big herringbone cowl
Frogged Knitting

Big Herringbone Cowl

Part of knitting (and spinning) is experimenting and figuring out what works. This process can be fun, educational, frustrating, or all three at the same time — and this is one of those times.

I’ve always wanted to make the Big Herringbone Cowl. As a lover of texture and big, chonky knits, this one really spoke to me. So last week I dusted off my biggest size 17 needles and got to work. I found this yarn, Wonderland Yarns March Hare, in my deep stash (from 2015). It’s dyed in lovely, earthy Brattleboro, VT and has excellent stitch definition.

The pattern specifically warned me to cast on loosely. Did I do that? Nope. As a result, the first round was really hard on my hands. The second round was a little easier, but still challenging. As I continued knitting, my stitches loosened up a bit and I got into the groove of the pattern, and it seemed like this could work.

However, it became apparent that the join between rows is a little wonky because that’s where you switch stitch directions. After investigating other knitters’ Ravelry projects, I learned that the weirdo join is a common issue with this pattern. I am not alone! I tried a couple of workarounds but none of them were great. And in the process, I learned that this herringbone stitch is absolutely unforgiving of mistakes. If you fuck up (like I did) and have to tink back, it’s almost impossible to make sense of the stitches.

So, after the first eight rows, I called it. I have been known to live with wonky joins before, but they always bug me. Life is too short to knit something I’m not in love with, and that includes the knitting process. I think this is a better pattern for knitters who are a little more experienced than I am and don’t make a lot of mistakes. I still love the stitch pattern, though, so maybe I will try it again as a scarf with no joins.

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