The Cowl That Took a Year to Make

It took me a year, but I finally did it. I learned how to crochet. It’s been twelve months now that I’ve weekly been immersed in yarn, needles, patterns and talk of gauge size working here at Knit Picks. As an art director and a staunch fan of the Industrial Revolution, though, I never saw the need to create my own garments and accessories. Whatever would the machines do with their time if I did?

But then Billow came into my life.  Waltzing in with cloudy softness that swept away my morbid aversion of scratchiness, the dreamy cotton yarn seemed to have been created just to be wrapped around my neck. When it’s the right one, you just know.

Billow Yarn
So I plunged in, with the patient guidance of a more skilled coworker.  Confident that my continuous double crochet granny stitches were the paragon of crocheterly perfection, I happily watched the sky blue cowl grow beneath my eager fingers, like a gardener admires his blossoming garden. This garden, however, turned out to be too small. A few rows in, I snapped out of the ‘just-one-more-stitch’ stupor and recalled that I have a prodigiously-sized head, which would never fit into the humble size of my cowl. I took a picture of it next to a 1 cup measuring cup for scale.
Billow to scale
I blame my coworker for not being with me on the weekend.  If she had just been at my beck and call during her time off, this travesty would have never happened! Slightly deflated that my first project wasn’t perfect, I ripped it out and started over. This time, I bypassed the circular pattern and just did simple single crochet rows. I’m not going to lie: at times the cowl looked like it was seasick. It proved far more difficult to keep a straight edge than I imagined. At one point it was so lopsided I cheated (or ‘utilized creative improvisation’) and went halfway back along one side with slip stitches to even it out.
If you examine it closely, it’s a bit of a hot mess. But no one should be that close to my neck, so I am not too worried about it. The color is captivating, the texture unbelievably soothing and provides an easy opportunity to boast about my crafty skills.
Cowl close up
Before the cowl was even close to being finished, I was already scheming about my next project. The signs of addiction are obvious: an incessant need to just get one more row in, the rapacious hoarding of any free yarn that is bold enough to cross my path, and the visceral awareness that all time not spent crocheting is wasted. Yes, I plan to be crocheting as I walk down the wedding aisle, deliver my first child and while receiving my Nobel Peace Prize for crocheting enough blankets to cover every cold child on the planet.
Billow Cowl

What was your first crochet or knit project? Was it an easy
experience, or one marked with a lot of back tracking?