Saturday, March 30, 2013

Whimsicality Cowl Crochet Pattern & Tutorial

It may be spring by the calendar, but here in Wisconsin the nights are still freezing and the mornings icy. Which makes it the perfect time of year for a soft and lightly lacy cowl:

Whimsicality Cowl by Mrs. Micawber

Whimsicality features some fun new stitches dreamed up at Micawber Towers over the long months of winter. The main pattern stitch, called Twisted Cluster, is my own invention (as the White Knight would say). Worked in the round with a large hook, through the back loop only, Twisted Cluster yields a beautifully drapey and textured fabric...


...that makes the most of a special yarn like this gorgeous Cascade Casablanca. Just one skein yielded a generous cowl and a detachable Tunisian button band:


Whimsicality starts with an easy edging row - no long chain to stitch into! It works up very quickly in the round, and finishes with a mirrored edging stitch. Because very little counting is required, you can easily make your cowl longer or shorter, wider or thinner, as it pleases you.

A long colour-changing yarn gives a beautifully striped effect, but a solid yarn would be lovely too.



As usual, we'll start with a crochet shorthand pattern, then move on to a Pattern in Plain English with video tutorials.

All crochet terminology is American.

Size: approximately 39-40" x 7 1/2" (easily customisable)

Yarn Requirements:
220 yards worsted weight (#4) yarn
(Pattern will also work with any weight yarn and the appropriate size hook.)

Yarn I Used:
Casablanca by Cascade (a Christmas gift); 58% wool, 24 % silk, 17% mohair; colour 5; 100 g/220 yards

How Did the Yarn Behave?
Beautifully. Casablanca is very textured, with occasional thick and thin stretches - just enough to add character without compromising stitch quality. Even after multiple froggings, the Casablanca performed consistently well; despite its high animal fibre content, it never stuck to itself. A few small caveats: firstly, because of the rather raw texture, it doesn't always slide easily on the hook, but a loose tension will help with this. Secondly, the first few feet of yarn (on this skein at least) were very fluffy and loosely plied, tending to breakage - but once past this section the yarn was surprisingly sturdy. Thirdly, because this is a z-twist yarn, the normal action of crocheting continually tightens the twist, creating yarn kinks between the work and the skein. This can be overcome by stopping at regular intervals and twisting the work or the skein in the opposite direction to the yarn's twist.

Hook Size: K (10 1/2/6.5mm) and J (10/6mm) OR sizes that give desired stitch quality

Notions: (Optional) 3 buttons, 5/8"/15mm; needle and matching thread

Special Stitches:

Half-Double Crochet Cluster Starting Edge (hdc-clse): *Chain 2, half-double crochet in back bump of second chain from hook. Cluster made. Repeat from *.

Twisted Cluster (tw-cl): Chain 1, yarn over, insert hook in same stitch, pull up a long loop, skip 1 stitch, insert hook in next stitch, pull up a loop, chain 1, yarn over and pull through all loops on hook. Always made in back loops only unless otherwise indicated.

Half-Double Crochet Cluster Finishing Edge (hdc-clfe): *Chain 2, yarn over, insert hook in back bump of second chain from hook, pull up a loop, skip 1 stitch, insert hook through top 2 strands of next stitch, yarn over, pull through all loops on hook. Cluster made. Repeat from *.

Notes:

Starting edge is worked flat in hdc-clse (see Special Stitches above). This creates a long strip of clusters with spaces between them, into which the next round will be worked. Strip is joined to form a ring; cowl is then worked in the round with right side facing at all times. For best drape, keep a gentle tension.

When working Twisted Cluster rounds, clusters will always be made in back loops of previous round's clusters. (Skipped stitches will always be ch-1s between previous round's clusters.) Omit the skipped stitch on the final cluster of every round.

Optional decorative button band is worked in Tunisian Simple Stitch, but may be made with any stitch of your choice. (Click here for a tutorial on Tunisian Simple Stitch.)


Crochet Shorthand Pattern:

Starting Edge: Hdc-clse 72, or to desired length. Ch 1, remove hook from work. Without twisting, bring ends of strip together to form a ring, WS facing outwards. Ins hook front to back through starting ch, pull working lp through.

