‘Pretty Thing’ cowl by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Back in the summer, I went to Copenhagen and did a mini yarn haul. My favourite purchase was a skein of incredibly soft 4ply Baby Alpaca yarn in a moss green, heathered with some purple here and there. I spent ages trawling Ravelry for the perfect cowl/scarf/snood pattern, but most of them needed slightly more yarn than I had. Finally, I found the Pretty Thing cowl by Stephanie Pearl-Mc Phee (AKA Yarn Harlot), a lace project which would use only half of my precious skein!

Lace knitting has always intimidated me, as I’ve had a couple of bad experiences trying (and failing) to read from lace charts. This project made me realise the problem: I don’t hate knitting from charts, I just hate knitting from back-and-forth charts. Following charts in the round is easy!

I found this pattern challenging, but in a good way. It’s too complicated to do in front of the TV, but it’s never confusing. It helps that it’s literally just a tube, so you can focus on the lace pattern without worrying about anything else. It would be perfect as an introduction to lace knitting.

This cowl is impossible to photograph! It looks best when the light is shining through it, so you can see all the lace work.

When the cowl is worn it folds over itself, which makes the pattern all but invisible. I find this a bit annoying; if I’ve put in the effort to knit lace I want it to be seen! Despite this it’s incredibly soft and warm, and can be neatly tucked into your coat (unlike a scarf, which has those annoying ends that blow around in the wind).

The pattern tells you to block it, but I don’t think this is necessary because each time you put it over your head it gets stretched out. After wearing mine almost every day for the last few months, it’s a lot bigger than it was originally. Had I blocked it, I think it would be way too big now.

This cowl makes the perfect set with my Virva mitts and Salut Cheri beret!

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