Embellishments You Love Make This Your Ultimate Cowl Roundup
If you are like me, you buy buttons, beads, sequins, and such when you see them and fall in love, but they tend to sit unused. I am always so excited when I can pull something out of my collected treasures and use it in a project. I also like to get a lot of mileage out of my yarn stash, so I have a tendency to try to use every last bit. The smaller versions of this fabulous cowl can be done with one skein of yarn. I can’t wait to try one of the larger sizes so I can wear it around my shoulders, not my neck. If this intrigues you–read to the end of this post
Esperance by Jill Wolcott of Jill Wolcott Knits
Jill takes an in-depth look at the Esperance pattern and its contents
This is an in-depth look inside this pattern.
Just as I fall for buttons, beads, sequins, and such, I also seem to find stitch patterns that I just can’t quit thinking about. I’m often intrigued for some particular reason or use; some patterns get used and I move on, while others require repeated exploration. I don’t recall using Seaweed in a design, but I know I’ve swatched it more than once. I would guess I’ve probably done yarn company swatches for TNNA in Seaweed because of its reversible pattern.
Esperance cowl is a perfect application for a reversible stitch. When working a moebius, the cast on is at the center and each round creates an additional round of stitches on each side of the cast on, with the stitches on the first half showing the right side pattern, and the second half showing as the wrong side–but because it is in the round, the wrong side is never worked, although each pattern round must be worked two times! The undulation of this stitch makes the pattern on each side appear to be a different pattern.
Esperance cowl fits nicely into my love of deceptively easy designs, and uses treasured buttons, beads, or sequins. The challenge here is mostly in setting up the moebius and placing the embellishments on the second round. There will come a time as you near the final depth of Esperance where the stitches don’t seem to move easily around the needle. It is irritating, but not a flaw or problem with your knitting; there is just a lot of fabric going through the cross in the cables.
You can thread your ending embellishments for the bind off on the non-working end of the yarn so they are ready as you near the end of your knitting. You can then bind off using that end whenever you are ready. You will have an extra end to work in, but it may make it easier to finish.
Due to the twist it is difficult to exactly determine the circumference. The measurements given here are based on gauge and final product, but some variation is explainable.
Page 2 Info
XXS (XS) (S) (M) (L) (XL)
- Sock Finished circumference 18 (24) (30) (36) (42) (48)”
- Sport Finished circumference 19.625 (26.125) (32.75) (39.25) (45.875) (52.375)”
- Finished depth 9″ or desired depth
- Sock 6 sts/in and 8 rows/in = 24 sts/4″ and 32 rows/4″ in Seaweed on size 4(3.5mm) ndls
- Sport 5.5 sts/in and 8 rows/in = 22 sts/4″ and 32 rows/4″ in Seaweed on size 5(3.75mm) ndls
- Sock Size 4(3.5mm) 40″ or longer circular ndls OR size to obtain gauge
- Sport Size 5(3.75mm) 40″ or longer circular ndls OR size to obtain gauge
Stitch markers, tapestry needle, 18 (24) (30) (36) (42) (48) sequins, beads, or buttons
- Sock Civility Sock Twist 2-ply from Elemental Affects, 70% merino, 30% mulberry silk, 4oz/450 yds (405m)
- Sock 1 (1) (1) (2) (2) (2) skeins
- Sport Civility Soft Twist Sport from Elemental Affects, 70% merino, 30% mulberry silk, 4oz/400yds (365m)
- Sport 1 (1) (2) (2) (2) (2) skeins
- Sock Model Size Medium
- Sock Color City Shadow
- Sport Model Size Small
- Sport Color Pacific
Photo shows my friend Nancy Foss (voice over and mosaic artist) wearing the Sock Twist version which is embellished with antique abalone sequins (from the ’50s I think). The styrofoam head wearing the Sport version has been retired and new photos will be taken. The Sport embellishments are wonderful ball buttons hand-wrapped in delicate cord in Italy.
Each sample was made using one skein of yarn.
Overall Layout of the Knitting Pattern
Page 2 is where to find all the information you need to get started. Don’t forget to check gauge and be sure you use a needle size that will get the specified gauge using your yarn and style of knitting. I am a relaxed, Continental knitter and it is not uncommon for other knitters to need a different needle size. Getting the proper fabric is essential to any design ending up as presented.
