Marvelous Folly by Jeanne Long

Marvelous Folly

December 2017
Light Fingering ?
21 stitches and 41 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette, in the round, blocked for width
US 5 - 3.75 mm
400 - 460 yards (366 - 421 m)
Two: 28 inches around by 13(16) inches deep [70 cm by 33(40) cm]
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A folly, from the French for favored abode, is a structure created purely to accent the landscape rather than serve a practical purpose. It might be exotic or rustic, subtle or ostentatious. A folly often involves an element of architectural trompe l’oeil; for example, some were built in the 1800s to look like ancient Roman ruins. Many also have symbolic meaning. A rustic mill or cottage could nod to the virtues of country living, an unfinished tower could epitomize the endless pursuit of knowledge, or a crumbling bridge might hint at the corruption of modern life.

Our Marvelous Folly is a deep cowl with a striking bit of ornamentation and a hint of deception. It is designed to showcase a gradient yarn with a simple knit (and a bold finish). The cowl is knit in the round with just a few rows of seed-stitch trim at each end. Along the way, a section of stitches is periodically bound off and then cast back on to make loops of fabric, which are later worked like a row of dropped stitches to create the eponymous folly: a tower of giant knit stitches. This grand structure adds another layer to the color gradient that both stands out from and harmonizes with its background, creating a unique cowl that livens up any landscape.

Versions: The pattern is written for fingering weight yarn. (A separate pattern, Marvelous Folly Worsted, is written for worsted-weight yarn). The pattern includes instructions for two sizes. The first is 28 inches around by 13 inches deep, and designed to be worked with one set of five mini-skeins, like Why Knot Fibers’ Stardust Gradients sets. The second is 28 inches around by 16 inches deep, and designed to be worked with one full-sized skein of gradient yarn, like River’s Edge Fiber Arts’ Gradient Fingering Standard.

Yarn: The 13-inch deep cowl is written for Why Knot Fibers’ Stardust Gradients (75% Merino, 20% Nylon, 5% Stellina), a set of five mini-skeins with 87 yards each for a total of 435 yards. The 16-inch deep cowl is written for River’s Edge Fiber Arts’ Gradient Fingering Standard (100 g./463 yds., 75% Merino, 25% Nylon), a single skein with 463 yards.

Yardage: Marvelous Folly requires approximately 400(460) yards of fingering or light fingering weight yarn.

Suggested Modifications: The cowl’s depth is built on a repeated section; by omitting or adding a repeat, or by working more or fewer rounds of stockinette in each repeat, Marvelous Folly easily accommodates different yardages. For example, if you have a six-skein gradient set and each mini-skein has only 70 yards, you might work six sections, each of which has 8 fewer rounds than the Stardust Gradients version. The pattern also could be easily lengthened by casting on an even number of additional stitches, making a cowl with a larger circumference. Any of these suggested modifications may require additional yardage to complete.

Instructions: The pattern includes fully written instructions. Some techniques, including making button closures and working the giant column of knit stitches, are further illustrated with photos and schematics.

Techniques: Basic decreases, knitting in the round, casting on mid-row. The pattern includes step by step instructions for casting on mid-row.

Extras: 3 stitch markers, one of which is unique, and a tapestry needle.

Optional Notions: The column of giant knit stitches must be secured at the end. The pattern includes instructions for a button closure or, alternately, a sewn closure. If you opt for the button closure, you additionally will need 4 buttons (1/2” each, or size to fit your button holes), a sewing needle, and thread. The primary advantage of the button closure is that it can be unbuttoned for easier washing, or for a different look.

As Modeled: The pictured Marvelous Folly is the 16-inch deep version, worked in River’s Edge Fiber Arts’ Gradient Fingering Standard, in the Willow colorway.

Special Thanks: To GML, our newest premier knitwear model and enthusiast.