Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pattern Release: 15 Minutes of Warmth Cowl

Well, we made it. Today I'm releasing the last pattern in the Stitchburgh collection. When I first started thinking up this collection about a year ago, I didn't think it would get done as quickly as it did. I'm very proud of this group of patterns, and while it's hard for any designer to pick a favorite design, this might be my favorite of the collection, so naturally I saved it for last.

Andy Warhol (one of many notable Pittsburghers) is said to have once quipped that, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes." He has obviously been famous for a lot longer than that, and his work figures prominent in Pittsburgh. The city is home to the Andy Warhol Museum, believed to be the largest museum in the world devoted to one artist. If you're downtown, you can get to it by crossing the Andy Warhol Bridge, which, a few years ago, was covered in knit and crochet panels as a piece of art. You can find Warhol's art in other museums and galleries around the city, and certainly his influence can be seen in the most unexpected places. I've always enjoyed his Pop Art style, so it seemed completely appropriate to let it influence one of the patterns in the collection.

The 15 Minutes of Warmth Cowl was inspired by Warhol's silk-screened images of flowers -- perhaps not his best-known works but very recognizable (there's even a neighborhood in the city where they're used on boarded-up buildings to cheer them up a bit). I knew exactly which yarn I wanted to use, too: Lisa of Fibernymph Dye Works had a colorway that she released for her Minis of the Month club several months back called (appropriately) Pop Art, and the colors were so very reminiscent of Andy Warhol. I used that colorway (in her Bounce base) along with Soft Black.

This cowl is knit in the round, starting with a provisional cast on, and alternates sections of stripes and stranded colorwork. When you've completed all the sections, you undo the provisional cast on (placing those stitches on a spare set of needles) and graft the two ends of the cowl together, creating a closed tube. This construction not only provides added warmth from a double layer of fabric, but it also ensures that you never see the wrong side of the colorwork. You'll need two skeins of fingering weight yarn (I used about 375 yds./343 m of each color) to knit the cowl, and I recommend using needle one size larger than the size you use for the stripes when you get to the stranded section to keep your gauge consistent, as many people find that their stranded knitting is a bit tighter than their single-color knitting.

As you can see, we had a bit of fun taking the photos for this pattern. The couch (and the giant photograph of Andy Warhol above it) are in the lobby of the Warhol museum, and guests are encouraged to ham it up!

While I couldn't be more pleased with this pattern, I am a bit sad that it's now out because it means that the collection is officially complete. It's been a true labor of love that has taken up most of my free time during the last 6-8 months, and I'm very proud of it. Perhaps one day there will be a Stitchburgh volume 2, but for now I am looking forward to other designs that stand on their own.

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