Experimental Helix Cowl

I was scheduled to take a class in helix knitting but had to cancel because I got exposed to stupid COVID. I was really looking forward to the class and already had the yarn, so thought I’d try to figure it out myself. I found a number of video tutorials, and this one was the most helpful: Purl Soho Helix Knitting Tutorial

Sometimes it’s easier to see color values in black & white

There was no pattern to use, so I had to do some quick calculations. I wanted to cast on a multiple of 5 because I have 5 colors, and the yarn is fingering weight, so I decided on 160 stitches. My 3-Color Cashmere Cowl was 160 stitches and used about the same yardage. While that was technically sport weight yarn, the needles were smaller so I think this will turn out to be about the same size. So, my calculations looked like this:

160 st / 5 = 32 st per color

Once I got all that figured out, I caked up my yarn (a lovely set of Manos del Uruguay Fino minis, in the “Eleanor” colorway), played with color order a bit, and cast on. I started with 3 rounds of 1×1 ribbing in the darkest color, then moved on to the magical spiral.

A couple of days later, I realized that my spiral was really working! I had nice even 1-row stripes in 5 colors with no jogs. It looked a little wonky after the first few rows, but I just kept going and everything evened out. The helix knitting technique truly is sheer magic for jogless single row stripes.

Project on the lap desk

Pro tip: Juggling five balls of yarn at once was a little tricky until I remembered that I have a lap desk with a wrist rest. I lined up the balls of yarn in a row on the lap desk, and the wrist rest kept them from sliding off. When I was done with a knitting session I just set the project and yarn on top of the lap desk and set the whole thing aside. YMMV if you have curious kitties or small kids, but it worked great for me.

I stopped knitting when the cowl seemed about the right size. I have about 150 yards of yarn left over but the cowl is definitely long enough. Next time I might make it a bit wider, but it’s still a pretty decent size. Total yarn used: about 334 yards. As a side note, the yarn colors did bleed a little bit when washing/finishing. This made the colors a little blendier, which didn’t bother me for this project, but it’s something to consider if doing colorwork or using it for something more contrasty.

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