First, I’ve got to say that I love how these photos turned out. I finally managed to catch the sheen of the bamboo rayon in Bamboo Bloom yarn. It doesn’t hurt that the texture of this yarn really shows as well.
Today, I’ll explain how I make a very randomly textured fabric by using a bit of number fun…NO MATH really…well, I lie, 1 addition equation, but then it’s just patterning after that.
My Centennial Cowl
I call this a centennial cowl because it’s based on my birth year, 1967, Canada’s centennial year. The fun part of this cowl pattern is that it’s based on a pattern sequence determined by the birth year of the knitter or the recipient of the cowl.
My birthday is August 10, 1967. For this pattern, I need to use all the numbers of my birth date: 08-10-1967. If you have zeroes in your date, you’ll need to ignore them, as did I, so my new number sequence is: 8-1-1-9-6-7. This number sequence is used for two types of pattern and stitch repeats.
To knit this cowl out of Bamboo Bloom thick-n-thin yarn, simply cast on about 100 stitches on size 6mm or 6.5mm needles. You can cast on more or fewer stitches, but you just want to make sure that the number of stitches you cast on IS NOT a multiple of the sum of your birth date numbers.
For example: 8+1+1+9+6+7 = 32, so I would NOT want to cast on 96 or 128 sts, because those two numbers are multiples of 32. With 100 sts, I’m guaranteed that my stitch pattern will be fairly random every round.
So back to your pattern. Cast on your desired number of stitches and join in the round, making sure you don’t have a twist in your cast-on stitches.
The first way that the number sequence applies to your knitting is on the rounds I knit for the cowl. In my case, I would knit 8 rounds where the first stitch of the stitch sequence is always a knit, then 1 round, where the first stitch of the sequence is a purl, then 1 row as a knit, then 9 rows as a purl, then 6 rows as a knit and 7 rows as a purl.
The second way that the number sequence applies to the pattern is the combination of knit and purl stitches. In my cowl my first row was: *k8, p1, k1, p9, k6, p7; rep from * around. Because I don’t have a multiple of 32, when I get to the end of the round, I’ll be somewhere in the middle of the sequence. That’s fine, I don’t interrupt the sequence, I simply mark the join with a stitch marker and finish the sequence till I’ve done the p7.
Then I begin the sequence again with k8 p1, etc. I do this for a total of 8 times. Then the next time I start a sequence past the beginning of round stitch marker, I begin the sequence with purl: *p8, k1, p1, k9, p6, k7; rep from * around. But I do this just once, because according to my row sequence, I now need to work another row that begins with a knit stitch. And so on.
This semi-random sequence of numbers eventually creates an evenly distributed series of ridges and valleys in garter, stockinette, and reverse stockinette stitches.
I’m not into numerology or anything like that, but I do think it’s a fun way to personalize a knitted gift for a friend, just by knitting a little meaningful code that represents them right into the fabric. Bamboo Bloom is a great yarn for this type of project as it’s not scratchy, but it’s warm enough for those in between seasons.
One hank makes a cowl that’s between 23½ʺ to 27½ʺ [60 to 70cm] around and 4½ʺ to 6″ [12 to 15cm] wide, so two hanks would make a nice substantial cowl or an infinity scarf.