Variegated yarns are delicious. Their gorgeous tones and wondrous contrasts excite and delight the eye. The beautiful colours make the heart beat faster, and bewitch the knitter into a fast exchange of cash for a bundle of squishy, hand-dyed joy.
For me, that’s often where it ends. The pretty skein sits in my stash looking cute, but never knitted. It’s very sad.
Why? Two main reasons: For the most part it’s the thought of potential pooling that gets me. Also, I just can’t quite actually deal with wearing a riot of colours in one piece (socks are an exception). Even fair isle, which I love knitting and love to look of, is reluctantly worn if it contains a lot of colours. I guess that’s why I adore self-striping yarns, semi-solids, and tweed. They’re more interesting than plain colour, but less provocative to my “OCD” tendencies when it comes to multiple colours in garments!
However, when I saw this hank of “autumn in a skein” from Anna Gratton (the actual colourway is called Topaz), I had to buy it. The tones were just too beautiful to resist. (Reference paragraph one… ahem). Orange tones are not normally my colour. But this is an irresistibly beautiful, gloriously rich, true burnt terracotta, autumn leaf orange/brown captured in a magical hank of yarn. Such a masterful dye job!!
You might remember this image: The way the silk and mohair content caught the light made it look like a glowing ball of embers in the evening sunset. There is very little I did to alter this image – the silk and mohair content really does catch the light and turn it into something awesome.
I started to swatch.
These were a couple of my more successful swatches. I went with the top one for a beginning concept for my design.
I really like how the linen stitch breaks up the variegation and gives it a more textural, earthy look. It’s quite a slow stitch though, and also makes the fabric quite dense. So I decided to break it up with stocking stitch and something in between to give it visual interest and increase the draping quality of the fabric.
It has taken me all summer to finish knitting this design. I don’t really know why. But they say that slow and steady wins the race, and indeed, it is done.
This pattern is called “Bo”. Bo (帛) is the general reference to silk in the Chinese language (I’ve used Mandarin), and is the predominant fibre in this cowl of Little Wool Company’s 40% Silk/30% Mohair/30% wool blend. The name is a nod to my Chinese heritage and the origin of silk.
Deliberately textural, earthy and organic looking, I’m happy with how it has turned out. I wanted it to look like woven cloth when worn, but not quite woven. The garter stitch/purl detail on the front of the cowl is reflected in the other side, so that together, the two sides complement each other very well.
It takes just 120g of a 200g hank of Little Wool Co. Silk/Mohair/Merino fingering-weight yarn to knit this cowl. It’s a very light and airy yarn, so if you are wanting to substitute this yarn be sure to choose something with similar qualities.
The pattern will be ready in about a week. It’s a simple pattern, and I hope it will bring some of you a bit of knitting pleasure.
This version is being packed off as a gift. However, I’m going to knit another sample for me. Perhaps you’ll join me?