Round 1: Ch 2, yo, ins hook through back lp of 2nd ch from hook, pull up a lp, ins hook into next sp, pull up a loop, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps on hook. First Cluster made. *Ch 1, yo, ins hook in same sp, pull up a lp, ins hook into next sp, pull up a loop, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps on hook. Rep from * around = 72 cl (or amount matching starting edge clusters). Join w/sl st through both top strands of first cluster.

Rounds 2 and Following: Ch 2, yo, ins hook through back lp of 2nd ch from hook, pull up a lp, sk 1 st, ins hook into bl of next st, pull up a loop, ch 1, yo, pull through all lps on hook. First Cluster made. Tw-cl around, omitting sk st on final cluster = 72 clusters. Join w/sl st through both top strands of First Cluster.

Work until cowl is desired width. (If making one-skein project, allow about 18 yards for finishing edge and 16 yards for button band.)

Finishing Edge: With smaller hook, hdc-clfe around. Join w/invisible join in top two strands of first cluster. (Click here for Invisible Join Tutorial.) Cut yarn, weave in ends. Block if desired.

Optional Button Band: With smaller hook, ch 10. Starting in second ch from hook, pick up 9 lps from back bumps of chains. Work Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS) return pass. TSS 20 rows or to desired length. Bind off, ch 1, turn. Sc 2, *cast on 1 forward lp to hook (see video tutorial below), yo, pull through all lps, sk 1 st, sc in next st. Rep from * twice, ending w/2 scs. Cut yarn, weave in ends. Block. Sew buttons to opposite end.


Crochet Pattern in Plain English, with Video Tutorial

Starting Edge:
To make the Half Double Crochet Cluster Starting Edge:
Chain 2, then make a half double crochet in the back bump of the first chain. (Cluster made.)

Repeat this step until you have 72 clusters, or to desired length. (How easy was that?)

To join into a ring, chain 1.
Remove hook from work.
Without twisting, bring ends of strip together (the wrong side of the strip will be facing you).
Insert hook from front to back through the starting chain, and pull the working loop through.

Here's the video:


Round 1:
(See the handy spaces between the clusters? You’ll be stitching into these.)

Chain 2 (this is to bring your yarn up to the height of the row),
yarn over,
insert hook through back loop of bottom chain, pull up a loop,
insert hook into next space, pull up a loop,
chain 1,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.
First Cluster made.

To make all the remaining clusters:
*Chain 1,
yarn over,
insert hook in same space, pull up a loop,
insert hook in NEXT space, pull up a loop,
chain 1,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.

Repeat from * around to equal 72 clusters (or however many starting edge clusters you made).

Join with slip stitch through BOTH top strands of first cluster.

And ... the video:


Rounds 2 and Following:
Don’t forget – we’ll be working in the back loop from now on, unless otherwise indicated.

Chain 2,
yarn over,
insert hook in back loop of 2nd chain from hook, pull up a loop,
skip over 1 stitch,
insert hook into back loop of next stitch, pull up a loop,
chain 1,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.
First Cluster made.

Now for our regular pattern stitch, the Twisted Cluster. It’s just like the First Cluster, except you’ll be pulling up your first strand from the back loop at the base of the stitch.

*Chain 1 (to make a space between clusters),
yarn over,
insert hook in back loop of same stitch (at base of cluster), pull up a loop,
skip over 1 stitch,
insert hook into back loop of next stitch, pull up a loop,
chain 1,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.
Twisted Cluster made.

Repeat from * around.

When you get to the very last cluster, do not skip a stitch. Pull up your second strand in the joining slip stitch from the row below.

Join with slip stitch through both top strands of First Cluster.

Aaaand ... the video:


Repeat Round 2 until your cowl is as wide as you like – mine has 11 rounds between edges. If your yarn is limited, allow about 18 yards for the finishing round, and about 16 yards for the optional button band.

Finishing Edge:
Switch to a smaller hook (or your edge will be floppy and curly).

To make the Half Double Crochet Cluster Finishing Edge:
*Chain 2,
yarn over,
insert hook in back bump of second chain from hook, pull up a loop,
skip 1 stitch,
insert hook through BOTH top strands of next stitch,
yarn over, pull through all loops on hook.
Cluster made.

