Welcome to the October 2014 installment of the Progressive Needles Knit Along sponsored by Skacel Collection! We kick off the Fall knitting season with, Namesake, a delightful cowl that will ward off the autumn chill in style. Simplinatural’s cozy softness and superior stitch definition make it the perfect yarn for our cowl. As always, the KAL is full of new tips and techniques to grow your knitting skills. So get comfy in your favorite knitting chair and let’s work some magic!
Before we begin, here’s a quick overview of how the KAL works:
- A portion of the 4-part mystery pattern is revealed here on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Thursday in October. The weekly pattern, video resources and lots of helpful tips are included in each post. An abbreviated, pattern-only version is included to download.
- All techniques are supported with video instruction at knitpurlhunter.com
- All questions and comments are monitored daily both here and in the Knit Purl Hunter group on Ravelry. It’s like having your own private knitting tutor!
- Projects completed by November 15 are eligible for the monthly prize drawing – first prize is a set of addi Clicks! See skacelknitting.com for all the info.
I’m very excited to introduce you to the Channel Island Cast On as the first step in Namesake. This charming cast on adds a picot-like edge and is the hallmark of sweaters which originated in the middle islands of the English Channel. Today it is used as a handsome foundation for garter stitch and k1, p1 rib. The Channel Island Cast On (CICO) is a bit more finicky than its cousin the Long Tail Cast On – but, so worth the effort. As with all new knitting skills, I recommend that you practice the cast on with large needles using smooth, light colored yarn. I promise that this is the most difficult technique in the cowl. Once the beautiful cast on stitches are nestled on your needles, it will be smooth sailing to the finish.
I have a fabulous new video to walk you through the steps of the CICO, but will provide a brief overview and some helpful tips here. See Channel Island Cast On video.
Like the Long Tail cast on, the stitches are formed from the working yarn and from a tail. The hand set-up is much like the Long Tail cast on with yarn over the forefinger and the thumb. The major difference is that the CICO uses three strands of yarn to form the stitches. One strand is over the forefinger and a double strand of yarn is wound twice around the thumb. This doubled strand of yarn MUST be wound counterclockwise around the thumb for correct execution.
It is very important to note that the Channel Island Cast On produces pairs of stitches. The completion of its steps will place two stitches on the needle. Each stitch in the pair is counted toward the final cast on number.
Begin with a long tail of doubled yarn. (Yarn tail length is addressed below.) Make a slipknot with the doubled yarn and place it on the needle held in the right hand – this is counted as the first two stitches. Mark these two stitches together with a marker for later use. *On the left hand, drape the single working yarn over the forefinger and wind the doubled tail strand counterclockwise around the thumb. Move the needle tip over the forefinger’s single strand and behind it, scooping up the yarn onto the needle – it will look much like a yarn over. Next, bring the needle under the strands on the thumb from bottom to top. Move the needle tip over the single strand on the forefinger and behind it, once again scooping up the yarn. Bring this newest “scoop” down through the strands on the thumb from top to bottom. Release the strands off of the thumb, tightening the resulting stitch under the needle. You have cast on two stitches – the first resembles a yarn over and the second resembles a knot. Take care that the stitches are not cast on too tightly to provide some elasticity.
Repeat the above steps from the * until the desired number of stitches are cast on. When counting the stitches, remember that the double-stranded slipknot is to be counted as two stitches. For Namesake, the cast on stitches are joined in the round to knit our cowl circularly. The knitting is worked with the single strand of yarn coming from the source off the forefinger. The remaining tails are no longer needed and may be woven in. Remove the marker from the doubled slipknot and place it on the right hand needle to serve as the beginning of the round marker. Join the stitches in the round by knitting into each of the two slipknot strands to maintain the required stitch count. See Join in the Round video. As a side note, if a pattern requires an odd number of stitches using the CICO, simply knit the two slipknot strands together reducing the stitch count by 1.
As with the Long Tail cast on method, the CICO requires a lengthy tail but instead with its tail doubled. I demonstrate the tail length calculation at the end of the Channel Island Cast On video for your handy reference, but I provide an overview here.
If you have 3 balls of yarn, a strand from each skein could be used for the cast on. With 2 balls of yarn, work one skein from both the inside and the outside of the skein to yield two strands used in conjunction with a single strand from the second skein. The extra skeins are cut after the cast on and the piece is knit with the single strand from the forefinger’s skein. I find both of these methods fiddly and of no use when knitting from one skein. I prefer to calculate the tail length with some simple math. Place a double slipknot onto the needle and cast on an additional 20 stitches. Carefully remove the 20 stitches and measure the length of the double tail used to form these stitches. This will provide you with the length of doubled yarn needed for each 20 stitches. Round the number of required cast on stitches for your project to the nearest multiple of 20. The doubled tail yarn needed for the complete cast on will be the length of the measured double strand multiplied by the number of multiples of 20 in the final count.
