I finished the Chunky Color Block Cowl yesterday. It's so soft, and squishy. LOVE!
The pattern is super easy (though I will comment below - near the end of this post - on how I made it work better, I think), and this yarn is pretty scrumptious to crochet with. That said...I did notice that it splits when crocheting with it. It didn't keep me from enjoying crocheting this cowl, but the yarn did split. A bit. Especially yarn that I ripped out and crocheted with a second time.
That said, I'm super pleased with how this turned out and I will probably choose to use this yarn in other projects. The yarn is Lion's Pride Woolspun and I chose the colors Cranberry, Sparkle Mix, and Oxford Grey.
In case it isn't obvious, or anyone is wondering, the Sparkle Mix doesn't sparkle. It's totally matte and is a pretty mix of gray, black, a sort of coral, a bit of bright red, and cranberry.
I used a size P hook to get these scrumptiously large stitches:
The above picture shows off the pretty slant to these stitches. This is the Herringone Half Double Crochet stitch (HHDC). I'd never done it before, but the instructions at the link (in the very first line of this post) are clear and simple. It really is a lovely stitch - for anything from scarves to blankets. I'm so glad to have it in my personal "stitch bank".
And if all of that isn't enough, the thing that really makes me in love with this cowl is that when crocheted in a color block style, it's like having two cowls in one - it can be worn with either color at the top - changing the look, depending on which color looks best with your complexion, outfit or mood, even.
I love it both ways.
If you like the look of chunky cowls or know someone who does, this is an easy project, and would make a nice gift. Once I knew exactly what I was doing, I'd say this took no more than two hours to whip up. You could make one (or more) of these on Christmas Eve, for giving in the morning! Not that I've ever... you know... done anything like that myself... Ahem
As I wrap up here, I'll offer a few notes for working the pattern for the benefit of anyone who might be interested:
When crocheting in the round, a common problem that occurs is a slanted seam. I struggled with this at first, but after searching online for solutions I came up with my own method of conquering this (with this cowl, anyway). Here's how:
- First of all, each color segment is seven rows tall. While crocheting six rows of the same color I simply crocheted round and round, aware of where a new round began, but not doing anything differently when I began a new round (except for rows that involved color changes - as explained below). I just kept count of the rows - which is easy to do since the rows are obvious and very easy to count, but if you fear you'll lose track just use a stitch marker.
- When I began the last round (7th row) of each color, I joined the new round to the previous round with a slip stitch, chained one, then a HHDC in the same stitch I had just slip-stitched into (this is the typical way to join a round when crocheting in the round), and then I crocheted around as normal, joining the new color at the end of that round in the chain one (or maybe the top of the HHDC stitch - sorry, I can't remember which, but it's easy enough to figure out when you're there). Then I simply crocheted 'round and 'round until I was ready to begin the seventh row of that color. And I repeated the process explained in this paragraph with the third color. When I made the final row I was going to crochet I also did this so that I'd have a raised stitch to join into at the end, thus making a smooth edge.
- Doing the above created a raised stitch in the last row of a color where, when I was ending the row, I could easily add the new color; but by otherwise crocheting in the round without joining rows with a slip stitch and chaining up one every new row, I prevented the creation of any noticeable seam through the whole of the scarf. Another tip I found online is to really tighten up that slip stitch and the chain one when beginning a row that way (again, this is the traditional way to crochet in the round). Making those tight stitches isn't very easy to do with a chunky yarn and a fat crochet hook, but when I needed to make them I made those two stitches (the slip stitch and single crochet) as tightly as I could.
And that's it! When I was done I had a three-colored cowl that looked essentially seamless. And now I can't wait to give this cowl pattern another go - either in more chunky yarn, or I might give a worsted weight yarn a go the next time.
And now, if you'd like to see what other crocheters and knitters are working on check out this week's Year of Projects Thread on Ravelry. If those links don't work for you, you can join Ravelry today. It's free and it's easy! And it's the best database resource around for yarnies all over the world.