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Currently Crafting – Craftsy Fair Isle Colorwork Cowl and Tips for Blocking a Cowl

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Okay, so today’s fair isle cowl from a Craftsy class isn’t really a “currently” crafting project, nor is it truly mine. Today I’m sharing a look at something my husband made in December. It was a gift for my sister, so I couldn’t share photos of it until after our holiday trip! I’m so proud of my husband’s knitting that I have to share, even if this isn’t, strictly speaking, “my” project. I did come up with the idea to use the cowl as a gift and ordered the yarn, so that counts for something, right? After all, it is always the project supervisor who seems to get all the credit…

fair isle cowl from craftsy class

{{In other news, that picture looked way better on my camera display! I see now it isn’t as in focus as I’d have liked – sorry about that! Womp-womp. Moral of the story: always check your photos on the computer before giving away the item you wanted to photograph.}}

In October my husband and I decided to purchase the Craftsy class Modern Stranded Knitting Techniques and each make a version of its fair isle-inspired colorwork cowl. My husband tackled his cowl as, quite literally, his third ever knitting project. He started a scarf on Columbus Day weekend, knit a baby cardigan that’s still too big for our little boo, and then jumped right into the cowl right after LG was born. I still haven’t started mine and have serious doubts about whether I’ll ever be able to make one as nice as his! I’m not just being down on myself. The way you’re “supposed to” knit stranded colorwork involves using your left index finger, but mine doesn’t quite bend correctly due to a childhood injury.

After seeing my sister’s reaction to his completed cowl, I convinced my husband to make her one in light blue and greys. The yarn didn’t arrive until early December and he finished with time to spare before our trip to South Carolina. I’m not really sure how he became instantly so good at knitting and, to be honest, I’m a bit jealous! How does someone start knitting in October and then make something this beautiful in early December? With a full time job and a newborn baby?

Something that helped him with the cowl (and me on some other projects) was using our Knitpicks “short” interchangeable needles. The bottom ribbing is done on a smaller set of needles than the main body of the cowl, which is a common feature of hats and cowls. By using interchangeable needles, you can swap the needle tip while keeping your stitches on the same cable. This is quicker and easier than knitting transferring everything to a different set of needles! The cowl was knit with Craftsy’s house brand Cloudborn highland worsted yarn. We’ve been happy with the Cloudborn yarns, though it’s important to note that their yarns, particularly the merinos, tend to be on the lighter end of the spectrum for their weight class designation. I used Cloudborn worsted merino for a pair of baby leggings that I’ll be sharing next week.

Although he’s definitely a better knitter than I am, I do a better job of blocking. I wasn’t really happy with a crease that developed when I blocked his cowl, so I decided to try something different for my sister’s. After soaking the cowl for about half an hour in lukewarm water and pressing it dry with a towel, I placed it on a large sheet of foam board and inserted the largest pair of knitting needles we have into the cowl. I pinned the cowl down on the “inside” of the needles to create a nice, rounded appearance instead of a harsh crease:

blocking a cowl on knitting needles

It worked! There was no discernible crease on the cowl. I wish I’d thought to try this out on my husband’s cowl the first time around! The next time you need to block a cowl, I encourage you to give this technique a try.

My sister loves her Christmas present and, even though she lives in South Carolina, already put it to good use. There was an unprecedented amount of snow where she lives at the beginning of the month and she was able to use use her cowl several times:

craftsy modern stranded knitting techniques cowl

We were kind of jealous of her snow (it didn’t snow where my mom lives elsewhere in the state), but not of the frozen slush that lingered for days.

If you’ve been thinking about picking up a Craftsy class or two, I encourage you to check out their awesome new feature of Craftsy Unlimited. You can get a 7 day free trial and watch as many classes as you want to for free! Could be dangerous… We haven’t signed up yet, but I’m sure we’ll give it a go at some point.

In a couple of weeks I’ll be showing how to make the faux ceramic gift tag seen in the second photo, so I hope you stop back in soon!

Did you give handmade presents this year? Did you purchase handmade or make items yourself?

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Sarah January 19, 2018, 08:59

    That’s wonderful Natasha – you have a very talented husband 🙂

    • Natasha January 19, 2018, 09:02

      That’s hat I keep telling him! He seems to think it’s no big deal, but I think it’s beautiful.

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