Leitmotif, a free knitting pattern from Knitty.com.
by Justyna Lorkowska
Seasons collide in this colorful, fluffy cowl! The bright fair isle pattern cheers the soul like a beautiful spring day, while the double layer of soft, silky mohair will keep you warm on the bitterest day of winter. You can easily adjust the width, length, or both, and de-stashers can have a field day, using any number of colors (why stick to just five?!). The sampler-like style keeps it interesting and provides any number of mix and match opportunities.
This makes a great project for fair-isle newbies, as the wrong side will be your little secret - hidden inside the tube, never to see the light of day. The trickiest part is grafting the ends together to form a continuous, circular tube. But not to worry! Clear instructions with helpful pointers are included to help make your efforts, as well as the cowl, absolutely seamless.
model: Justyna Lorkowska
photos: Monika Sznajderowska aka Harmonia Zdjęć
Circumference: 26 inches/66 cm
Width: 11.5 inches/29 cm
DROPS Kid-Silk [75% mohair, 25% silk; 230yd/210m per 25g skein];
[CC1] 04 Old Pink; 1 skein
[CC2] 30 Curry; 1 skein
[CC3] 06 Blue Mist; 1 skein
[CC4] 31 Mauve; 1 skein
[CC5] 37 North Sea; 1 skein
The sample shown uses a lace weight mohair blended with silk. The yarn is fluffy and warm. The yarn is held double throughout the entire project. For those who may be mohair-averse, or prefer to work with a single strand of yarn, simply substitute DK yarn.
Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below - every knitter's gauge is unique]
US #6/4mm circular needle, 16-20 inches/40-50cm
A second circular needle in a similar size for the grafted closure
1 crochet hook, for provisional cast on – should be a similar size to the needles
scrap yarn for provisional cast on
21 sts/23 rounds = 4 inches/10 cm in plain stockinette and fair-isle pattern, blocked.
[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]
Color choice: The pattern looks best worked in solid or semi-solid colors.
Chart tips: Charts are provided for the colorwork patterns. Whenever the unused yarn needs to be carried for more than 5-6 stitches, twist the yarn strands at the back to avoid long floats. Be sure to control the tension and don't pull too tight. Chart B has sections that use three colors at the same time. If you normally work two-color stranded colorwork with one yarn in each, we recommend working with two in your right hand and one in your left. If you normally work with both in one hand, you can hold one in your other hand, or just continue to work with the three in the same hand, working slowly and carefully to avoid twisting them as much as possible. Always hold the colors in the same relative positions.
The cowl begins with a provisional cast on. It is knit in the round like a long tube, which is seamed at the end.
The size of the cowl is easily adjustable. If you wish to modify the width of the cowl, adjust CO by multiples of 12 sts. Each 12-st increment adds or subtracts approximately 1.25 inches / 3 cm to or from finished width. To modify the length, simply eliminate or add plain rounds or chart repeats as desired.
Using US #6/4mm needle, a crochet hook and waste yarn, CO 120 sts using a provisional method.
Join CC1. Place marker and join for working in the round.
Knit one rnd.
Beginning with Rnd 1 work through all rnds of Chart A once, switching colors as shown in the chart and working chart 10 times per rnd.
Work through Chart B once, switching colors as shown in the chart.
Work through Chart C twice, switching colors as shown in the chart.
Work through Chart D once, switching colors as shown in the chart.
Note: Cut and rejoin the yarns as required through the following stripe pattern.
Knit 4 rnds in CC3.
Knit 4 rnds in CC2.
Knit 4 rnds in CC4.
Knit 4 rnds in CC1.
Knit 4 rnds in CC5.
Work through Chart E once, switching colors as shown in the chart.
After completing all charts, break all yarns except for CC1.
The cowl should measure approx 26 inches / 66cm.
Turn the cowl inside out and weave in any loose ends.
With RS out, gently unzip the crochet chain from the CO edge, and transfer the live sts to the spare circular needle.
With one end of the cowl on each needle, hold the needles parallel so that the cowl forms a continuous tube, being sure not to twist the cowl. Graft the stitches together. I recommend stopping from time to time, to adjust the gauge of the seam to the work.
Weave in the final loose end with yarn needle.
If you used mohair, steam the cowl lightly to even out the stitches. If you used a single strand of DK-weight yarn, I recommend washing the cowl and drying it flat.
ABOUT THE DESIGNER
Justyna (aka Lete's Knits) is a former English teacher and an all-round knitting fanatic. She learned her first stitches as a teenager from her mother but didn't truly embrace the craft until she had her first child. At that time she took up her needles with an unbridled enthusiasm and began to design knitwear. Justyna's true passion is designing unique garments, especially seamless ones, with intricate details and beautiful finishing.
She has been published by many popular knitting magazines such as Amirisu, Laine, and Pompom, and she has been featured in numerous knitting books. In 2021, Justyna launched an indie hand-dyed yarn brand called Cecily Grove Yarns, where she dyes colorful skeins to complement her fun designs.
Pattern & images © 2023 Justyna Lorkowska