Fringe is in and here to stay, it seems! I'll jump on that bandwagon, I love the stuff. Being magnetically attracted to anything with fringe these days, I snatched up an opportunity to test Jane Richmond's new pattern, Arica Cowl. (and now I am thinking of magnetic fringe, hmm!)
This pattern has a stellar WOW:WORK factor. It's a very simple ribbed strip knit with bulky yarn and big needles, so it only takes a day or two to make. The front fans out by a clever use of lace rib attached to a firmer section of regular rib to go around the neck. Blocking makes all the difference, don't omit this step!
The summer has started, so I blocked this beauty in the sun, shortening the whole process. I pinned out and sprayed with Eucalan-spiked water, which is my classic way of blocking.
I decided to use Rowan Fazed Tweed for the cowl, even though I was on the low side with yardage (152 yards for 2 skeins). This is a fascinating yarn, and I was happy to finally try it out. It was released for the 2014 A/W season, and is a mix of 72% Wool, 22% Alpaca, 6% Nylon. The interesting part is that the thick, almost felted portion of speckled wool/alpaca is encased in a fishnet of nylon!
This shade is Holly, and I found the net was a little dark for my taste. The other shades do have different color netting, but it does tend to be high-contrast with the white backgrounds that are in each shade. I like this netting idea though, I am going to go out on a limb and say that it 1) reduces scratchiness and 2) reduces pilling. Only time will tell, but this stuff feels great against my neck! It really is a showpiece yarn that is perfect for a cowl like this.
But I did run out of yarn for the fringe. You need 72 pieces over a foot long, you see! If you'd like to make the Arica Cowl out of 2 balls of Fazed Tweed, you have two options. Shorten the fringe, or dive into your stash and find a complementary color!
That's what I did, and I think it was a blessing in disguise. Beware fringe in purely Fazed Tweed -- it sticks to itself very easily, almost like velcro! I avoided potential dreading by choosing stash that has a viscose/nylon feel, so it all ends up very silky. I also like the idea of having thinner pieces of fringe with the thick. Makes it feel less weighty.
The other thing I love about this cowl is the fit. I do NOT like long ring cowls that let the wind in, I like my cowls firm and close. This is usually hard to achieve because you have to pull it over your head -- but I think the construction of this cowl lends itself well to being able to go over the head and protect you excellently. BE CAREFUL though, to not sew your hole to small, you can get to a point where it doesn't go over your head! <=== GUILTY. :)
See my Fringe Benefits on Ravelry
AND NOW FOR SOME HOUSE UPDATES!
The house is at a standstill, but the garden certainly is not! Very exciting. A lot of you were right about the shoots coming up in previous posts. If you know more, please leave a comment! I've numbered the pictures for you.
Here are the current "knowns" and "guesses": ETA: Now with updates from all your great input, thanks!
1. ME: Azalea YOU: small-leaf rhododendron
2) Lily of the Valley
3) Iris? YOU: Yes, silly, it is an iris. ETA: It opened, it's a beautiful white one!
4) Peonies, complete with ants!
5) A black cherry tree
7) I want to say Johnny Jump Ups but I'm pretty sure I'm wrong. YOU: Violets
8) ME: Lavender? There is a eucalyptus smell to the branches and leaves. YOU: Number one answer was Russian Sage, but I also got mugwort, achillea (yarrow).
9) Day lily. YOU: Spiderwort (this looks spot on in Google, can't wait to see the color of flowers)
10) Tiger Lily? YOU: Sisyrinchium.
11) Many think this is hydrangea. There is zero activity going on in the sticks, but something down below. YOU: overwhelmingly hydrangea, but 50% think I should cut the stalks. Now a master gardener friends says cut stalks to first leaf bud! Will do.
AND from here I am clueless:
12) Smells minty. YOU: cat mint, apple mint, spearmint
13) Looks similar but does not smell minty. YOU: oregano. yeah, it smells herby, but doesn't have the same coloring or Mega Oregano smell as the oregano plant I got from the store.
14) This stuff is everywhere - I mean weed-like everywhere... There are sticks pointing out of this one, but not all (because I think they spread). YOU: black-eyed susan (i.e. rudbeckia), echinacea, aster, purple cornflower, Centaurea (cornflower).
15) This stuff, too... is it a weed? YOU: Wild geranium, fine-leafed geranium, potentilla, anemones, wormwood, sweet woodruff.
16) Purple flowers here, but striped like candy in another part of the property. YOU: creeping phlox.
17) Huge leaves, under another planting, big thick trunks. The snail loves it, not sure if I do! YOU: hollyhock, burdock.
18) Quite a few of these, they have flower buds. YOU: Aquilegia/columbine/grannie's bonnets. One is opening very soon!
19) Unknown bush/tree!
20) Ornamental stuff. YOU: top is Artemisia silver mound, bottom is artemisia, lamium, dusty miller
That will do for now. :) I'd love for you to leave your thoughts in a comment. I do realize that people have trouble doing that on my blog though, so you can always scroll to the bottom left of the page and send me a direct message. Coming up next, a sweater in a linen/silk mix, a treatise on CALs and a funky cardigan!
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