Summer Wraps 2017: Point Reyes

Meet Point Reyes, the last pattern in my Summer Wraps 2017 collection. Luxuriously soft, generously sized, and with that magic hand-dyed bling, the Point Reyes cowl adds warmth to your cool spring evening while adding a pop—or a zing!—of color to your outfit. I designed this version using Neighborhood Fiber Co.’s Studio DK Gradient kit, which includes five gorgeous coordinating shades of hand-dyed Merino, but you could use any combination of colors that strikes your fancy. With just enough of a simple, undulating texture, this cowl makes for an engaging but relaxing knit and a great canvas on which to play with your favorite colorways. 

Because Point Reyes is a little bit larger than Tiburon, I tend to wear it on slightly cooler days when I need something more substantial: I wear it more for actual warmth than as a purely decorative accessory. As a result, I tend to find myself styling it more with pants and sweaters or tees, and unlike the other pieces in the collection, this is more of an everyday workhorse than a special-occasion, going-out kind of piece.

Point Reyes is the simplest knit in the collection in terms of the knitting itself, but it also provides the most possibilities for simple-to-execute modifications. The most obvious of these are in terms of which and how many colors to use, and whether to use a different yarn weight. While the easiest way to put together a great color combination for the cowl is to use one of NFC's glorious Studio DK gradient kits, like we did for this sample, with a few tweaks, you can make the pattern work for a huge variety of color combinations and numbers of colors. To get the wheels turning, I did a little bit of stash diving yesterday and pulled out a few fantasy color combinations, pictured below, each of which I'm now tempted enough to knit! In addition, I've created a special worksheet (link below) for you to experiment with different color options, and detailing the modifications you'd need to use to make the cowl with fewer than five colors.

On the far left, I've assembled a five-color gradient going from a soft blue to a pale pink, by way of a few heavily variegated skeins combining pinks and purples. Like in the original design, I've started with the darkest color on the bottom, and worked my way to the palest shade at the top. The bases are different, and the yarns aren't all exactly the same, but they're relatively close. If I was going to knit this one, I'd be sure to make a swatch that included a few rows of each color and yarn, so that I was sure that my gauge was close enough not to distort the finished object, and to make sure that the color transitions work as well in the wool as they do on my floor. (The yarns include Quince's Piper, Madelinetosh Pasmina and Sock, an alpaca-silk blend from Two Guys Yarn Co. that I bought at Stitches West last year, and a skein of Tosh Merino Light.)

In the center, I've put together a much simpler tonal gradient, quite similar to the one we used for the sample, but in only three colors. I've also played with solids and variegated colorways, choosing more solid, uniform colors (two skeins of Woolfolk Tynd) for the bottom two thirds of the cowl, and ending with an airy, variegated single ply (Tosh Merino Light). I'd make some slight modifications to the charts to make the cowl work for only three colors.

On the far right, I've pulled together two of the swoon-worthiest yarns in my stash.  One is a heavily variegated yarn (Tosh Pashmina) and the other a more uniform, solid yarn (Shibui's Maai), where the variegated colorway extensively incorporates the solid color. I'd knit this as either five stripes (three in the solid, two in the variegated) or four stripes (two of each), making modifications to the charts accordingly. Stripes would give the cowl a very different look, but I think the bold, graphic vibe it would create could be really neat.

While the “lay the yarn out on the [clean!] floor and see what you think” approach always works for choosing colors, I’ve created this worksheet for you to print out and experiment with, which you can get for free using the link below. The worksheet details all the mods you'd need to make to the charts to make the pattern work for fewer colors, and has a few notes on yarn substitution as well. I can't wait to see what colorways you choose for your projects -- please be sure to tag them with #tightlyknitdesigns on instagram and Ravelry!

Get your FREE Gradients & Modifications Worksheet here!

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One size; approximately 27.5” / 70 cm circumference x 21.5” / 55 cm length.

Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio DK Gradient (5-skein gradient kit of 3-ply, 100% superwash Merino wool, 720 yards / 658 meters per 10.6 oz / 300 grams), or approximately 700 yards of DK- or light-worsted weight yarn, divided equally among five colors. (Note on yarn substitution: you’re looking for something with some drape here; this is not a great pattern for a substantial wooly wool. Note further that the sample used very nearly all of the five skeins in the kit; I recommend swatching in the lightest colorway, and saving your swatch in case you need it!)

19 sts and 28 rounds per 4” / 10 cm in charted Seeded Steps stitch pattern. Gauge is not critical to this project, but may affect finished size.

24” / 60 cm circular needle in size US 7 / 4.5 mm, or size needed to obtain gauge.

Stitch markers (optional); tapestry needle.

Knitting in the round; sewn or other flexible bind-off.