Donnerstag, 11. Januar 2018

Braid Theory Cowl

For Christmas I wanted to knit a new cowl for my Mum. So I took her to the yarn store and asked her to choose a yarn she liked. She picked a fluffy bulky yarn with a part of mohair, i.e. something far out of yarn comfort zone, because I prefer yarn that's a lot thinner and also yarn that you can frog at least a few times ... and that's difficult with mohair yarn. Plus, the yarn had no color gradient at all, so my usual idea of doing something with short rows wouldn't show up at all.

After only one false start, I came up with the idea of very thick cables that would show up even with this yarn: a cowl that is knitted flat all in k1p1-ribbing. Since it is knitted in ribbing it is completely reverseable. This comfy cowl is also superlong and will fit three times around your neck.


Usually, I'm really bad at inventing names for my patterns. In case of this pattern I was searching the web for inspiration - looking up everything relating to "Zopf" (the German name for cables in knitting). To my delight, I found that there is actually a branch of mathematics that is called Braid Theory which started out as a study of the geometric properties of braids, but then found other fields of application as well.
If you want to know more about Braid Theory, here's the link to the Wikipedia article or here's a link to a paper on the subject "An Introduction to Braid Theory" by Maurice Chiodo.

Creative Commons License
This work by Knitting and so on is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.






Materials
  • 3 skeins (=150 grams) of bulky yarn - I used Lana Grossa Lala Berlin Fluffy (here's the link to the yarn's Ravelry page)
  • 5mm knitting needles
  • a cabling needles
  • scrap yarn and crochet hook for the provisonal CO
  • tapestry needle for grafting and to weave in ends
  • a removable stitch marker to mark RS - a safety pin or some scrap yarn works as well

Gauge and Size
The finished piece measures 23 cm at its widest point - and 170 cm in circumference. Ir fits around my neck three times.
I didn't knit a swatch, but measured on the finished cowl 17 sts in k1p1-ribbing gave 10 cm in width, and about 20 rows (also k1p1-ribbing) gave 10 cm in height.


Techniques and Notation
  • Provisional CO: My favorite method for a provision CO is the crochet provisional CO - it is shown in this Youtube video by New Stitch a Day.
  • Grafting: A technique to get an invisible (knitted) seam. Depending on the pattern (stockinette, garter etc.), different ways of moving the tapestry needle must be used. For k1p1-ribbing, I used the technique described in this blogpost by Sunday Knits.
    A really good series of grafting was written by Joni Coniglio and is available on Interweave - in the 2nd article of the series she explains how to graft ribbing and also explains how to avoid a jog of one half-stitch, e.g. by making sure to pick up the first half-stitch of the provisional CO. 
  • Cabling: A technique to cross one group of stitches over another. In this pattern the following abbreviations will be used.
    • C20F-rib: put the first 10 sts on a cable needle and hold it in front of your piece, knit the following 10 sts from the left-hand needle in k1p1 ribbing, now knit the stitches from the cable needle in k1p1 ribbing
    • C20B-rib: put the first 10 sts on a cable needle and hold it on the back of your knitting, knit the following 10 sts from the left-hand needel in k1p1 ribbing, now knit the stitches from the cable needle in k1p1 ribbing


Instructions

Provisionally CO 40 sts
Setup Row: k all

Row 1 (RS): * k1 p1 repeat from * to end of row
Row 2 (WS): * k1 p1 repeat from * to end of row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for times more
Row 11 (RS): * k1 p1 repeat from * four more times, C20F-rib, * k1 p1 repeat from * to end of row
Row 12 (WS) = Row 2
Row 13 (RS) = Row 1
Row 14 (WS) = Row 2
Repeat rows 13 and 14 three more times
Row 21 (RS): C20B-rib, C20B-rib
Rows 22 - 30 = Rows 12 - 20
Row 31 (RS) = Row 11
Row 32 (WS) = Row 2
Row 33 (RS) = Row 1
Row 34 (WS) = Row 2
Repeat rows 33 and 34 14 more times
Now you've just finished row 60.

Repeat rows 1 to 60 four more times.
Then knit rows 1 to 58.

Put the stitches from the provisional CO on your second needle and graft in ribbing - as follows:

Setup sequence:
  • Front Needle: insert needle purlwise in first sts and leave it
  • Back Needle: insert needle purlwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle knitwise into next stitch and leave it - make sure that the first stitch on the back needle is the half-stitch mentioned above (see Techniques and Notation)
  • Front Needle:  insert needle knitwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle knitwise into next stitch and leave it
  • Back Needle: insert needle knitwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle purlwise into next stitch and leave it

Now repeat the following sequence until you've used up all your stitches
  • Front Needle:  insert needle purlwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle purlwise into next stitch and leave it
  • Back Needle: insert needle purlwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle knitwise into next stitch and leave it
  • Front Needle:  insert needle knitwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle knitwise into next stitch and leave it
  • Back Needle: insert needle knitwise in first sts and slip it from needle, insert needle purlwise into next stitch and leave it

Weave in ends and block gently.


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