Attentive readers (there’s got to be at least one of you, right?) will know that I made some super plain, yet super awesome socks last summer out of Noro Taiyo, one of the more stunningly beautiful and weirdly rustic yarns out there. These socks have proven themselves to be hardwearing and more than game for sliding around on the kitchen floor while I’m making pancakes. I also recently made a lovely, delicate lace shawl out of Misti Alpaca, the softest, most wonderful stuff to ever hover near your face. It’s like sticking your face into a pile of baby rabbits. Or baby alpacas, I suppose.
These yarns couldn’t have less in common, except for the fact that they both involve shades of blue. Why not put them together?
Admit it, you did that in your head like Bruno Mars’s super hip entourage, didn’t you? Me too.
Introducing, in all of its wooly, silky, alpaca-y glory, Cowl Before the Storm.
You guys know I love puns, so here’s the explanation. A friend of mine once dyed her hair a lovely shade of lilac, and another friend of hers said that it made her look like a beautiful storm cloud. Before I ever even put these yarns together, I could see exactly in my head the beauty that they’d create. I was totally not disappointed. They merged into a lovely, light fabric that is super soft, yet very warm and cozy. Something about the light blue alpaca tempered down the wild color variations of the Taiyo, turning it into a beautiful storm cloud of my own.
Especially that bright turquoise bit right there. Gets me every time. In fact, when I was working on it, a co-worker told me that it looked like the sky right before a storm, hence the name.
Want to make your own? Find two wildly disparate yarns, stick them together, and read on. (Or, go ahead and click here to get the easily printable version, complete with less pictures of my face!)
Cowl Before the Storm
a beautiful little storm cloud of your own…for your neck!
This is a very simple lace project worked in the round, fantastic for lace beginners or for those who love to play with color and texture combinations. You end up using very little of each skein of yarn, so you can save this project for when you need to have some fun with leftovers from other projects. The Lacy Scallops pattern is adapted for knitting in the round from the fantastic stitch reference guide Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns published in 2005 by Sterling Publishing.
Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn (50% cotton, 17% wool, 17% polyamide, 16% silk blend, 462 yds. per skein)
Misti Alpaca Lace (100% baby alpaca, 437 yds. per skein)
US size 8 (5.0 mm) 16-inch circular needle
stitch marker (to mark beginning of round)
tapestry or yarn needle
approximately 5 sts per inch on US 8 (5.0 mm) needles in Lacy Scallop pattern (Gauge is not terribly important here, as long as you don’t end up with a cowl hanging to your knees. Unless that’s your style, then go right ahead.)
CO 108 sts with both strands of yarn held together on circular needle. Join into round, being careful not to twist. Knit 1 row.
Begin Lacy Scallops pattern (adapted from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns):
Round 1: *k1, yo, k2, sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo* until end of round (12 repeats total)
Round 2: knit all sts
Round 3: *yo, k2, sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog, k2, yo, k1* until end of round
Round 4: knit all sts
Round 5: purl all sts
Round 6: knit all sts
Repeat Rounds 1-6 eight more times, for a total of 9 repeats, easily tracked by counting the purled rows.
Knit Rounds 1-4 once more.
Bind off all sts purlwise. Break yarn and weave in ends.
Block lightly, enough to open up the pattern and smooth out the scallops on the edges, but not so much so as to stretch or distort the shape.
If you’re totally awesome like me, this is how much yarn you’ll have left over. And you’ll feel pretty smug.
You earned it.