This pattern has been a long time coming, so to say I'm excited to finally release it is an understatement. I experimented with elongated stitch a few years ago, which involves a series of drop stitches creating the unique oval texture you see in the body of the shawl. The entire time I was knitting it I kept thinking of watching roly polys (or doodle bugs, everyone has their own name for them) in my back yard as a kid. The crossing and length of the stitches in this pattern reminded me of their little shells, their exoskeletons. Thus, the origin of the name, Exoskeleton. While I chose the name based on an association with the stitch pattern, I think a shawl in itself is a sort of second skin, another layer of protection and warmth.
I enjoyed creating my first Mantra Scarf so much that I recently decided to chart out some different phrases to knit up as well. The one I'm working on currently is for my best friend Sarah, but I have decided to continue making these and to offer them in my online shop once I have enough inventory to open. The mantra woven into this piece is "Feel Everything", a phrase that has stuck in my head since I started listening to Fiona Apple's new album. I've been using fair isle technique for weaving in the floats, and this is my first attempt at English/Continental style knitting. It's somewhat difficult to get the hang of, but I'm getting used to it (and my fingers are cramping up less). I must say it's odd knitting with two strands of yarn, one in each hand, but I'm glad I've been able to practice a new technique and improve my skills through this process. My hope is to finish this scarf later this week (time permitting - Oregon is coming up fast and I still have over a hundred bits of fungi to assemble for my first Decomposition installation.) In any case, have a look! :)
Fairly often, I will look through my stash baskets and fawn over the gorgeous single skeins I bought just for the satisfaction of having yarn so beautiful, or perhaps for another project that lost steam long ago and never regained its momentum. I have a few skeins of Berroco Seduce for reasons closely related to the latter - I need to revise a pattern but can't manage to sit down and just do it, so there they lie. The other day my eyes set on one skein of Seduce in particular that was a rich, copper color (one of my favorite colors) and I suddenly had a brilliant idea on how to use it. I sat down, started knitting and jotting down pattern notes and behold-- a few days later I have this headband that I am absolutely in love with.
It reminds me of a number of things: the "Roaring Twenties" flapper hair pieces, a bohemian clover garland, an 80's sweat band (let's forget about that one), and the ever modern hipster headband that rivals the fedora in every way. So, hence comes the name, "Urbanite Garland", a combination of those things... a little bit boho and a little bit glam. a little bit hip and a little bit... functional? (damn those 80's)
I'm planning to get the pattern typed up to share here and on Ravelry (for free!), but in the meantime here are some photos of the finished product. I knitted some small twists into the main fabric, which only show up when you look very closely because of how ornate the yarn is. I like how subtle they are though. The thin strip on the back of the head is also cabled into a series of twists. This might be a great pattern for a stylish work out headband too if you knit it up in some organic cotton.. I intend to experiment a little bit with a few different yarns, so I'll post about how it goes!
In climates that actually experience winter, some additional layering is necessary for the hounds so they don't freeze their butts off. I believe that the general rule is: if you need your coat, your hound does too. And there are specialized services/shops that sell custom coats just for greyhounds! It's glorious! My Emma has a nice little red fleece number that keeps her body warm, but the past couple of weeks dipped in the temperature range, so I decided to make her a nice little neck warmer to give her a little more comfort when we go out. Leg warmers may be next, but I haven't decided how to go about that while still giving her the mobility she needs when running around. It's probably not even necessary. Anyhow, the cowl is working out great for the days when the wind chill is just too low. I thought I would share the pattern in case any other knitting greyhound lovers are out there that would like to try it.
For Emma, I made it a little big so it would scrunch up or cover more of her head and neck. I also did not want for it to be too tight. Lastly, the pattern features an opening so that the collar can stay underneath the cowl, but the leash can be hooked to it from the outside. Here is the pattern!:
Needles: US 11 double pointed needles Yarn: heavy worsted, approx. 200 yards max
Starting rib: CO 45 st K2, p2 to end of round. Repeat until piece measures 2". (it's ok to end with 1 k st so that there are 3 k st together. The rib does not have to be even)
Start increases: Row 1: kfb, k to end of round Row 2: k to end of round Row 3: k to end of round Row 4: k to end of round Repeat these 4 rows 2 more times
Make leash hole: Row 1: kfb, k halfway through round, yo 4 times, k to end of round Row 2: k to yarn overs, drop all yarn overs except for 1, k into remaining yo, k to end of round. Row 3: k to end of round Row 4: k to end of round
Continue increases: Follow pattern for increases 6 times.
Finishing Rib: K2, p2 to end of row Repeat until rib section measures 2" Bo all st
That's it! Good luck!