Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Knitted Cowl

This questionable looking item above is a cowl.

For those of you not familiar with them, cowls are somewhere between a stand-alone turtleneck and a scarf.  If you knit them fairly narrow, as I did above, they cozy around your neck like a big turtleneck.  (This is critical for me, because if my neck and feet aren't warm, there is no hope for the rest of me.)  If you knit a larger circumference, you can pull it up over your head like a hood.

Plain English Cowl Instructions

You need:
1.5 skeins Lion Brand Nature's Choice Organic Cotton Yarn
Size 10.5 circular knitting needle with 24" cord
Size N crochet hook

Cast on 80 stitches.  This edge will curl when you wear it, which I think creates a neat look. 
Knit in the round until the piece is about 12 inches long, or however long you want it.  The longer it is, the more it will scrunch up around your neck.
Crochet off.  The piece above has a single row of double crochet, but in later versions I have done a double row, which seems to make that edge lay flatter when you wear it.  Obviously, you can wear either end at the top, or even wear it inside out.

You can cut the cost of this by choosing less expensive yarn, but I am addicted to this Lion Brand option.  It just feels so good in my hands! I started by buying it at my local yarn store for $7.49 a skein plus tax, making this cowl come in at $12.  I have since found several good online sales that bring the price per skein under $6.  Fabric.com currently has a good price, plus free shipping on orders over $35.  If you get the mailers from Joann Fabric, you will often see a 40% or 50% off coupon on regular-price items, which helps as well.

The Analysis

Fast:  I can finish one of these in two or three nights of knitting (at one or two hours a night), which means they are plenty quick to make a few for me, a few for hubby (they are unisex), and some for gifts.

Cheap:  As mentioned above, this cowl was $12, but I should be able to do future ones for around $8 if I'm careful.

Good:  As we head into fall, anything that adds some warmth allows us to keep that heat low or off for longer!

Fall Thermostat Challenge Update:  Typical for the Midwest, we just had a weekend during which I could hardly stand to turn off the AC, followed by a night during which I slept in socks!  So far, the whole-house heat and AC have been off 266 hours since Labor Day, or 11.08 days!
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