Look at this blog for a discussion about Yarn Substitution.
Written instructions are on pages 3 and 4. Another short pattern!
Techniques and abbreviations are on page 4.
Detail photos are shown throughout the written portion of the pattern
Following the written pattern, on page 5 are the stitch chart and an “as knit” schematic.
Be sure to always read the general notes on page 2/the Info page. Always take a peek at the schematics before starting as we try to make them a visual information source.
Moebius Cast On
Called a “magical and mysterious thing” by Cat Bordhi, the moebius cast on is worth wrapping your head around. This video will guide you; although there are written instructions in the pattern, the video helps it all make sense. The cast on puts a stitch onto each side of the needle (trust!) so if you cast on 156 stitches, you will end up 312. I think the cast on is fast and fun if you don’t overthink it.
Work one entire round as a knit round before placing your embellishments. I like to put a marker at the halfway point, but it isn’t necessary. The marker will give you an intermediate point as you work each round which can be a relief considering the number of stitches.
Because you are working outward from the cast on (center) towards the top and the bottom, you are building in two directions on each round. After you get the embellishments placed and begin the pattern you will begin to see the pattern from both sides.
This is worked in the round and at the midway point, the pattern begins to be the wrong side, so you are seeing the right side and the wrong side on each side of the cast on. Don’t dwell too much on this–it is the magic and mystery of the moebius. It is better to know than to completely comprehend.
Binding Off/Embellishments The binding off and the embellishments happen in the same final round. Begun in the center of the 23 stitches between the embellishment placement on the setup round, the first bind off embellishment is placed on stitch 12 and then evenly spaced. Binding off takes a lot of yarn. We calculated it to be about three times that of a regular round. If you are really wanting to work as close to the end as possible (we ended up with about 4 yards left on each of ours!), I recommend this:
Note: You will have to undo the stitches bound off.
- Bind off 12 stitches.
- Mark the working yarn at the end of the last BO.
- Undo the 12 bound off stitches and mark the beginning of the working yarn when the last stitch is undone.
- Measure the yarn between the two markers.
- Plug your length measurement (X) into this formula:
- X=18 and CO is 360.
- 18 times 360 = 6480
- divided by 12 = 540 inches
- 540 inches divided by 36 = 15 yards
Work in ends Hide those ends and you are finished.
Blocking You can wet or steam block as needed.
Buy Esperance cowl, look through your buttons, bead, sequins, or other embellishments that have been waiting for a perfect project–or take yourself shopping for them–procure yarn and treat yourself to a knitting reward.
I usually knit something that I just want to knit during the week between Christmas and New Years Eve and this is the perfect project for this. No pressure, no deadline, just permission to enjoy. Esperance and the magic of a moebius could be your perfect year-end project, or the perfect one to kick off the New Year.
I am currently committed to another project, but email me if you are interested in a knit along in February or March. Knit-along starts on March 10! Details below and on Ravelry:
Beginning Tuesday, March 10 and lead by LindaLovesLace. Details to be added after March 1 for a kick-off on March 10. You can see the pattern here and photos here.
There will be weekly drawings on Tuesdays.
Anyone can participate, but you must be a member of this group to win any prize(s).
You must have a project page for Esperance. Please use the tag JWKEspSp2015 so others can find it!
Please post photos so you will be eligible to win prizes.
You can be in both weekly and Grand Esperance Prize drawing, so if you win a weekly drawing you can still enter the Grand Esperance drawing.
Weekly: ANY post with a progress photo within the week of that particular drawing (done randomly on a number generator) is entered into the drawing. You can post more than one photo during the week, but only one will be counted by the generator.
The prize for the weekly draw is for a gift certificate toward my Jill Wolcott Knits or Ravelry shop.
Grand Esperance: ALL posts with a photo of a FINISHED Esperance are entered into the drawing. You must include the word FINISHED in these posts so I can sort them from all the posts with photos.
Eligible projects must have been finished by 4/14/2015. There will be a Runner Up and a Grand Esperance Prize.
Finally, the 2-ply sock twist is not currently available but I will let newsletter subscribers know when it is available.