Black Diamond Kits

Black Diamond Kits
Sage's Kits, Nine Weeks Old

Thursday, September 24, 2015

River Birch Cowl Knitted in Luxurious 100% Angora

This is the largest item I have knitted using 100% angora.  Because angora is so very warm--eight times warmer than sheep's wool--and because it lacks elasticity, it is often blended with other fibers.  I was a bit nervous to make a cowl. What if it was just droopy and unattractive? What if I put all the time into spinning, dyeing, and knitting, and I didn't like the result?

I finally decided that the world would not come to an end if I didn't like the result.  And it helped that Stephanie Gaustad, the fiber judge at the Nevada State Fair, said that my skein of yarn was "almost drop-dead gorgeous," and that it would make a lovely cowl. 

1.1 ounce skein of 100% angora yarn on the right
Brown is a lovely color on Fudge, but it does not look good on me, so I wanted to dye it.  I didn't think I would like a pastel color because the chocolate would come through.  After much agony, I finally settled on purple.  If I didn't like the result, I could always dye it black.

I used Dharma dye.  But I forgot to take a picture of the dyed skein.  (Fortunately, I had 0.4 ounces of yarn left over, so I made up a mini-skein for this post.)  

Selecting a pattern was a huge challenge.  For one, I always look for pretty simple patterns that I can knit while I sit next to the girls and help them with their schoolwork.  And because I spun this yarn so that it would develop a nice "halo" (basically, it's the fuzziness of angora yarn; "halo" just sounds a little more sophisticated, I guess), I didn't want a pattern that would get lost in the halo. 

I finally settled on this pattern.

 River Birch Cowl

You can find the pattern here:

It couldn't be any more basic.  It is just row after row of garter stitch that gets its lacy appearance from the large needles used to knit the fine yarn.  If you don't want to bother looking up the pattern, get some size 11 needles, cast on 40 stitches, and knit every row until it is 50-52 inches long.  Graft the two ends together.  I think it took me about four hours. 

And how much fiber did this cowl require?  I used a whopping 0.7 ounce.  Of course, how much yarn you will need depends on how finely you spin it. 

Ugh.  I should be wearing a white top.  And the picture shouldn't be blurry.  I will try again tomorrow.

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