Electrum Cowl by Jeanne Long

Electrum Cowl

Knitting
June 2019
DK (11 wpi) ?
28 stitches and 40 rows = 4 inches
in slipped stitch pattern
US 5 - 3.75 mm
246 yards (225 m)
12.5 inches (32 cm) deep by 20 inches (50 cm) around
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The ancient Romans called amber “electrum,” which means “the beaming sun.” Although they understood that amber was a tree resin, popular Roman myths held that amber gems were the tears of the sun god’s bereaved family, or drops of sunlight captured by the earth and ocean just as the sun set. The Latin name doubtless was inspired by the golden hue of the gem, but it also has a surprising modern connection. The Romans knew amber could bear a static electrical charge, and that aspect of electrum’s root term has survived today in the modern English word electricity.

Our Electrum Cowl is a reversible bit of beaming sun. The piece works up quickly, in part because of its elegantly simple stitch pattern—but mostly because the DK-weight yarn’s heavenly blend of baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere is one you won’t care to put down. The hand dyed colorway is a golden delight, and the finished fabric is too plush and light to believe.

With a halo of cashmere and luminescent shine, the Electrum Cowl will keep you charged and glowing. Make two for yourself, or give one away in the most selfless act of knitterly generosity we can imagine.

Yarn and Yardage: One skein of Why Knot Fibers’ Serene, an absolutely heavenly blend of baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere.

Gauge: Do not let the gauge (28 stitches by 40 rows) frighten you; the slipped stitches cause the pattern to pull in and plush out. It’s similar to brioche, but without any of the fiddliness.

Substitutions: Serene’s hand and sheen really make this piece glow, but you could also work up the Electrum Cowl with approximately 245 yards of DK or light-DK yarn. If you do substitute yarns, look for one with a great deal of drape and not much bounce. A woolley-er yarn would make a dense fabric at this gauge, rather than a plush and light fabric. If you love a yarn with substantial wool content, consider a fingering or sport weight yarn, or possibly go up a needle size or two. Any of those options would help you achieve a similar feel, but may require more yardage to complete the cowl.

Modifications: Electrum Cowl is easily modified to be deeper or longer. Don’t love a rolled edge for the bottom? The pattern has a trick for that, too.

Techniques: Knitting in the round, slipping stitches.

Special Thanks: AYJ and MRJ, premier knitwear models from way back.