Repeat from * around. Join with invisible join in top two strands of first cluster. Click here for Invisible Join Tutorial OR just watch the video:


Cut yarn, weave in ends. Block if desired.

Pretty quick, wasn’t it? How do you like these new stitches?

If you’re using a colour-changing yarn, you’ll notice a little jog where the colour moves up at the beginning of each round. The optional button band does a dandy job of covering this up – and also makes a nice little focal point for the cowl.

Optional Button Band:

If you’re not familiar with Tunisian Simple Stitch, click here for a tutorial. Or just make a rectangle with any stitch you like - it’s your cowl, after all.

With smaller hook, chain 10.
Starting in second chain from hook, pick up 9 loops from back bumps of chains.
Work Tunisian Simple Stitch return pass.
Work 20 rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch forward and return passes, or to desired length.
Bind off across row (= 9 stitches).
Chain 1, turn,
single crochet in next 2 stitches,
*cast on 1 forward loop to hook (see video tutorial),
yarn over, pull through all loops,
skip 1 stitch (this will form a buttonhole),
single crochet in next stitch.

Repeat from * two more times, finishing the row with 2 single crochets.

(Why all that forward loop business? It makes a nice double chain stitch which gives a stronger edge to the buttonhole. Another whimsical stitch, but with a solid reason behind it.)

Again with the video....


Cut yarn, weave in ends. Blocking is recommended to tame that Tunisian curl. Sew buttons to opposite end, and enjoy!


You may do whatever you like with the items you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern or post the pattern text on any other website.

Thanks for viewing, and happy crocheting! :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

44 comments:

  1. What a beautiful cowl, Sue! I just love the harmonious colours and they go so well with that sweater! You have given a wonderfully detailed tutorial with little videos to help. I will look at them with pleasure when I have more time after Easter.
    Wishing you a lovely Easter Day full of joy and maybe some rays of sunshine coming your way! Sandra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sandra! The yarn is very beautiful - just the colours I like. :)

      Delete
  2. Hey Sue, you certainly put some lovely colours together. It looks lovely draped over the sweater and perfect for the weather you are having.
    Great tutorial and videos.....Claire x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Claire - but Cascade gets all the credit for putting those colours together. :)

      Delete
  3. Gorgeous cowl, the colors and the beautiful stitch. I love it and of course your wonderful pattern writing skills. Thanks so much for the pattern, I feel like I just got a bit of an Easter present.
    Hugs to you,
    Meredith

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a very sweet comment - hugs to you! :)

      Delete
  4. I love your cowl. I like how you can use it in different ways ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ana. I didn't plan it that way, but it worked out very well as a shoulder wrap too. :)

      Delete
  5. Ooh, such a gorgeous cowl! I especially like the separate button band. I'm adding this to my list of things I want to make. :)

    Happy Easter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was wondering…do you think this could be done back and forth in rows? I think it would look nice in a Katniss cowl (the one from Catching Fire.) It has such cool texture. :)

      Delete
    2. It can certainly be done back and forth - the reverse side has plenty of texture too, though it does look different from the right side. But honestly, when I wear the cowl I can't always tell at a glance which side should be facing ourtwards until I stare at the stitches. :)

      Delete
  6. Happy Easter, very pretty and spring-like. Juliex

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julie - hope your Easter was a lovely one. :)

      Delete
  7. These are really pretty colors you've chosen. This will be a great first Tunisian stitch project--something I have really wanted to try. Now--if I can just get some time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could take credit for the colour combo - but it's a self-striping yarn by Cascade. And I didn't even buy it - the skein was a Christmas gift. But thanks! :)

      Delete
  8. That is a beautiful cowl and your tutorial was so easy to follow. The button band was unique and I can see many ways to use that stitch in the future. You are divine, Ms. M. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I will be putting this on my to do list.

    Hugs,
    Sharon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome - I hope the stitch may come in handy for you sometime. :)

      Delete
  9. Gorgeous cowl! You are so inventive, Mrs. Micawber! Thanks for the tutorial and pattern.
    Though here is already around +30... time for open tops and shorts!
    Have a great week!
    Hugs,
    Anna.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, could we have just a LITTLE of your warmth? :)

      It's still so icy here. Thanks, Anna.

