Zig Zag Pattern for My Gift Cowls Posted on 23 Nov 20:48

Ilga's Zig Zag Cowl

Some of you might be thinking of Christmas gifts you can knit up in a hurry. This is my “go-to” pattern if I need a quick item for a gift. For me, it’s about 8 to 9 hours from start through blocking, depending, of course on how long I end up making it. It works well with handspun or commerical yarn. This picture is of a cowl made in Crystal Palace Mendocino yarn (2 balls) that is 13 inches tall and (folded) 15 inches across.

I call this stitch pattern Zig Zag (though, there are lots of other things called zig zag.). This is a great stitch pattern for multicolored yarns as it shows off the color shifts and the color variation enhances the stitches rather than obscures them. This works very well with handspun yarns as well.

The basic stitch pattern is:  I I I I ^ I I I I 0 I 0 

Key:  I = knit stitch, 0 = yarn over and ^ = Center Double Decrease

It’s 12 stitches to a repeat, so just repeat this as many times as you want for the size you want. The one shown is 13 repeats using a worsted weight yarn (4 to 5 stitches per inch).  I’ve used some sock yarns (7 to 8 stitches per inch) and made up to 18 repeats. It all depends on how slouchy you like your cowls.

Each pattern row is followed by a knit row, if you are knitting in the round.  OR, if you want to make a scarf that is flat, each non-pattern row is purled.  If you are working  in the round, as in a cowl, you do NOT need to balance the pattern. If you are knitting flat, as in a scarf, then you do.

You can also easily change the number of knit stitches in the blocks if it looks better with your yarn. For finer yarns, I’ve used SIX, for example:  IIIIII^IIIIII 0I0 

See what looks best with your yarn. Caveat: I do find that THREE is too small to show off the pattern as well, but that’s just my opinion. Also, this is an easy pattern to fix if your count goes off. This happens especially if you start and stop your rounds on the exact same stitch. I’m lazy about using stitch markers and just watch when the end of the row comes into view. It’s an easy fix, so I don’t do a lot of ‘tinking.’ Just make a stitch (knit into the stitch BELOW the one you just knit) if you are missing one. Do this just next to the CDD. If you have an extra stitch, just do a ‘knit two together’ next to the CDD.  

NOTE:  This pattern really does want to curl, so add a few garter rows at the beginning (first few rows) and end (last few rows). The zig-zag happens automatically. When you block it, just follow those zigs and zags and they hold very well.

Cynthia modeling the cowl.

How to make a Center Double Decrease:

Learning Something Every Day Posted on 23 Aug 19:28

We’ve had a festive week! Mike’s mother (who lives here at Edgewood Garden) was 96 years old last Thursday. To help celebrate, his sister, Bea, and her daughters (lovely 27 year old twins) were here for a few days, so I have been a bit lax about my fiber endeavors. They just left and I have finished the dishes and Mike is listing yarns and braids in the shop, so I thought I might write a little bit here.

I knit a scarf for Bea which I gave to her on Wednesday when she arrived. In the process of making it, I discovered something interesting. I had dyed some Mulberry silk 50% NZ wool 50% yarn in denim blue and grey. After a few samples with the yarn, it revealed that it was very slippery on the needles. I decided on wooden ones to help with that. It’s a basic large leaf pattern, so not challenging, but with Mike and Jeanne’s recent dental appointments, it was a good waiting room project. Near the end of the scarf last week, I snapped the tip off of one of the wooden needles. I grabbed another pair of No. 2 needles, this time, coated aluminum to finish the last foot or so of the scarf. The odd thing was that I ended up knitting much more loosely on the metal needles than I had with the wooden ones. Curious. Fortunately, the difference was pretty well hidden by the blocking of the scarf.



Until last week, I had never changed needle material during a knitting project, so it was a revelation to me that I knit so differently on wood and metal. It turns out that the metal needles encouraged me to knit even looser than I usually knit. Learn something every day!