This week has been very exciting as I have finally been able to share a project that I am working on with my good friend and fellow designer Ann Kingstone - our 2017 MKAL! Neck and Neck! is a cowl pattern that will be sent to you weekly in three sections. The unique thing about this MKAL though is that each week you will get a choice of patterns - one designed by myself and the other by Ann. This gives 8 different beautiful and coordinated options to what the final pattern might look like! Last year we did the same format with the On The Other Hand fingerless mittens and it was so much fun, and the combinations looked so good, we thought we would do it again.
The MKAL will start with part one of the designs on the 3rd of February. Part two will be released on the 10th of February and part three on the 17th of February 2016. The final full pattern will be revealed on the 24th of February with winners chosen and prizes(!) announced for those who have posted pictures of their completed cowl in our Ravelry group forum page. You will automatically receive an email with the pattern update on these dates to download the next section.
We will be supporting you throughout the MKAL with online video tutorials and advice on our blogs, Periscope, Twitter, Intstagram and Facebook groups. We would also love you to join us in our Ravelry group where we will have forum threads for each update, spoiler threads and a finished cowl thread as well as chat and prize giveaways. We love seeing your colour and yarn choices and sharing with you the fun of a MKAL.
The pattern can be purchased here:
For this MKAL you will need DK weight yarn. Yarn amounts will vary depending on which options you take but two coordinating but contrasting colours of 100g each will make sure you have enough no matter which options you make.
For my sample I have used one of my favourite yarns that was kindly donated by Baa Ram Ewe - Dovestone DK in shades Bramley Baths and Goathland. These yarns look beautiful together and the purple is darker than the green so work well for colourwork.... that may have been a hint! Dovestone DK has a gorgeous range of shades and it is lovely to work with too.
During the MKAL I will be joining in by knitting Ann's version of the pattern so I have been stash raiding this morning and coming up with options so I could show yarns and fibre content that would work. Firstly I would recommend using wool, alpaca, wool-blends or acrylic rather than cotton based yarns as this will work better in the colourwork section. The two colours also need to be different tonal shades. When working with white and black yarn, it is easy to see the different tone - black being much darker than white. For colours it can be difficult with the naked eye so I use the filter function on my phone camera and in my photo software to convert a picture of the yarns together and converting to a black and white photo. This shows that Goathland is darker than Bramley Baths so will work together well. If the shades are too similar tonally then colourwork may not show up well.
So what yarns will I knit my second sample in? Well I have a fair amount of DK stash so I have been having a sort through and have come up with these options:
1) Sublime extra fine merino wool dk
Any two of these shades would work well and I have used Sublime merino before for colourwork and the smoothly spun yarn shows patterns well.
2) A combination of Sublime extra fine merino wool dk with either madelinetosh tosh sport or Alpaca fibre studio baby alpaca yarn with 20% bamboo
I love the dark pink or dark blue against the white for a really clear contrast. The Alpaca yarn was given to me as a gift and I have not been sure what to knit with it as it is so lovely, but there is only 150 yards. It would be lovely and soft in this pattern. The sport weight Madelinetosh is very lovely and has clear stitch definition and would work fine if I can get gauge (as would worsted weight yarn). The cowl gauge and finished dimensions are given in the preliminary into that you get on purchasing the pattern so you can try out yarns before you commit to the knitting.
3) Woolyknits DK classics with colour splash
I have had a few people as about using variegated yarns for this project. Whilst I think it would work best with two solid (or handdyed) yarns, it would look ok to combine a variegated with a solid as shown above. The important thing would be to make sure none of the colours in the variegated yarn are similar or have the same tone to the solid yarn so a clear contrast is seen between them. I'm quite liking the above combination.
4) Finally Longridge farm DK yarn
I love these two colours together but again not found the right project for them. This could be it! The fibre is 70% CVM/Romeldale, 20% alpaca and 10% Bombyx silk so very soft.
So lots of choices. Now I am just waiting rather impatiently for the release of the first clue so I can cast on something new and fun. Will you join us?