The Sweet Honeycomb Cowl: Finishing Touches
In our third post about the Sweet Honeycomb Cowl KAL, we’re discussing the finishing techniques for this beautiful project. If you want to know about choosing colors and yarn amounts, or the ins and outs of slip-stitch knitting and the jogless jog, we’ve covered that, too! Ready to knit along?
There are two choices for this pattern, a short cowl and a long cowl, one you can wrap twice around your neck or wear infinity-scarf style.
I’ve completed the last round of my cowl and now I’m ready to weave in the ends and graft the live stitches at the top and bottom together.
Having so many colors in the cowl means that there are quite a few ends to weave in, but since they’ll be enclosed permanently inside the tube instead of being exposed on the wrong side of the work, I won’t worry so much about making them invisible. I will just give each loose end a slight tug to make sure there are no holes, then secure the end over a couple of stitches and snip it to about a 1″ length in order to alleviate bulk inside the cowl.
I made the shorter version of the cowl and chose colors that remind me of Fall. Because Sugar Bush Bliss has such a fantastic array of colors to choose from, it was easy to select eight contrasting colors to go with the dark green I used for the main color.
Here are the amounts I needed for each color:
2 balls of:
#4013 Fiddle Leaf (MC)
1 ball each of:
#4002 Cherish Cream (A)
#4022 Platinum (B)
#4012 Willow Branch (C)
#4015 Old Rose (D)
#4010 Autumn Leaves (E)
#4032 Jade Green (F)
#4003 Honey Blush (G)
#4016 Victorian Rose (H)
And here’s the order of the contrasting colors for Blocks 1–15.
The Provisional Cast-On
My favorite provisional cast-on consists of crocheting a waste-yarn chain that is a few stitches longer than the number of stitches I’ll need, then picking up and knitting stitches in the chain using the working yarn and a knitting needle. However, because I wanted the cast-on stitches to remain on the waste yarn while I grafted the stitches, I picked up and purled the stitches from the chain and kept the purl side of the cast-on on the right side of the work so the bottoms of the working yarn stitches would be clearly visible.
If you don’t enjoy picking up stitches in a chain, an alternate method of working the provisional cast-on is to work the waste yarn chain directly onto the needle and then purl the waste yarn stitches with the working yarn. Either method is fine since the end result is exactly the same either way.
Chain-Edge Provisional Cast-On
With waste yarn, place a slipknot on crochet hook. Hold knitting needle and yarn in your left hand and hook in your right hand, with yarn under needle. Place hook over needle, wrap yarn around hook and pull loop through loop on hook (Figure 1). *Bring yarn to back under needle, wrap yarn around hook, and pull it through loop on hook (Figure 2). Repeat from * until the desired number of stitches are on the needle and then chain a few extra stitches without placing stitches on the needle to secure the chain before fastening off. Then with the working yarn, purl across the waste yarn stitches to complete the cast-on.
Weave in all the ends, except for the cast-on tail and grafting yarn. Block the cowl to the finished measurements.
Grafting in Garter Stitch
To graft, fold the cowl in half so that the bottom half sits inside the top half and the wrong sides are together. The fold line is the point where the front meets the back (and where the pattern doesn’t jog four stitches). Hold the pieces so that the top half with the grafting yarn is in front and the bottom half is in back.
As you work across the row, don’t remove the waste yarn from a stitch until it is secured by at least one pass of the working yarn.
The first two stitches that will be grafted on the provisional cast-on row are slip stitches. Notice how the right leg of the first slip stitch is connected to the cast-on tail.
Since the first grafted stitch needs to be anchored to the first slip stitch on the cast-on row, create a temporary stitch by running the cast-on tail through a stitch on the cast-on row (or, as in this case, through the waste yarn chain). The tail can be removed from the chain as soon as the first stitch is grafted.
Thread the grafting yarn onto a tapestry needle and graft the stitches in garter stitch (removing the waste yarn as you go) as follows:
Insert tapestry needle purlwise (from WS to RS) into stitch on front piece.
Insert tapestry needle knitwise (from WS to RS) into stitch on back piece. (For the first slip stitch, use the temporary stitch for this step.)
Insert tapestry needle purlwise (from RS to WS) into next stitch on back piece. Step 3 will always be in a new stitch.
Insert tapestry needle knitwise (from RS to WS) into stitch on front piece (same one as for Step 1).
Work Steps 1–4 in the next slip stitch.
Insert tapestry needle purlwise into stitch on front piece.
Insert tapestry needle knitwise into stitch on back piece. (This time and for each succeeding time, this step will share a stitch with Step 3 of the last grafted stitch.)
Insert tapestry needle purlwise into next stitch on back piece.
Insert tapestry needle knitwise into stitch on front piece.
Here’s the second slip stitch completed.
Repeat Steps 1–4 to the end. Make sure that the stitches on both pieces are aligning vertically, keeping in mind that there won’t be a four-stitch offset of the honeycomb pattern where the front and back of the cowl meet.
Here are five of the next six stitches in a contrast-color section grafted.
You’ll be repeating eight grafted stitches: two slip stitches and six stitches that join contrast-color sections on the front and back.
Don’t forget the slip stitches on the front piece. They tend to drop down below the level of the contrast color stitches. Just follow the path of the waste yarn.
The slip stitches on the cast-on row are very elongated and lay on top of the surface of the knitting without being connected to other stitches, so take care when grafting these stitches. Just make sure to keep the waste yarn in the slip stitches until they are grafted. Here Step 3 is being worked in the first stitch of a pair of slip stitches. Notice how long and vertical the slip stitches are.
Here Step 3 is being worked in the second stitch of the pair.
And here is another completed pair of slip stitches.
Steps 1–4 are repeated to the end. After grafting the last stitch, break the grafting yarn and weave in the remaining ends by taking each tail to the opposite side of the gap, then running the tail to the inside of the tube.