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Dear Kay,
Well, here we are–into the Mayan apocalypse, over the fiscal cliff, right on into a brand-new year of handknits and whatnot. We are not going to talk about guns today. Anybody who wants to talk about guns can go find one of the many, many websites where you can rattle on all day about them.
Hope everyone had a pleasant New Year’s Eve. We laid low last night, with me dragging down the frivolity level 100% due to the flu. At this point I feel like I’m under house arrest. I don’t know what all these shoes are for. I sit at the window with the housecats and stare at the birds. It was sunny the other day, and I had to draw the curtains, it was so bright.
Just about the only thing I have accomplished, shockingly, is knitting. I can knit through a mental brownout, it turns out. Let’s go to the videotape. Ordinarily I would give you a loving rundown of every impression and thought about these cowls, but I’m on the tail end of my Dayquil so I’ll just go until I burn out.
First of all, the thing to notice here is that these are ALL COWLS. The mania started, as manias do, with a Honey Cowl. It was for my friend Frannie’s birthday. The minute I finished that one, I momentumed right into another one to use up the leftover Malabrigo that I’d used for Frannie’s.
Shade: Aguas or Iguana or whatever.
It’s a tapas-sized cowl. A full Honey Cowl is basically a blanket, when you get right down to it. It’s housing.
When the Malabrigo ran out, I went straight for Belinda Boaden’s London Cowling, which had a nice texture to it and also some MOSS STITCH edging, which I’m always a sucker for.
This used the Hiwaseee Creek Dyeworks yarn I scored in Hot Springs with you. Yarn name was Winter Sky or Dank Glimmer of Hope or some such name for a gray yarn with dim pale blues and greens in there.
(JIMINY WE HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT HOT SPRINGS. What a fabbyfantastic trip that was to the Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza. I haven’t even unpacked my bag from that trip, literally and philosophically. Those knitters gave me a whole new love of knitting. They reminded me that knitting is a simple thing, and the best thing in almost any situation, and certainly a reasonable excuse to ditch life two weeks before Christmas. It was the highlight of my knitting year, talking with all those yarnmakers and knitters and yarn shop evangelists.)
At certain points in my cowling, I felt tremendous tenderness and love for the designers of the cowl patterns. Oh, BELINDA. Your London Cowling is so textured. So mercifully straightforward.
Hubbo instantly claimed it for his own. That never happens.
Next up was a trip into the mind of Amy Christoffers, a designer whose Savory Knitting is the website I’ll visit whenever I’m looking for a classic pattern with brainy twists. Say, for example, another cowl pattern.
Amy, of course, delivered with THREE cowl patterns, Homard Cowls Collection. (She is having a 25% off New Year’s sale TODAY, I just noticed. All her patterns are gorgeous.)
I went straight to Cowl à la Provençale (AMY YOUR DIACRITICAL MARKS WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME).
cowl a la russe.jpg
I know you will recognize this yarn as the fluffy product of Henrietta, the sadly departed alpaca owned by the neighbor of Dr. Mel, everybody’s favorite Maine vet/knitter/utilikilter.
Henrietta lives on, people, in the form of this feather-and-fan cowl.
I veered from that directly into Amy’s next diacritically challenging pattern, Cowl à l’Americaine.
cowl a l'americaine.JPG
This yarn is unspeakably wonderful. It’s Lost City Knits, High Country DK. (Another Hot Springs acquisition. The nicest folks you’ll ever meet.) It’s superwash but very squishy and lush. The shade is Potbelly Stove or Pellet Stove or Stovetop Dressing or whatever. Here’s Chris’s story of his pot-bellied stove. Yarnmakers are good at telling the stories of their yarns.)
Gray yarn is my favorite yarn, and this shifty gray makes it look like it’s shining.
Or maybe that’s just the Dayquil talking.
At any rate, the weird thing about this stitch pattern is that it’s basically a 4 x 2 rib that shifts every four rows. But it looks like a sort of cable stitch. Or something. I love it. And everybody. The world is a beautiful place. Go look at these Hubble space telescope pictures if you want to think about how gorgeous and immense the universe is.
I can’t believe I’ve lasted this long. Thank you for your everlovin’ patience.


  • This is the best post ever, coming after my own week of DayQuil, NightSweats and other assorted viral ick. Great cowl inspiration, and happy healing in 2013!

  • I love them ALL! Cowls are so much easier to wear than scarves…no willful little ends to deal with 🙂

  • Oh Lordy I am right there with you! I had the sick stomach, swimmy head, and all! I began ailing on the day after Christmas, it was horrible, and I’m blaming the girl at work who threw up all over the place the Friday before Christmas Eve! Last night the fever broke and I woke up drenched in sweat and stuck to the sheets, but feeling more like me than I had in days. Anyway, sorry for the T.M.I., just needed to get on the innernets and I am glad to see everyone else is able to “keep calm and carry on” with their knitting…there will always be a Modern Daily Knitting…

  • haaaaapy daaaaapy new year everyone
    do we not feel like silent film heroines
    waiting for a handsome man to save us
    from going over the cliff or to walgreens
    for flu meds
    archy and mehitibal made it thru the storms
    they send you and kay greetings

  • For me, this is the year of the Honey Cowl, because they are the best thing ever and ever, amen.
    Although, the Cowl à l’Americaine looks good too…

  • An amazing aray of cowlery if ever there was one. Happy New Year to the ladies of Modern Daily!

  • You have the flu and you still use words I have to Google?!? I’m in awe….

