WIP Wednesday: Sarah’s Firehouse Alley Cowl

When I saw the Firehouse Alley Cowl in knit.wear Fall/Winter 2016, I swooned. Yes, swooned—a word I never thought I would use sans sarcasm. And even though I’ve been working on it for over two months, I still love knitting it.

This fingering-weight, lace-patterned cowl by Bonnie Sennott gave me everything I wanted in a project: easy to knit, repetitive enough that I don’t need to constantly have my nose in a pattern, and perfect for watching Netflix and attending meetings. The alternating lace and subtle texture make this pattern easy to remember but fun to knit. I like to alternate my time between this cowl and harder patterns that are smaller (and faster to complete). It is perfect for spring and fall and would be beautiful in any color—you could even experiment with a tonal or variegated yarn.

There were three obstacles I had to overcome to start this project. The first was that I had no idea how to read a chart, the second was that I had never done a provisional cast-on, and the third was the length—once completed, the cowl will be an inch taller than me! And I’m not incredibly short; I’m 5’4”!

But I shook off the time commitment and dove head-first into messing up a crochet chain provisional cast-on until Laura Hulslander, a project editor at Interweave and a great cubicle neighbor, suggested I use the Chain-Edge cast-on. I then found this VIDEO TUTORIAL inspired by Knits Winter 2015!!!!

Away I went . . . until I was thwarted by the chart that comes into play immediately following the first row of knit stitch. I couldn’t quite get the hang of reading the wrong sides backwards, so I made myself a hand-drawn chart to help.

After a few repeats I had the thing memorized, and it’s been a breeze to knit ever since. I would recommend this project to just about anyone, but I would like to make a suggestion. You should pick a yarn you really like working with, one you love to feel slip through your fingers and hold, because you will be working on this project for a while. This cowl doesn’t have to break your budget,—it only requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn for a total of 800–900 yards.

I am using Cloudborn Highland Fingering, which has 494 yards per skein. It has a lovely squish to it—despite being a fingering weight—and is stretchy enough to easily complete the p3 in the lace pattern chart. (Pro tip: It is currently on sale for $6.50 here.)

I don’t know how long it will take to complete this cowl, but I’m enjoying the knitting journey. I am a little wary about the grafting, but I have Joni Coniglio, resident grafting master and Interweave senior project editor, to help me.

I know I’ve been bragging this whole post about how great it is to have these amazing project editors and knitters on hand to teach me, but you can learn from them, too. If you’re new to lace grafting or just need a refresher, check out Joni’s video grafting series, The Definitive Guide to Grafting. This video grafting guide is so informative and thorough that you’ll never need to buy another book or bother with other articles again. Joni covers grafting for many different stitches, including stockinette, reverse stockinette, garter stitch, ribbing, cables, and lace.

Let me know if you decide to make the Firehouse Alley Cowl or anything from knit.wear Fall/Winter 2016 by sharing a photo with us on Instagram @InterweaveCraft.

Happy Knitting,

Assistant Editor, Interweave Knits

More on Grafting from Interweave


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