      Delete
  10. What a lovely gift to us, Sue! Thank you!!!
    I posted some Springy photos...it has been in the 70s and trees are in bloom...amazing for my six years of experience in Portland at this time of year! So what has come to me in Oregon will surely make its way to you! Hang in there!
    Happy Easter!
    xx,
    Gracie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gracie - I'm behind on blogreading (again!) but will be heading over to see your photos.

      Sounds like your March is similar to our 2012 March. Last time at this year we had already hit 80º (which was a bit much to be honest and not at all normal). :)

      Delete
  11. This is so beautiful! And Happy Easter! (2 minutes late - I really must go to bed!)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lovely Sue! You put so much time and energy into these easy-to-follow patterns. You are very kind and generous with your time. Thank you!

    It is not really Spring here either, and I also made a scarf cowl thing this weekend. Kindred minds think alike. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scarf cowl thing - a very good name for these tubular items! :)

      May Spring come soon for both of us.

      Delete
  13. The band is unique..Ive not seen one. I LOVE the effect it has on the cowl. Great detail in the post. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathy! I've not seen one either ... had to do something to perk it up and justify the name. :)

      Delete
  14. I love that stitch. It looks so different and has such great texture. The yarn color is beautiful.
    I have been making cowls and scarves for Christmas 2013.
    And moving of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope it's going well, Beth! The stitch is pretty handy and I've come up with several variations. It's a great yarn-saver though I can't figure out exactly why. :)

      Delete
  15. You are such a star ... gorgeous free designs and such detailed tutorials ... I say again, 'If only I could crochet!' ;)

    I do hope the weather picked up for you Sue :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. You can retire to Wisconsin where...
    1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco .
    2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.
    3. You have more than one recipe for casserole.
    4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.
    5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction!

    Dear Sue,
    Someone sent this to me in an email, and I wondered if you could tell me if it is close to the truth!
    Love your pattern for this beautiful cowl. It looks way too hard for a simple crocheter like myself but I appreciate the time it took to make up this tutorial. xx
    P.S. You should see what it said if you retired in Georgia!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kay!

      The cowl's not hard AT ALL - really. Just a matter of learning a simple new stitch. And it goes very quickly. :)

      Your list, which is pretty accurate, left out one key thing: the Midwestern Salad Bar - Iceberg lettuce and 4 kinds of jello. :)

      Delete
    2. LOL to both comment and reply! And don't forget the cottage cheese and canned peaches for the salad bar!!

      Delete
  17. I simply love the scarf with its attachment! Thank you for sharing the pattern. I would like to reblog this if you wouldn't mind!

    Ta Ta for now, Cathy the Bagg Lady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure - the caveat is for those annoying sites that re-post posts in their entirety, instead of linking back to them (and have advertising that in no way benefits the original blogger). By all means reblog it with a link back - and thanks! :)

      Delete
  18. Oh Mrs Micawber, shame on you for enticing me with such a beautiful cowl.I already have umpteen things started. But.... think I might have to start this.
    Fantastic intructions/ with videos too. I really like that you dont have to do an enormous chain to start. I have recently found your blog and have gradually worked back. So many beautiful things. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I detest crocheting into long chains and any pattern starting with the words "Chain 162" (or any such ridiculous number) just puts me right off. Which has been really good for my creativity as it forces me to explore other ways to start projects. :)

      Delete
  19. Wow! It must have taken you forever to put this post together. The cowl is lovely. I've yet to make one and now our temps are already up to 90 during the day. :/ The yarn you used is very pretty. Have a great week. Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tammy - instead of a cowl, perhaps you could crochet an awning. :)

      Delete
  20. It's beautiful! Thank you so much for this pattern! I'm looking forward to making it with some soft, comfort yarn.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I just came across this beautiful pattern. Do you have .pdf's of your patterns? I'd like to print this one out, but it's super long as is. I would really love to make this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry, but I don't have pdfs - it's something that's been on my mental "to-do" list for years but hasn't happened yet. You could always cut and paste what you needed.... Thank you for commenting! :)

      Delete

I love comments! Speak on....