New Pattern Release: The Dorotea Cowl

Today I’m really excited to share with you my latest pattern release; the Dorotea Cowl. This pattern has been in my head for quite a while so it was really great to get it out of my head, onto, and off my needles and for it to have turned out exactly as I had imagined it first time. For me it combines the need to look good with the need to function well just perfectly. It also has the most beautifully finished hem, with which I am ridiculously pleased.

Anyone who is familiar with my Wraparound shawl, initially released way back in October 2011, and updated and multi-sized in March 2019, may recognize the combination of eyelet bands and stocking stitch. This has been an incredibly popular shawl which always attracts compliments and is great to wear, I know I wear my large version all the time. It’s smaller sibling, the Dorotea Cowl, draws on these same design elements and like the pattern for Wraparound, Dorotea is perfect for combining a solid yarn with a series of leftovers, the pattern tells you what you need so you can pick out those favourite oddments to use alongside a single colour which pulls it together prefectly.

My first Dorotea, was knit using a sportweight yarn, Old Maiden Aunt Corriedale which is such a favourite of mine. I used it for the first Version of my Badbury Shawl. Again, anyone who knows that shawl pattern will know it’s written for both a sportweight and 4 ply gauge and so is Dorotea.

Sportweight yarns are great but seem to be less readily available in the UK, so for my sample I used the wonderful green ‘Bitterbug’ Corriedale yarn interspersed with various odds and ends of Malabrigo lace held double. I think a laceweight held with a mohair or a series of mohair leftovers would also work wonderfully.

I also needed to be a little more inventive with the 4 py version as I’ve been using up a lot of my sock yarn leftovers recently, and knitting socks for my partner whose large leave very little leftover at all. So for the 4 ply version I used a small leftover of a Fiberspates BFL sock that I’ve been hoarding for years and dug into my stash of regular 4 ply ‘oddballs’ and found solids in the colours that comprise the variegated. I stared mixing them up in uniform stripes and then went a little more and random. It generated a lot more ends to sew in but I really like how it turned out.

Dorotea is knit from the bottom up, it starts with a provisional cast on (full written instructions are included in the pattern) and is then knit to the top including hem facings. The top hem is achieved by simultaneously picking up along a row of stitching on the inside and casting off. The pictures in the slideshow above show just how neat this finishing looks. Of course you could just -cast on and cast off but I think it would be a hame to miss out on this final step so I’ve included a step-by-step photo-tutorial of this process. It’s actually quite straight-forward and if you’ve ever done a 3 needle bind-ff it will be a doddle, and actually only takes a single circular needle to execute!

The Dorotea Cowl is after the city of Dorotea in Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Calvino writes that Dorotea can be described in two ways, firstly the appearance and organisation of the city as a moated walled city of 9 quarters each with 700 chimneys, or as a memory of a place visited in youth that was so unlike the places of one’s experience that it not only lodged in the memory but shaped the perception of place thereafter.

At a time when travel is no longer possible, travel through the places of our pasts and of literature is, like knitting, a source of great comfort. 

Peruvian Architect Karina Puente has embarked upon a project to render Calvino’s Invisible Cities Visible through a series of truly stunning illustrations**.

Dorotea Image © Karina Puente Frantzen

I am thankful for being prompted to return to this book by a reference made during a discussion on developing a library. Calvino is very much a part of the Italian canon hence the ease of reference here, and he is one of my favourites for his capacity with language to totally transport you to places of his, and more importantly of your, imagination.

Until next time, Happy Knitting,

Tess xxx

** You can read more about this project on Arch Daily here

An image of the Hand knit Dorotea Cowl photographed on a dress form in front of a old brick wall
Dorotea: Sportweight

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