Spring cowl | Free pattern and MoYa’s new lace range yarn review

Light cotton, a beautiful drape, pastel ‘summer garden‘ colours and all with a South African touch – that’s the beauty of MoYa’s Lace Plume cotton range. I designed a simple ombre cowl pattern to go with the yarn and I think it looks rather splendid! I call it the Spring Cowl because it’s a beautiful between seasons knit and has all the colours of a fresh new season.

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Most South Africans know and are already enraptured by MoYa’s crazily soft, beautifully dyed cotton yarns (their bulky is so soft you wouldn’t believe it’s a cotton!). Mother-daughter team Martine Ryder (Director and Bean Counter) and Hester M Bester (Director and Social Media Guru) started the company a few years ago and have taken the South African crafting community by storm.

Their latest yarn, the new Lace Plume range I used for this cowl, is just as high quality as you’d expect from the mom-daughter pair. Lace weight yarns seem to be all the rage as many South African yarn dyers have started selling lace-weight and 4 ply yarn (just look at Electric Carnation’s sock range and Karoo Moon’s new 4-ply selection). Said the pair, ‘There is a definite gap in the market as far as thinner, quality cotton yarns are concerned. We wanted to provide crafters with readily-available, affordable, yet high quality lace-weight yarns.’

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The yarn is really pleasant to work with and as a knitter I loved the feel of the final product. ‘This lace-weight yarn has a very high twist, with a rope-like structure, which creates stunning stitch definition. It’s 100% cotton, and its softness creates a knitted or crocheted fabric that drapes beautifully,’ said Hester. Crocheters will love it too for it’s ability to create very detailed work. ‘The high twist makes for a much more pleasant experience when working with it, as it doesn’t split at all, and it comes in a range of gorgeous colours. We also love its versatility. The yarn knits and crochets equally well.’

Moya lace range
Hester says, ‘We have decided on ‘Garden Party’ colours – coming out of gloomy winter we wanted beautiful spring/summer colours.’ Their range is truly lovely but I do have soft spot for Cinnabar, Capri and Steelblue.

I would love to make something like a cardigan or shawl out of this range, though possibly with two strands together, for the softness, weight and hang of the final product. Definitely worth adding to the stash!

Back to the cowl.

I wanted to do a gentle gradient to show off the range of spectacular colours MoYa stocks, and I was heavily inspired by PurlSoho’s gorgeous gradient cowl.

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I loved how this pattern looked, but could not see myself spending the next 12 years making a seed stitch cowl – how tedious! One facet I particularly loved was the texture – so how to keep this with a relatively simple stitch?

My answer was to use big needles for fine yarn, and do garter stitch (knit every row).

I also took the advice from the cowl pattern on how best to knit with two strands from one ball of yarn – take from both the inside and outside of the ball of yarn at the same time. This is great advice and gives you more money to buy a variety of colours instead of doubles of the same colour (aw yiss!).

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I wanted to have a slanting line and immediately thought of the beautiful Garden House Baby Blanket (I’m busy making one for a friend right now!) . My cowl pattern is based on the pattern for strip one of the blanket, but for the actual blanket pattern you’re going to have to click through on the link (it’s a free pattern and very lovely).

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YOU WILL NEED

  • 6 x 50g balls of MoYa Cotton Lace Plume (I used Cinnabar, Ivory, Moss, Capri, Steelblue and Platinum)
  • 5.5mm needles
  • Yarn needle

ABBREVIATIONS

c/on off – cast on/off
k – knit
m1L – make 1 st leaning to the left
m1R – make 1 st leaning to the right
nd(s) – needle(s)
st(s) – stitch(es)
k2tog – knit two stitches together
ssk – slip, slip, knit (slip two stitches to the right hand needle, and knit together)
Klfbf –  knit into the front of the stitch, leave that stitch on the left needle and then knit the same stitch again through the back, then again through the front, then drop the stitch from the left ndl
s2kp2 – slip 2 stitches together knitwise to the right needle, knit 1. Pass the two slipped stitches over the knit stitch and off the right needle.

TO MAKE

With 5.5mm needles and two strands of Cinnabar held together, c/on 1 st.

Set up the pattern as below;

Row 1 (RS): Klfbf
Row 2 (WS): K

From then on:

Row 1: K1, M1R, k to last st, M1L, K1
Row 2: K

Repeat these two rows until you have 49 sts on your needles.

Change to a strand of Cinnabar and a strand of Ivory held together.

Pattern for the rest of the cowl:
Row 1: k1, M1R, K to last 3 sts, ssk, k1
Row 2: K

Work these 2 rows nine times in Cinnabar and Ivory before following the colour pattern laid out below. A good rule of thumb is to keep the solid colours double the length of the different colours knitted together. I didn’t always follow this rule 100%, but it’s a good one to remember if you’re playing around with your own colour patterns.

Ivory: 17 pattern repeats
Ivory & Moss: 5 pattern repeats
Moss: 10 pattern repeats
Moss & Capri: 8 pattern repeats
Capri: 16 pattern repeats
Capri & Steelblue: 6 pattern repeats
Steelblue: 12 pattern repeats
Steelblue & Platinum: 5 pattern repeats
Platinum: 10 pattern repeats

Now change to Platinum & Cinnabar and begin the decreases to end the cowl.

Row 1: K1, k2tog, k to last 3 sts, ssk, k1
Row 2: K

Repeat this 5 times. Change to 2 strands of Cinnabar held together, and continue the pattern until 5 sts are left on the needles.
Then: K1, s2kp2, k1 (3 sts)
Then: K
Then: s2kp2 (1 st)
Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in ends. Stitch two ends of cowl together, WS facing.

You don’t even have to block! There you go. A lovely cotton spring cowl, ready for the new season.

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Thanks to the wonderful Alexa Young for being my beautiful schmodel! 

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