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Syrah Cowl, swatching for gauge and casting on

by Luke Gilligan

As mentioned yesterday, I chose to knit the Syrah Cowl pattern in two colorways of Wisdom Yarns Angora Lace. One will be in the Spice Tree, a variegated yarn, and Merlot a solid, gradient yarn.

The reason I chose to knit the pattern twice, with contrasting colorways is to show how the look can change when using different styles of yarn. I have found that many people tend to stray away from using variegated yarns when knitting cables, they find that the cables aren’t as prominent as they would be if they used a solid color yarn. Personally, I love to knit patterns that incorporate cables in variegated yarn. I find that the variegation highlights different parts of the cables in a unique way.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to clearly demonstrate that in this post, since I’m working the same pattern in both a variegated and solid color! Let’s get started!

Image of gauge swatch being worked in Angora Lace in the colorway Spice Tree.

Swatching for Gauge

The first thing I do when knitting a new pattern is a gauge swatch. The gauge swatch tells me so much about the yarn and the pattern, not just what size needle to use. When I swatched with the Angora Lace for the first time, the first thing I noticed was how smoothly the yarn worked up. It slid across my fingers effortlessly and was incredibly soft to the touch! I knew this process was to be an enjoyable one!

When knitting cables, I have found that the yarn, not the cables themselves, is the most frustrating element to consider. With Angora Lace, this isn’t the case, the yarn isn’t difficult to work with, in fact, it’s a joy and I’m excited to continue knitting!

I’m a tight knitter, and so, when swatching I did have to go up a needle size to meet gauge, but other than that I had no issues with my gauge! The pattern is a circular pattern, and so usually it’s recommended to swatch in the round, but I didn’t. It’s easier for me to get to know the yarn when knitting flat, and not having to fuss with working in the round because gauge swatches use a small amount of stitches. Now, if this were a sweater or an item where the gauge is necessary, I would swatch in the round. This pattern, however, is a cowl, gauge isn’t as necessary because there’s so much ease already built-in. If my gauge is a little larger no one would notice.

One of the other things that stood out about the yarn is how much drape and stretch it has. The drape to this yarn is immaculate and perfect for a cowl pattern allowing it to drape across the neck and display the stitch pattern perfectly! This yarn is perfect for a sweater or hat, and I’m considering knitting a sweater with it!

Casting On and Working the Pattern

Image of the Syrah Cowl ribbing, in the colorway Merlot.

After swatching, I cast on the number of stitches needed to knit the pattern and started to work the ribbing! One thing I would recommend when knitting this pattern is to add stitch markers! The ribbing is not a typical 2×2 or 1×1 rib, it’s a unique combination of 3×1 and 1×1 and sometimes can be easily miscounted and messed up! I would add stitch markers after each repeat so that you can keep track of what part of the ribbing you need to work. Other than that, the ribbing blew by and I’m absolutely loving the process of working with this yarn!

One observation I have is that when Angora Lace is worked with or touched a lot, it does tend to pill. I believe it’s due to the angora. This isn’t an issue for me, but for some it is. I also noticed the yarn does shed!

Join me tomorrow as I work the cabled sections of the pattern!

Image of knitting needles, immediately after cast on the Syrah Cowl using the colorway Merlot.

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Angora Lace, unique fingering weight yarn, perfect for Syrah Cowl

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