I had no intention of knitting the Duotone Cowl, a free pattern by Orange Flower Yarn, that is until I saw Helen from Giddy Knits mention in her Ravelry group that she was going to knit one for the Summer Stripe Along CAL. Two colours are worked in a series of stripes which switch in size half way around the cowl. As it's knit in stocking stitch, I thought it would make a nice easy project for when I'm watching TV. As it happens, there were a couple of things which challenged me in this pattern.
Firstly, a crochet provisional cast on is required, something I haven't done before, but it was easy enough with the help of a You Tube tutorial. It's so easy these days to learn something new, it seems there's a tutorial for almost everything on You Tube. A provisional cast on is a removable crochet chain which allows you to keep your stitches live so that once the chain is removed, the cast on stitches may still be worked. The waste yarn is removed when the knitting is complete, ready to graft the ends together. This isn't a very good photo but you can see that I used an orange yarn when I worked the provisional cast on and this is the crochet chain which is ultimately removed.
The second thing which was challenging was the grafting of both ends. The cowl is knit in the round, like a long tube, and then kitchener stitch is used at the end, after the waste yarn is removed from the provisional cast on, to graft the two ends together. The kitchener stitch was easy enough, I use it on the toes of the socks I knit, the thing which was rather tricky was manipulating two circular needles in a position to get started. I managed it in the end though and I must say that the result is far more pleasing than it would have been had I had to sew the ends together.
When I came to start this project, I decided I would use yarn I already had in my stash. The only DK yarn I had was Stylecraft Special DK so I thought I'd go with that. I've got a purple windcheater jacket which I use when I walk Archie so I went with wisteria and silver colourways, I think these will go well with my jacket and being knit in acrylic yarn, will be easy enough to throw in the washing machine when dirty.
I followed the pattern exactly and I like the length it's turned out to be, however, it would be simple to make the cowl longer, so that it can wrap around your neck a couple of times, should you so wish.
I'm really pleased how it's turned out, the stripe effect works very well. I'm all set now for the cold weather when it arrives, though I'm hoping we get a scorching hot summer first.