I got an interesting knitting book from Book City a while ago called The Shape of Knitting. At the time I thought, okay, this could be good for stash-busting, and then I put it on my shelf and sort of forgot about it.
Something clicked a couple of weeks ago, and it came down from the shelf. This time I pulled several different balls of orphaned chunky-weight skeins of yarn from my stash and tried out this cowl pattern.
Here's the cowl laid flat and without its buttons sewn on yet, making a lovely scimitar shape:
If you know anything about knit or crochet, but don't know the pattern or book themselves, you might still make an educated guess as to its construction. Start one of the buttonhole tabs, join new yarn for a few rows to make the vertical buttonhole, then merge the halves. Make a second buttonhole tab the same way, then knit across the two. Make the cable twist, which is several rows high and overlays the other half of the cowl, so... oops, must need to start and stop the yarn a few times in there too, right?
Nope. The entire thing, dear reader, is made in one continuous piece. There is one tail from the initial cast-on, and one from the final cast-off, and that is it. Sew on the buttons (which go in nice logical places, so are not hard to locate), and you are done.
Plus 85% of it is done on 9mm needles. Each one takes maybe three and a half hours to make, especially once you get comfortable with the tabs/cable part. Is it any surprise I made four of the things?
The two shown above went to my chiropractor and her office manager as Yule gifts. The one below (and another one I didn't photograph) got donated to charity. Mostly I had to make myself stop because the button costs were starting to add up.
But if you can lay your hands on the book and have about 120m of chunky-weight yarn handy, I strongly recommend this pattern. It's quick, it's unorthodox, it's fashionable, and it's fun.