large size, knit with the sadly discontinued SG Zaftig Bugga, a worsted weight merino/cashmere/nylon blend. Knitting this yarn was supremely satisfying, the stitches were plump and even and blocked cleanly while the fabric remained soft and supple. Since the yarn is a bit thinner than my handspun and contains a good deal of cashmere which usually drapes, the cowl is a bit smaller/less bulky-feeling when worn than Cowl #1, despite being the same size.

Cowl #2 – SG Zaftig Bugga, colorway Starry Night Cracker

Cowl #3 is the small size, knit with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Marine Silk Worsted, a silk, Merino, Seacell blend which is extra drapey (and wonderful). That drape contributes to why this cowl is my go-to accessory indoors because my neck stays warm without a lot of bulk. I barely even notice it’s there when I wear it but it warms me right up, I wore it constantly this winter (which is why it is less crisply pointed than the first two freshly-blocked cowls). The small size is intended to be knit with sport weight yarn but I used the same needles with thicker yarn to compensate for the drape of all that silk and I love the result.

Cowls 1, 2, and 3.

The three cowls pictured side-by-side provides a good representation of their differences. The main difference in the pattern is that you knit the plain stockinette portion to a larger stitch count before beginning the lace and you knit an additional pattern repeat of the lace for the small size. I knit cowls 1 and 2 on size 9 needles and cowl 3 on size 6 needles. The large pattern size produced cowls that were a bit more funnel-shaped and the small size produced a more cylindrical cowl. You can see in 1 & 2 that the lace portion flares out more at the bottom and narrows towards the top while in cowl 3 the width is more equal throughout. If you refer back to the first picture, this affects the way the cowl sits around the neck. I think I prefer the shape of the small sized cowl, which could probably be achieved with the large size as well if you changed the rate of increase so that the stockinette portion became wider faster (more crescent-shaped, less triangle-shaped) which would decrease the height of the plain stockinette portion. I think the large size as written is probably more effective as an outerwear accessory than the small since it hugs the neck more tightly and would keep one warmer, but for comfort and around-the-house wear I really like Cowl #3. If you want more details on size/gauge/etc. because you’re a total knit nerd like me, you can check them out for Cowl 1, Cowl 2, and Cowl 3 on their respective Ravelry pages.

Speaking of knit nerds, today is the last day to enter the contest on Vicki’s blog interview of me, so don’t forget to comment over there for the chance to win one of my patterns!


9 thoughts on “FO Friday #16: A Tale of Three Cowls

  1. I love your trio of Zuzu's Petals. Gorgeous, every single one of them! I have seen this pattern in ravelry but did not realize until now that it is a cowl. So cool! And easier to wear than a shawl.


  2. Pingback: Blue Sky Alpacas Extra Review & Giveaway | Woolen Diversions

  3. Pingback: FOFri #34: Double Whammy | Woolen Diversions


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