For example, when making the Small size of Namesake, 96 cast on stitches are needed. Let’s say that my measured tail from 20 CICO stitches used 10″ of double yarn. I will round the 96 required cast on stitches to 100 – the nearest multiple of 20. There are 5 multiples of 20 in 100. 5 multiples times 10″ = 50″ of doubled yarn needed for the cast on. For this example, pull out 100″ of yarn (plus a few extra inches to be safe) and double it for the needed 50″ tail length. The pattern is designed with ample yardage so wasting a bit of yarn is not a worry.
As promised, the circumference of the cowl may be adjusted to suit your style. The pattern is written for Small (Medium, Large) for a circumference of 20 (40, 60)” You may adjust this measurement by altering the number of cast on stitches. The cowl uses a multiple of 12 sts with each multiple measuring approximately 2 1/2″ inches wide in the stated gauge.
- Small cowl uses 96 sts divided by the 12-stitch multiple = 8 repeats. 8 repeats multiplied by 2 1/2″ = 20″.
- Medium cowl uses 192 sts divided by the 12-stitch multiple = 16 repeats. 16 repeats multiplied by 2 1/2″ = 40″.
- Large cowl uses 288 sts divided by the 12-stitch multiple = 24 repeats. 24 repeats multiplied by 2 1/2″ = 60″.
To change the circumference, divide the desired circumference by 2 1/2″ (2.5) and round to the nearest whole number. This is the number of repeats needed for your chosen dimension. Multiply the number of repeats by 12 to determine the number of stitches required for your adjusted size.
- Desired circumference is 32″.
- 32 divided by 2.5 = 12.8, rounded to nearest whole number = 13 repeats needed.
- 13 repeats X 12 sts = 156 sts used for this adjusted size.
With the cast on stitches completed, we begin by working garter stitch in the round. It is interesting to note that when knit flat, garter stitch is achieved by knitting every row. In circular knitting, as used here in Rounds 1-4, garter stitch is achieved with alternating knit and purl rounds. I recommend placing a lifeline after these simple rounds to safeguard the precious cast on stitches below. See Lifeline video.
I’m happy to announce that Namesake is a completely reversible cowl! I recommend pinning a marker to the right side (the outside of the tube you are knitting) to avoid confusion. It is so easy to start knitting on the wrong side or in the wrong direction without this handy reminder.
Rounds 5-16 may be worked from the written instructions or from the chart that follows. In a chart for circular knitting, all rounds are read from right to left. Begin the round with the stitches to the right of the bold line. These are known as the edge stitches. Repeat the stitches within the bold lines as many times as is necessary until the number of stitches to the left of the bold lines remain. Work these remaining stitches. If you are new to charts, try decoding the chart using the written instructions to self-check.
Below is a photo of Part One completed and off the needles resting on a lifeline for easy viewing.
I am happy to answer your questions! Feel free to post them here or in the Ravelry group where lots of fellow KALers chat and share photos.
Part 2 will be posted next Thursday, October 9th, and features a unique cable technique.
Until then, happy knitting,
Namesake – Part One
Click here to download printable version
- Simplinatural by HiKoo, 40% baby alpaca/40% fine merino wool/20% mulberry silk, 183 yds/100g. 1 (2, 3) skeins.
- US #8 (5mm) circular needle 16 (24-40)” or size needed to obtain gauge.
- Cable needle
Approximately 18 sts = 4” in stockinette.
Small (1 skein) – 20” circumference. Medium (2 skeins) – 40” circumference. Large (3 skeins) – 60” circumference.
With US #8 circular needles, cast on 96 (192, 288) or desired number of stitches using Channel Island Cast On. See Channel Island Cast On Video
NOTE: If adjusting the stitch count, the number of cast on stitches must be a multiple of 12.
Place marker and join in the round taking care not to twist the stitches. See Join in the Round Video
All stitches are worked in the round.
TIP: We are creating a reversible fabric – pin a marker to the Right Side of the piece to avoid confusion.
Round 1. Knit.
Round 2. Purl.
Round 3. Knit.
Round 4. Purl.
Rounds 5- 16 may be worked from written or charted instructions below.
5. *K6, p6; repeat from * to end of round.
6. P1, * k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p5 instead of p6.
7. P2, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p4 instead of p6.
8. P3, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p3 instead of p6.
9. P4, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p2 instead of p6.
10. P5, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p1 instead of p6.
11. Same as Round 10.
12. P4, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p2 instead of p6.
13. P3, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p3 instead of p6.
14. P2, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p4 instead of p6.
15. P1, *k6, p6; repeat from * ending last repeat p5 instead of p6.
16. *K6, p6; repeat from * to end of round.