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Shrinking a design, and I don't mean in the washing machine


In January of this year I was asked to propose some classes to the Focus on Fiber Arts Guild of Alberta, they were running a weekend long workshop in the provincial capital (and my hometown) of Edmonton and were looking for teachers. I knew that I wanted to teach both the Cottina Cowl and the Kitto Cowls since they are both great stepping stone projects. By stepping stone I mean that they traverse two experience levels moving a knitter from Beginner Lace to Intermediate Lace. Both these cowls are worked in the round with some Intermediate lace and a few techniques that are slightly more challenging to help your skill set evolve.

But they are both much too large to be worked in a single class, the class needed all the aspects of the patterns with about 20% of the size. So I set off to shrink the patterns and also design something more functional and less of a time waste than a swatch. Oops! was that out loud? I know that designers are supposed to love swatching, and of course they are useful and necessary, and of course I have to swatch before I design a project but.... really sometimes they really chafe don't they? I wanted to do a class where you come home with the beginning of a project, not just some swatch you will probably toss in the bottom of the knitting bag until you need to mercilessly harvest the needles for another project. The way I see it, if you leave a class with the start of, say, a cute pair of fingerless mittens you might just head home, hit the couch and keep working on them. And I definitely wanted to shrink the cowls into fingerless mittens since they are simple, appeal to a variety of people and fit a wide range of hand sizes.


The Cottina Cowl shrank really nicely, I used the same chart and worked it 3 times around the circumference of the cuff. Because there are stacked increases and decreases the horizontal (cast on) edge of these mittens comes down in points just like the cowl, with three points around the circumference. The hand section has a simple opening for the thumb where the palm area is worked back and forth with 1x1 ribbing, and the top is joined back into the round to be worked for a few more rows of ribbing before binding off. All in all a very simple but fun fingerless mittens pattern that is great for an advancing beginner wanting something a little more challenging.


The mittens are worked in Ancient Arts DK Superwash Mineral, and use only one skein, since I was working with a new yarn I thought I would see what the original Cowl looked like in a 2 color striping version. Above you can see the Cottina Cowl worked in 2 colors of Ancient Arts DK Superwash, Inuit Art and Blue Spruce, the pattern has been updated to include information on how to modify it for 2 colors.


The Kitto Cowl was slightly more challenging to shrink since I wanted to make sure that the mitts had the same feel as the original with the color changes.  They begin with a smaller version of the Kitto Bottom Lace Section, also 3 repeats around the circumference. Then there is a garter stitch section with the same horizontal striping as the large version. The Hand section on this mitt has a garter stitch gusset worked with knit 1 front and back increases and the horizontal lace band same as the cowl. Once again this is a great little project for those wanting to branch out past the beginning level , and bonus that once you knit the gloves you have covered all the techniques used in the larger cowls!


The Kitto Fingerless Mittens are worked in a beautiful Cotton Wool blend, the Ash Lawn Collection from Cestari. The original Kitto Cowl was worked in the Worsted weight 100% wool from Cestari and both collections have a great color selection.


You can find all 4 of these patterns on my website, 




and also on Ravelry



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