Sunday, March 1, 2015

Simcha's Simple Cowl ~ and an Orange County "Moment"

If you are like me you have either received as a gift (or made a spontaneous purchase) of a single skein of gorgeous hand painted yarn.  And it's beautiful!  You love it! You can't wait to make it into something - anything!  But a quick search of online patterns leads to the disappointing realization that due to the limited yardage and strongly variegated colorway, finding a pattern is not as easy as you had expected.


At least that was my experience when my neighbor returned from a trip to Oregon and generously brought back for me a skein of gorgeous baby alpaca yarn from Foothills Yarn and Fiber shop in Oregon.  I knew due to the color and softness of the yarn that I wanted to make it into a cowl, but when I searched for cowl patterns I found that they all either required more yarn, or a solid color, or yarn with more twist, or more this, that and the other.  So I eventually threw up my hands and came up with a pattern for a super easy cowl that works beautifully with hand painted yarn in a limited quantity and named it Simcha's Simple Cowl.


As a brief segue, I have become a huge fan of cowls because I find that I wear them more than any other accessory.  I love them because they are easy to wear and can either be simple and practical (wonderful for hikes) or stylishly and elegant to wear just about anywhere.  For those who are not as familiar with cowls they come in two styles, namely, those that fit snugly around the neck and are called "neck warmers" (these I wear on my hikes) and those that drape loosely around the neck and are called "infinity scarves." Simcha's Simple Cowl is an "infinity scarf" and is designed to maximize the beauty of a limited quantity of yarn in a hand painted colorway.

It is my hope that you will find this pattern to be an easy and enjoyable way to showcase a single skein of special yarn in limited quantity that you may have.


Particulars:  Simcha's Simple Cowl (free pattern download);US 7 circular needles; 1 skein worsted yarn in Baby Alpaca (or similar soft yarn); 220 yards; finished dimensions 16" x 6.5" (i.e. 32" circumference). Due to the rolled edge of the cowl the width measure is slightly less than the actual total "knit" width of 7.5."

An Orange County Moment


Orange County, California is comprised of mostly coastal communities along the southern California coastline.  It is perhaps best known for the television show The Real Housewives of Orange County (a show that I have personally never seen) and, barring that, think of Orange County as California at it's most stereotypical i.e., surfing, vegan food, luxury cars, breast implants and movie star beautiful people.

While I don't spend a lot of time in Orange County we do have a beach house in San Clemente that is technically part of Orange County, although I like to think of it as an anti-orange county crowd where folks come to enjoy the quiet amd beauty of the beach. But I recently found even in San Clemente it is possible to have an Orange County "moment" as the following anecdote shows.

On a lazy afternoon whilst sitting outside soaking up the sun reading a book my attention was caught by the drama of watching two girls struggle with their jet skies that had washed up on the shoreline. Other neighbors had similarly been watching and apparently one had called for coastguard assistance because it wasn't long before an absolutely gorgeous lifeguard came sauntering down the beach looking like he stepped off the movie set for Baywatch.

He spent a few moments talking to the girls and then he turned around and looked at the neighbors on the beach and appeared to be motioning with his hand for me to come over.  I touched my hand lightly to my chest and looked around.  Could I, of all people on the beach, be the most qualified to assist in this rescue?  He looked straight at me and nodded yes.  I tried to exude confidence and competence as I gingerly stepped over the sand to meet him halfway.  When I reached him he favored me with a stunning smile and asked if I would assist him by holding onto his sunglasses and flip flops.  I had to laugh.  Only in Orange County does the lifeguard require an assistant to hold their sunglasses during a rescue and that is what I call an orange county "moment."


The above pictures are taken in San Clemente,California at sunset.

Until next time be well and love well and may your needles fly as you finish the last of your winter knits as soon spring will be here.