Monday, November 5, 2012

Show and Tell: PB&J Cowl

Today, our show-and-tell chat is with Lara Neel, who stopped by to see us in June!

Jessie: What inspired you to tackle this project?

Lara: When I saw the Hello Purl batts lined up in a neat little cubby at StevenBe, I thought of my mother immediately. Like my mom, these batts had a lot of interesting elements and a little sparkle, too. So, even though I was just a beginning spinner, I took a chance and brought one home. My mom’s favorite color is purple, so I chose the PB&J batt.

The batt, split up and ready to spin.

Jessie: How long had you been spinning at that time?

Lara: About 3 months! I should have been nervous, I guess, but the batt was made so beautifully, I had no trouble at all. It spun up really easily. I just tore off strips from the batt, predrafted them a little, and spun them. I designed the cowl to knit out of it because I wanted to really show off the yarn, but also make something that wasn’t too boring. I made a cowl and called it the PB&J cowl, after the batt.


Jessie: How did you end up with your design in the Ennea Collective?

Lara: I had been reading The Ennea Collective blog for a little while, and I had emailed them about design submissions. They answered that they liked distributing knitting designs, but they LOVED them if they also included handspun yarn. I had already knit up the cowl, and had written a pattern, so I photographed it and sent them a submission.

I was so excited when they said they wanted to publish the pattern! I think it’s a really fun one that could work in a lot of different yarns, and is easy (but doesn’t look TOO easy).

Well, I think it’s really cute! Can people still buy the pattern?

Lara: Yes. You can buy it from the Ennea Collective or on Ravelry.

Thanks for that, Lara! It’s really lovely work.

We still have a few batts, but, if you don’t have the time or patience to spin, any yarn that knits up at 4 stitches per inch on #10 needles will work for the cowl. You only need about 141 yards (128 meters) of worsted or heavy worsted weight yarn.

Cascade 128 Superwash would work well. It comes in tons of colors, too. Plus, it's machine-washable! You might be able to squeeze a cowl out of just one skein, but it would be safer if you had two skeins.

Malabrigo Rios could work, although your cowl would probably end up being slightly more narrow, because the gauge on it is closer to 4.5 stitches per inch.

Or, you could use three skeins of Freia Ombré Sport, held three strands together. Freia Flux Sport is a multicolored, handpainted, striping yarn of 100% wool. Each ball starts and ends with the same color. The long color changes would probably produce some really fun shifts as you knit the cowl.

For a slightly larger version, you could use Misti Alpaca Chunky or Hand Paint Chunky. You might need two skeins to get a good-sized cowl, but the baby alpaca would be so cushy!

Lara produces a blog and podcast at and you can find her on Ravelry as math4knitters. Her podcast is called Math4Knitters, Crafty Living, and you can get it, for free, on iTunes. All photos in this post are hers.

Want to share your story? Email me at jessie at stevenbe dot com.

Want to buy something you read about here? Call us! 612-259-7525.

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