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Coffee With My Oxygen cowl

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If you’ve always fancied trying your hand at a bit of stranded colourwork, then get Coffee With My Oxygen on your needles.

With classic Fair Isle motifs, no shaping, and no long floats, it’s a perfect first colourwork project. And not-quite-perfect knitting doesn’t matter, as it’ll naturally scrunch up around your neck when worn. Chilled colourwork. Seriously.

For more confident knitters, the 8-stitch pattern repeat makes it easy to add or remove width, so if you fancy making a big old double-wrap cowl, you can. And if you want to keep perfectly to the pattern, then its small scale makes it perfect for using up those little scraps of 4ply yarn.

Then there’s the matching potential; with the cowl sized for both adults and children, you can get some traditional twinning on the go. Or if you just fancy matching yourself, then it pairs perfectly with its sister pattern, the I Smell Snow hat.

Key information
Coffee With My Oxygen is knitted in the round using 4ply/fingering weight yarn. The pattern uses the Fair Isle technique, where you work with more than one colour on each row.

It’s easier than it sounds; you just knit a few stitches with one colour, then switch to another, carrying the yarns behind your work. The yarn that’s not in use creates a “float” behind your work. Sounds fancy, but that’s just the term for the horizontal length of yarn that travels between the stitches in each colour. Tin Can Knits have a great blog explaining more.

Coffee With My Oxygen is all about simple colourwork. This technique only uses two colours a row, so you won’t get yourself in a massive tangle. And with a short pattern repeat, there are no long floats to worry about.

Suggested yarn
The samples are knitted in Marina Skua Mendip 4ply (150m/164yd per 50g skein) on her Sunny (lambswool) base, in the colours Sky, Fox, Teal, and Beech. If you want to substitute yarn, then I’d recommend a “woolly” 4ply/fingering weight, as they have a bit of grip which makes them easier for colourwork.

Yarn requirements
MC (Sky): 90m (99yds), CC1 (Beech): 45m (50yds), CC2 (Fox): 35m (38yds), CC3 (Teal): 22m (25yd)
MC (Sky): 52m (57yds), CC1 (Beech): 35m (38yds), CC2: (Fox): 16m (18yds), CC3 (Teal): 11m (12yd)

Suggested needles (and notions): 3mm (US 2.5) and 3.25mm (US 3) 40cm (16in) circular needles, stitch marker, tapestry needle.

Gauge: 24 sts and 30 rows to 10cm (4in), measured over colourwork, knit in the round.

Finished dimensions: The adult cowl has a diameter of approx. 64cm (25in) and a height of approx. 21cm (8.5in). The child has a diameter of approx. 53cm (21.25in) and a height of approx. 14.5cm (5.75in).

Altering the width
It’s easy to add or remove width if you fancy making your cowl bigger or smaller. When casting on, add on or remove stitches in multiples of 8, and then work from the chart as instructed. Each 8-stitch repeat is just under 3.5cm (1.5in) wide.

Remember, if you’re adding more stitches you’ll need more yarn. The list below shows how much yarn you’ll need for each extra 8-stitch repeat you add.

MC (Sky): 4.5m (5yds), CC1 (Beech): 2.5m (2.75yds), CC2 (Fox): 1.75m (2yds), CC3 (Teal) 1.25m (1.5yds)
MC (Sky): 3.75m (4.25yds) CC1 (Beech): 2.5m (2.75yds), CC2 (Fox): 1.25m (1.5yds), CC3 (Teal): 1m (1.25yds)
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