Designing Lessons

When I saw this yarn at my LYS, I have to admit that there were some grand design plans floating around in my head. Maybe a cowl with a cool pattern that would show off the pretty colors. How hard could it be really, since the yarn was so gorgeous to begin with. So I pulled out all of my stitch dictionaries, narrowed down some possible patterns and started swatching.

After about eight attempts to find the perfect stitch pattern, my yarn was looking like something the dog dragged in. (lesson one: when attempting to design something, try to overcome any stingy tendencies and buy extra yarn to experiment with)

Every stitch pattern that I tried, from lace to cables to slip stitches, all seemed to be competing with the yarn. (lesson two: never fight with the yarn since it will always win)

So at this point, I was ready to throw in the towel. I actually considered casting on for a simple stockinette stitch cowl and calling it a day. (lesson three: everything looks better after a good night's sleep and fresh eyes)

When I came back to the cowl the next morning, I noticed how pretty the yarn looked in reverse stockinette stitch. Here I was trying all sorts of fancy patterns when the yarn clearly was calling out for a simple one. So with that in mind, I had another look through the stitch dictionaries and finally settled on one called the purl ridge which was just a combination of stockinette and reverse stockinette. I decided to skip the swatch and just go for it. And here is what I ended up with:

The finished cowl was everything that I had hoped for.

Drapey, great length, versatile.

It even had a name, the Cherry Blossom Cowl, inspired by a comment from Shannon. But regrettably, there was just one small problem. (lesson four: before congratulating yourself on a new design, search ravelry to see if someone had already beaten you to it)

So if you are interested in knitting a similar cowl, might I suggest this pattern?

(as always, check out FO Friday with Tami's Amis for a variety of knit and crochet fabulousness)


  1. Anonymous4/06/2012

    Oh my, you learned a lot! It's gorgeous! And yes, I think every possible pattern has probably been done by now. I'm no designer.

  2. You should still congratulate yourself!!!! You did this without a pattern and it totally rocks!!!!

  3. Your cowl is oh so pretty! It doesn't matter if someone else has a similar pattern, the fact that you created it yourself is something to be celebrated.

  4. great job, it is still beautiful and unique because YOU did it!

  5. Beautiful work!
    I love the look and the length.
    It's always great when you can step away from a project and take a fresh look.

  6. It looks great. The lessons are all important ones to learn (and re-learn, as the case may be!).

  7. Yikes, I'm sorry that you and the (lovely) yarn had to fight a bit before you reached a mutually satisfactory cowl solution (...cowlution?), but it was definitely worth a bit of fight! The texture of this looks amazing, and really works with the yarn beautifully. How awesome to have designed this yourself and now get to enjoy its awesomeness on that level, as well as the ordinary "this is great yarn!" and "I made this!" levels.

  8. You're absolutely right, a busy yarn will always have its way - simple is usually best when you run into that challenge. I invented an iPhone app the other day only to find that someone else had already done it. Maybe next week I'll have the million dollar idea?

  9. Frustrating as it was, your experience was a valuable one, I think. We've all fought with yarn, I'm sure, and rarely have ever won! Love your cowl.

  10. Anonymous4/08/2012

    I still think it looks great, and it's a really good starting off point for designing.

  11. I love that. Simple but attractive

  12. That cowl looks super warm and cozy! I think it highlights that yarn perfectly!


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