Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gradient Cowl

I bought this gorgeous yarn at Stitches Midwest 2017 from my new favorite vendor, Backyard Fiberworks:

Something about that beautiful speckled green, olive, and yellow really struck me. I decided to make the Duotone Cowl, which used about the right amount of yardage and yarn weight. 

I liked how it knitted up, but the bands of color weren't thick enough to really show off the speckle, so I decided to write my own pattern for a gradient I'd be happier with.

Now the pattern. First, I'll tell you how many rows I did of each color, in case you want to exactly copy mine. Then I'll tell you how I figured out how much yarn to use in the gradient, not knowing how much I'd get out of the yarn. You can use this method to figure out how many rows of solid you can knit between each gradient.

The Duotone Cowl starts off with casting 88 stitches onto a provisional cast-on. I used size 8 for this lovely DK weight because the pattern recommends a larger than normal needle to ensure floppiness, despite the cowl being knitted in a tube.

How many rows Val knit

My gradient pattern goes in multiples of 7:

1 row A
6 rows B

(repeat once)

2 rows A
5 rows B

(repeat once)

3 rows A
4 rows B

(repeat once)

4 rows A
3 rows B 

(repeat once)

5 rows A
2 rows B

(repeat once)

6 rows A
1 row B

(repeat once)

The gradient breakdown was as follows:

  • 35 rows green
  • Green to speckled gradient pattern (above)
  • 35 rows speckled
  • Speckled to green gradient pattern (above)
But because I started in green and I knew I'd need a row at the end to do kitchener stitch, I split the green section:
  • 25 rows green
  • Green to speckled gradient pattern (above)
  • 35 rows speckled
  • Speckled to green gradient pattern (above)
  • 9 rows green
  • Kitchener stitch cowl together

Figuring out the yarn yardage

In order to figure out how many solid rows I could do between each gradient, I took the following strategy, which you can do, too, if you don't really know how many rows you will get out of each color and want to maximize the length of your cowl (or better yet, not end up with not enough left at the end of one color).

Weigh color B ("X"). When you have done your provisional cast-on and have knitted a couple of rows of color A, begin your gradient pattern section. When you have completed it, weigh color B again ("Y"). The length of yarn you need for your solid section is "Z."

X = 2Y + Z

In my case, my yarn weighed 111 g at the beginning (that's X). It had lost 39 g of weight in one gradient section (that's Y). I knew I'd need to do another gradient section (Y), so I subtracted 39 g X 2 from 111 g to arrive at 33 g. To be safe, I ended my solid section when the yarn weighed another 31 or 32 g less, and then I started my last gradient section.

Sorry for all that algebra, but I am somewhat proud of myself for this brainwork and how the cowl came out! I want to pass this on so that other people can enjoy.

Look at that gorgeous speckle! If you haven't checked out Backyard Fiberworks, get there immediately. Every weight, ply, and color I've tried has been wonderful. Easily my favorite new vendor at Stitches Midwest.

And you can't even see my kitchener stitch row! Very proud of myself now.

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