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Pink Needles
The spinning loft
spacer model: Julia Madill spacer photos: Amy R Singer


Even if you don't spin, you may find yourself in possession of one gorgeous skein of yum from time to time. What do you do with a single gorgeous skein of one-of-a-kind yarn? It's too precious to crack open! It must be hoarded!

I was given such a skein of gorgeous handspun silk by my friend Abby Franquemont [who is a spinning legend, so this is no small gift]. It was destined to become a skein under glass, admired from afar, until my editor instructed me to design something with it. I listen to my editor, so I did as I was told.

Abby's yarn is a tussah silk single, with lots of halo. That's not a very common characteristic of commercial non-wool yarns. In fact, it really looked a heck of a lot -- when knit up -- like that notorious non-wool treasure, Kidsilk Haze. [As I'm allergic to wool and sensitive to all animal fibers, I haven't been able to knit with the crack of yarn, as others call it.] Finally I could knit something with halo!

The resulting pattern is a cowl in a simple, simple, simple lace repeat that gives a little illusion of swirliness around the neck without the annoyance of having to move stitch markers every row. [I hate that.] I've included an option that allows you to knit the first few [easiest-to-mess-up] rows flat. That's how I knit this one…can you tell where I closed the gap? I didn't think so.

Circumference: 21 inches
Length: 16 inches
spacer Approx 1 oz 100% Tussah silk top, spun from the fold into heavy laceweight singles [approx 250-300 yards] from Abby's Yarns, color: Mai Tai; pictured above
[available at the Spinning Loft]

Commercial yarn alternatives:

Nonwool: Alchemy Silk Purse and Fiesta La Luz are silk singles, but much heavier and more tightly spun. I am not aware of another commercial silk single laceweight yarn. Good reason to learn to spin?

Woolly: Rowan Kidsilk Haze [70% super kid mohair, 30% silk; 227yd/210m per 25g ball]; 1 ball

Recommended needle size:
spacer 1 16-inch US #6/4mm circular needle
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

spacer Tapestry needle

spacer 11 stitch markers (ensure that one marker is different from the others)

Note: Ten of the stitch markers are placed between lace pattern repeats to help you keep track of the pattern. If you are comfortable with lace knitting, you may prefer to use only one marker, at the end of the round.


22 sts = 4 inches in pattern

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques
can be found here]

Lace Pattern
(Worked in the round over a multiple of 10 sts):
Round 1: [P3, k2tog, yo, k5] to end.
Even-Numbered Rounds 2-8: [P5, k5] to end.
Round 3: [P2, k2tog, yo, p1, k5] to end.
Round 5: [P1, k2tog, yo, p2, k5] to end.
Round 7: [k2tog, yo, p3, k5] to end.
Round 9: P all sts.
Round 10: [K5, p3, k2tog, yo] to end.
Odd-Numbered Rounds 11-17: [K5, p5] to end.
Round 12: [K5, p2, k2tog, yo, p1] to end.
Round 14: [K5, p1, k2tog, yo, p2] to end.
Round 16: [K5, k2tog, yo, p3] to end.
Round 18: P all sts.
Repeat Rounds 1-18 for Lace Pattern.
CO 110 sts.
Choose one of these lower edging options:

Option Amy:
For a stress-free start that can be easily camouflaged when you weave in ends, work Rows 1-4 back and forth before joining work. This will make it easy to avoid twisting the CO edge.

Rows 1 and 3 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 2 [RS]: K all sts.
Row 4 [RS]: P all sts.

Join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist. Use the marker which is different from the others to indicate beginning of round. Proceed to “Work Lace Pattern”.

Option Overachiever:
Join to begin working in the round, being careful not to twist. Use the marker which is different from the others to indicate beginning of round.

K 3 rounds.
P 1 round.

Work Lace Pattern:
Next Round: Work Round 1 of chart over all sts, placing a st marker between each 10-st repeat of pattern. Chart pattern will be worked 11 times in each round.

Work in charted pattern until piece measures 16 inches or desired length, ending with Round 9 or 18 of chart.

BO all sts loosely, using Galina Khmeleva's Russian Bindoff, as follows.
Note: After you have bound off the first few sts, stretch the BO edge slightly to check your tension. You want the edge to be stretchy and flexible, but not too floppy. It is worth ripping back a few sts and starting again if necessary to achieve the correct tension.

Next Round: P2tog, [loosen st on right needle slightly and slip back to left needle; p2tog, gently tightening st] until all sts have been bound off. Break yarn and draw through remaining st.

If you worked Option Amy for the lower edging, sew up the small 4-row seam, taking care not to sew too tightly.

Weave ends into CO and BO edges. Block if desired. If knit in silk, blocking is likely not necessary.

If using Kidsilk Haze or other woolly yarn, please block.
Amy likes it easy, and that includes knitting lace. Otherwise she ends up looking like she does over there on the left.

[special thanks to Elizabeth Marsh for her sanity-saving knitting help with this pattern!]