  • ANN. Those cowls are gorgeous! I am a sucker for a cowl at any time, but right now it’s cold and snowy outside and tomorrow is my birthday, and thanks to this post, I have just gone to Ravelry and given myself the gift of the London Cowling pattern. Time to cast on; I wonder if there’s any yarn around here.
    Feel better soon! Happy New Year to the whole Modern Daily crowd!

  • “Knitting is a simple thing, and the best thing in almost any situation.” Words to take to heart and into the new year! Thanks.
    Your tale of sitting at the window with the cats, with strength enough only to knit, makes me think of a generic 19th century novel heroine: healthy one week, gravely ill the next. Hope you feel better soon!

  • Happy New Year Ann! Thanks for the new inspiration! Feel better soon!

  • Those are lovely!!! I’m a la Americane or whatever. I’m getting me some of that RIGHT NOW! Super lovey

  • why does yours look so different from the one on rav? Denser knit? Smooshier, less drapey yarn? Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Holy moses, those Hubble shots look like jewelry! I want to knit them. I want to hold them. I want to BE them.
    Lovely cowls. I am resisting Honey Cowl-ing until a few of these UFOs are finished. No. Not. Casting. On. A. Cowl. Nooooo. (Pay no attention to the woman in the basement rummaging for needles and that amber alpaca yarn.)

  • Wow, you are fun when you’re trippy! 😉
    Have you seen this site yet?
    Death Valley and Mars might be okay but you may wish to avoid the gondolas until you are unlikely to get queasy.
    Those yarns are, each and every one, lovely. And the knitting ain’t bad either! The last stitch pattern is so appealing I am off now to look it up.
    Onward to recovery!

  • Lovely cowls. Hope you feel better soon.

  • Cowl-mania, love it! Sorry about the circumstances though; feel better.

  • Take care, I hope you recover from the dreaded flu quickly!

  • Take care, I hope you recover from the dreaded flu quickly!

  • Loved both days posts, but strangely on my travels yesterday was unable to reply. Hope you and Clif are better soon and that you never see the embarrassingly long list of cowls in my ravelry favorites!!

  • Ann, you are too cute. I hope you get to feeling better. Tell Frannie I said hi – it has been a long time since I’ve seen her. And get out of the house for pete’s sake, even if it’s just a walk around the block!

  • Hope you feel 100% very soon! I love your posts, your wit, your sense of humor, your interesting perspectives and creativity. 🙂 The cowls are all gorgeous. Thanks for your blog. It brings me smiles, and things to think about and cherish.

  • Meg McG–Re why my Cowl à l’Americaine looks different from the ones on Ravelry? Differences are: 1. I used size 10 needle instead of the specified 9 because I was frankly too damn tired to go find a size 9. It makes the stitches looser than usual with DK yarn, quite a bit less dense than a typical DK fabric. It’s pretty droopy. 2. Not blocked yet. I’m wondering if I want to block this, cuz I’m liking the peculiar cable thing that will probably vanish when I block it.

  • Girls….you are way too funny…time for another knitting book…..or maybe just a humor and saved wits book for everyday living….something to leave out on the coffee table.

  • MWAH! Happy New Year to you too!
    Your cowls are amazing, beautiful! My à l’Americaine looked like that too before blocking and I was very disappointed when the yarn didn’t bounce back quite as much as I’d hoped.
    Might have to cast on again…
    Hope you recover quickly!
    Diacritically yours,

  • Happy New Year, Ann and Kay!

  • Best wishes for the rest of 2013 – in other words, get well soon. And I’m highly impressed that you were able to set up diacritical marks from an American keyboard, even though suffering from the flu. Not to mention that great cowl output! When I have the flu, I can’t even knit or read. Sleep or lie sullenly on the couch, that’s me!

  • aww happy flu-ridden new year! Your feeling-ill posts are 1000% better than most peoples’ in tiptop shape.Especially loving the colorways.
    I am stuck in the cowl cul-de-sac with you. I am not sure how that happened. But may be here for a while (just attempted to talk a bro-in-law into a cowl as his belated xmas pres).

  • I love the Cowl à l’Americaine. It is a great effect. I wish I had thought of it!

  • Gale: The place where you and so many others are “stuck” I think is probably a “Cowl-de-Sac!” : )

  • Happy New Year Kay and Anne. Love the sober conversations along with all the laughs. The best.
    The Queen of the Tea Cosies

  • BEAUTIFUL cowls! I like the cable effect too. Feel better, and happy new year.

  • This post has EVERYTHING, especially hot springs! Oh, what a lovely fistful of cowls to ring in the year. Best wishes for your health, dear Ann!

  • “A bad beginning makes for a good ending.” May it be so. That’s the best I can do, for ending an old year and starting a new one while sick. Hope you are feeling better soon!

  • Lovely stuff! I never thought I would be the cowl type and then made one, the excellent Gap-tastic cowl on Ravelry, then another and am planning to start a third for a friend while all my other projects go begging for love. I can stop anytime I want, I can stop anytime I want, I can…

  • Great projects! Hope you’re feeling better . . .

  • Wow, I thought that last picture was cables, knit on the bias. Very sneaky!

  • I’m so thrilled you had such a good time in Hot Springs! It was really affirming for me, too. And I came home with some of that exact colorway from Hiwassee Creek Dyeworks. Made some mitts, have a tiny bit left and wish I’d bought more. Love all your cowls. I’ve been feeling a cowl jag coming on, too…

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