Friday, January 2, 2009

Knitting Knock-offs

To all who have patiently waited...

I've got another picture-filled post. I have cleaned out my stash of draft blog entries, consolidating them into yesterday's list of not-so-resolved resolutions. Whilst doing so, I was using a stash of dishcloth cotton to knit up a knock-off of the Modern Quilt Wrap. With a clean slate and a clear mind, I can start off the new year with one of my favorite activities--sharing photos of my knitting.

My knock-off is not a wrap, but a large-ish dish towel, one that will open your eyes when you stumble into the kitchen for that first cup of coffee. I would not advise you to look at the back until after breakfast--

Not a pretty sight. I don't know if those mid-ridge color changes and picked-up stitches will look any better after I trim off the dangling ends. I won't do that until after I wash and dry this baby. I find that a cold-water wash with lots of fabric softener in the rinse cycle not only fattens up a towel, it feathers out those ends so that they won't try to wiggle out. I'll have to put this one in the dryer right away. It is likely that the navy blue will bleed onto the lighter colors if I just let it dry flat.

I followed the pattern exactly. It is very clear, quite easy, and provides lots of interest through all the color changes. I did substitute a couple of colors, using brown instead of orange (I find the Sugar 'n Cream orange a little too garish) and dark green instead of rose (I'm not much for pink, but I would have used coral if I'd had it handy). What with the greenish-gray Pakucho cotton subbing for the gray, this towel is a little heavy with greens. That's just fine. I love my greens.

As soon as I finish the last block, I'm going to knit a few simple dishcloths to accompany this New Year's gift. I've got a neighbor who has been hinting for such a gift for a while. I'm glad I had some extra time during the holidays to make it for her.

Another holiday project is done. I saw a cowl (they call it a neckwarmer) at Banana Republic last month. There were long scarves and the neckwarmers, ribbed knit in a cashmere blend. It was too simple to copy the design. I just happened to have some bulky cashmere blend yarn in my stash. Teamed with some alpaca I had left over from my Sienna cardigan, it makes a fair match to my grey beret, and is just the thing to wear with my blue coat.

Here's a clear photo of my cowl. I started with an inch of 1x1 rib in Alpaca with a Twist's Highlander, then switched to 2x2 rib in Karabella Margrite Bulky. After the cowl (80 stitches knit in the round) was 8" long, I changed back to the Highlander, maintaining the 2x2 rib for a couple of inches before switching back to 1x1.

The cashmere and alpaca blends are very soft. Even my sensitive neck can't complain of an itch from them. I had about a ball and a half of the Karabella and a full ball of the Highlander. I used all the Karabella, but not nearly all the Highlander. Actually, it would only take a little more yarn than what I had to knit the ribbed scarf. Cowls take more yarn than you'd think.

Just look at this last photo, which I copied from the Banana Republic website, to see how similar it is to the Banana Republic inspiration. Another successful knockoff.

If you're quick, you might be able to view the Banana Republic neckwarmer on their website. It is on sale and won't be up long, I'm sure.

If you missed it, now you've got my little recipe to follow to knit your own.


Wool Winder said...

All the bright colors in the dishtowel will make drying dishes fun.

Great job on the knock-off neck warmer. I see it was originally priced at $59--outrageous.

Marjorie said...

That towel is amazing.

I really hadn't considered neck warmers for myself, but after seeing how nice yours looks, I think that some odd balls of stash yarn might find themselves being knit up that way. And, if I do manage to have time for Christmas knitting in 2009, it would make nice small gifts.

Sam said...

I really like the dishtowel - such bright fun colours to cheer up an otherwsie dull chore! ;o) And the neckwarmer is a great idea (love BR, but think that your colour combo is far nicer)

Sydney said...

That's a fun looking dishtowel! Great job on the neck warmer too.