The Everlasting Story

I started designing this cowl a year ago, almost to the day that it was published. As happens with a lot of my designs, I had seen a stitch pattern in a dictionary (one of Barbara Walker’s Treasuries) and swatched it up, not knowing what I would do with it.

Cotton beginnings.

The instructions for Barbara Walker’s stitch patterns are always for flat knitting, and I spent many hours trying to convert the pattern to be knit in the round. Some people will tell you that it’s easy—just drop any selvedge or extra stitches (those “plus X” numbers in the stitch count multiples), and reverse the stitches from wrong-side rows on even-numbered rounds.

Those people are wrong. It’s not always that easy. And it’s especially not that easy when you’re designing something that has sides to it, like a sweater, and you want the pattern to be centered properly. (This cowl doesn’t have sides, but the “easy” conversion didn’t work. If I had taken better notes, I could tell you why I had so much trouble, but I didn’t so I can’t. I think it had something to do, in part, with not starting or ending a round with a yarn over.)

I had originally proposed the cowl to Knit Picks in white wool yarn and named it Slalom Cowl because the stitch pattern reminded me of ski tracks on a mountain of snow. But when Knit Picks accepted the pattern, they wrote:

“We had so many to choose from we have opted to do two collections and we would be delighted to include your pattern (Slalom Cowl) as part of the second collection – it will have a different color scheme than the one you saw originally.”

The new color scheme didn’t include white, so I chose a dark pink color. And since we’re not living in Candyland, the name no longer made sense.

I usually take my time naming my designs, but I felt like I had to hurry to choose a new one and quickly came up with Everlasting Cowl.

Because Knit Picks uses test knitters to knit the items for the collections they publish, they let designers choose any color with which to knit their own version. I had proposed the cowl in their Stroll Sock Yarn and requested one of my favorite colors: Firecracker Heather.

My Everlasting Cowl, showing details like a boss.

To quote myself, “I should know by now that Knit Picks almost never publishes garments in exciting colors. The mix of beige, cream, and grey represented by the color putty is what they prefer.”

This time, they knit the sample in Stroll Glimmer Yarn in Kestrel, a dark gray color flecked with blingy bits of silver.

1) The color I love. 2) The color I chose from the available ones. 3) The color Knit Picks chose for the final.

Don’t get me wrong. I love dark and neutral colors, as evidenced by my stash.

Yes, we all know I love brown.

But stitch patterns knit at small gauges show better in lighter, brighter colors. If the knitter who buys the pattern wants to knit her item in black, she can, but she won’t be able to see the design if the designer does, and she probably won’t buy the pattern if she can’t see how it’s going to turn out (mystery KALs aside).

And the strange thing is that mine is the only pattern in the entire published collection that’s not knit in a light, bright color.

KP breaks with their putty tradition.

I do, however, really like the cowl in dark gray, and am thrilled to be part of this collection in any color.

Also, my baby made the back cover of the printed booklet.


To Ponder: To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. |Bertrand Russell|


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