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27 Comments
  • Love your knitting style! I am becoming a bit more creative in my knitting techniques, and love the results!

    • Well Said! Thanks for this article:) !!

      • I recently made a barely there recipe cowl. I made the top smaller than the bottom as an experiment. When I put it on it becomes three layers… think 3 concentric circles! It is fabulous! I think I will get MaryJane’s book off the shelf and do some playing !
        Kate

  • Awesome cowl! It looks amazing on you 😉 Bises!

  • Hats off to you! Free styling makes us happy!

  • Love it, too! Ran into a customer at a YSL once who was wearing the most perfectly draped cowl . Each of three folds was equally wider by about a 3/4 inch than the one above, thus neatly splaying out gently from neck to shoulder. Very flattering. I asked her how she did it and her answer was annoyingly vague. She just started out with 100 stitches and ended up with 150. I got the feeling she thought it was obvious but I, a new knitter, hadn’t a clue. So Thank You, Jillian, for sharing your process and also perhaps indicating that a certain amount is instinct born from experience and thus not necessarily worth charting for a one-off item.

  • I spent a day last week knitting with my daughter, and she’s just like you. I taught her to knit years ago but she has moved way beyond me in skill and creativity. She fiddles with patterns and makes them her own or makes them up like you did with the cowl. Your pictures and explanations are so clear that I think even I could do that and am excited to move on and create my own cowls and scarfs and…… more!

  • Even when my original intention is to follow the pattern, I end up freestyling at some point, and yes: i cook that way too. I think its a practice that should be encouraged, and I hope you can go farther with that in future columns.

  • You are my kind of knitter! I feel that patterns are only suggestions and that I should be free to improvise as the spirit moves me. Thanks for sharing your “suggestions”.

  • I love your cowl, and also the fact that it has one set of triangles that are only 3 rows high rather than 4.
    As a child I learned that the Navajo made everything with a mistake to let the evil spirits out. Let me tell you, there are no evil spirits in my hand knits!

    • Bravo for noticing the 3 row triangles. Very observant. I cook freestyle but I knit strictly by the pattern. Strange. Im generally very creative but I’m always worried about fit.

      • Check out the newest book from the New York Times. Each ‘recipe’ is a list of ingredient suggestions, nothing else.

    • Coodos for noticing the 3’s.

  • I read through your post thinking, “I’ve made some cowls from a pattern that are just like this” – but it turns out I’m wrong – similar triangles, very different cowls. For anyone who is interested, it’s this one: https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/triangle-loop

    Love your version, and the playful way you knit it.

  • In the Time Before Knitting (BKN) someone had to break the rules. Thanks for your creative and innovative thinking!

  • Awesome! Inspiring post, nice cowl, and thank you for leaving the details on your mug, because you KNOW we all want to know.

  • I love this. Thank you

  • The part where you change your gauge on purpose by changing your knitting style totally blows my mind. I feel like a Higher Power is controlling my gauge–it has nothing to do with me!

    • I used my full legal name in case you thought I was some other Kay Gardiner

  • I love this cowl— such a simple but lovely design.

    But I think the Freia minikin is Woodsman, not Maple— Maple is brown/red/orange, no blue or green at all.

  • Love your method. Although not an experienced knitter/crocheter, I find myself changing just by a bit EVERYTHING I do. Just take the meat of something and add and subtract a bit to suit either my taste or the yarn. I agree it can be a bit like cooking – and doesn’t always quite work out how you think, but sometimes – Yum!

  • Thanks for a timely article! I finished a pair of mittens and decided to knit a cowl to match. . .should have swatched for gauge purposes as well as to check the design. Didn’t swatch. Just wanted to get into the knitting. . . knew this was the wrong choice and your article backs up what I figured out/began to question . . I’m glad I’m only a couple of rows into it. I’ll rip this out and do a proper swatch to test both my gauge and to ensure the design will work. Thanks again!

  • Yes, I love your knitting style.

  • Thank you for instructions that do not intmidate a senior left handed knitter who has an intermediate skill set knitting and spinning. Your book is VERY helpful.

  • I remember you talking about making a marled sweater with Freia Minikins and Felted Tweed . Do you have any more on that? It sounds intriguing to me.
    I follow just about everything you do because I love your spirit of fun!