While I love to travel to see new people and new places, I think I really love to see new beads and new yarn. How many times have I dragged my whole family off the beaten path and down some rabbit hole in search of a shell shack that (I heard, or at least I read online) sells hand carved shell beads? Just to find that the townspeople have never heard of such a shell shack?! More than I care to admit.
But usually finding some new art supplies is much easier than that. Thanks to Google and Yelp I can find a yarn shop anywhere
AND verify that it really exists. When visiting the fam in central Wisconsin, I always drag my mom to the yarn shop in Verona: The Sow’s Ear. This shop is a delightful little place with a well-curated collection of main line lux yarns as well as indigenous, home-grown Wisconsin yarn, too. (Wisconsin is such a proud, quirky state. Whenever I see a selection of Wisconsin’s farm-raised finest, I think of the Beer Pride T-shirt my friend Trent bought: “Drink Wisconsinbly.” Makes me laugh every time.)
But back to The Sow’s Ear. This place as a yarn shop is perfect, but making it even better is the coffee shop plunked right in the middle of the place. Glory! When I first visited I asked with a wince, “Now, can I bring my coffee around yarn shopping?” Yes, I could, and she didn’t make me feel silly for asking. Yarn + Coffee, now that’s a sexy-hot couple. And ambiance is important to me, so the smells and coziness of a coffee shop make the yarn shopping at The Sow’s Ear a really fabulous experience.
The last time I shopped at The Sow’s Ear I picked a pretty skein of tonal Misti Alpaca. It was just too soft and citron to pass up. But after years of scouring and supporting LYSs all over, I have brought home a lot of lux fiber foundlings like this one and I never know what to do with them! So I designed a simple lace cowl pattern that would work with every 100 g. skein I’ve ever taken in.
Enjoy this free pattern and support your local yarn shop (or somebody else’s)!
Tuscany Lace Cowl
Yarn: Misti Alpaca (50% baby alpaca, 50% merino; 218 yards [200 meters] / 100 grams): # TW42, 1 skein
Needles: size 8 US circular needles
Gauge: 12 sts = 4” (in St st.)
Size: one size fits all.
Finished dimensions: 56” long around, 6” wide
Lace Pattern (over 14 sts.)
Row 1: knit
Row 2: k3, * yo, k1, (sl1, k2tog, psso), k1, yo, k3, yo, (sl1, k2tog, psso), yo. Repeat from *.
Row 3: knit
Row 4: k4, * yo, (sl1, k2tog, psso), yo. Repeat from *.
Join to knit in round.
Row 1: knit
Row 2: purl
Row 3: knit
Rows 4-44: Knit Lace Pattern (pattern above) ten times.
Row 45: knit
Row 46: purl
Row 47: knit
BO. Weave in ends. Block.
I like this pattern because it’s perfect project to use that luscious skein of yarn that you picked up at the yarn shop. 100 grams, easy, but also a flexible enough pattern so you can change up the number of rows according to your own tension.
Lately I’ve been using a new (new to me!) bind technique off that allows a little more “give” in the BO edge, to match a looser CO edge. It’s simple: First k1 and place stitch back on left needle. Then *k2tog through the back loop and place stitch back on left needle. Repeat from * until there are no stitches remaining. Nice bind off for your knitting bag of tricks!
Anne Potter 2015. Pattern is intended for personal use only.