Gap-Tastic Cowl Again, Plus Comments on Selfies

I knit this cowl after really wanting a creamy winter white cowl. I knit, so why not knit one? Well, this is a pretty boring pattern when you’re no longer learning to knit. It’s excellent for practicing knit and purl stitches. However, it’s a lot of back-and-forth, switching between knit and purl stitches over and over when you know what you’re doing!

I got one photo outside before my camera battery died…

gap-tastic cowl in winter white

Man, I look mad that my battery is nearly dead!

That’s one great thing about sewing, as opposed to knitting. It’s not any more boring to sew a beginner skirt project no matter how long you’ve been sewing. I don’t mind sewing a simple project, especially after finishing a complicated one, because it’s fast.

Ravelry notes here. The pattern is the Gap-tastic cowl (free! and easy!) and the yarn is Malabrigo Chunky, exact same yarn as I used for my first one (Sunset Cowl). If you are just learning to knit this would be an excellent first project. You’ll be a master of the knit stitch and the purl stitch after this one!

gap-tastic cowl

With knitting, and this could just be me, I want to learn something new. I want the challenge of an interesting pattern, or at least, a simple pattern that doesn’t have me constantly alternating between knitting and purling, it’s hard on the hands. I’m probably ever so slightly faster at knitting than three years ago, but not a lot.


The only variation I made was to use three balls of yarn rather than two. This made a wider and warmer cowl.

squishy bulky yarn

As a comparison, here’s the first version of this cowl:

sunset cowl

In the first version, I only used two balls of yarn, and I used a too-large needle so it ended up stretching out into a much longer and narrower loop. I could loop this yellow version around my neck three times; this ivory cowl can only loop twice. I prefer the new and improved version!

This was purely a project where I wanted to wear the results, not one where I enjoyed the process of making it. It took me over a month to work the loose ends in, because I was so ready to move on to a more interesting and challenging project. But it’s done! My lovely ivory cowl is done and now I have it in my wardrobe to wear and enjoy.

Super-close-up shot to show off the bulky wool:

gap-tastic cowl

I went back out with my charged battery, to take a few last modeled photos before the sun set. During the quick photo session I got some awesome commentary from a stranger. Here’s what it would be like if the stranger captioned these photos:

“That looks really strange.”

gap-tastic cowl

“Was that a good photo?”

gap-tastic cowl in ivory wool

“Ah, it’s a selfie!”

gap-tastic cowl in ivory

Thanks, stranger. So awkward! Makes it hard to keep a straight face, too.

Does that ever happen to you when taking blog photos? I like the outdoor light and having enough space to fit my whole self into the photos, but I get so embarrassed when people comment!

Gaptastic Cowl (8)

ps. Dress is unlabelled from Value Village, jacket is fancy Michael Kors from Nordstrom Rack, boots are Sam Edelman from Town Shoes. Just in case you wondered!

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52 Responses to Gap-Tastic Cowl Again, Plus Comments on Selfies

  1. Fooniks March 5, 2014 at 6:37 am #

    That looks super cozy and warm. I like to wrap myself in a huge layer of scarves during the cold months. I haven’t knitted anything in what seems like forever, but I think I might take this cowl. If I can’t wear it this year, I know it’s waiting for the winter and I’ll be prepared for next year. :)

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      It is super cozy and warm – and yes, start now and then it will be like a gift to yourself when next winter arrives. :)

  2. kriston lion March 5, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    SO CUTE though! I hope knitting gets “boring” for me so I can multi-task and watch tv at the same time !
    I usually just end up listening because I can’t look up all that much yet!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:57 am #

      It will happen over time! On my first gap-tastic cowl I had to leave a post-it on top of it whenever I put it down, recording whether I’d just ended on a knit or a purl stitch. Now I can knit plain stockinette without looking, or only looking down every fifth stitch or so. Practice! I still can’t watch subtitled movies and knit though. I miss everything. ;)

  3. Becky March 5, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    I’ve been working on a Gap-tastic cowl on and off for awhile now. I like learning new things with knitting too, and have been working to improve my skills. Plus I’m a slooooooooow knitter. But I’ve also found it good to have a more brainless project going on for when I’m watching tv with my husband and want to concentrate more on what we’re watching (or the conversations we’re having during the show!)

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      Exactly! It’s good to have a simple project for car knitting, tv knitting or transit knitting. Slow is OK, knitting isn’t really a fast hobby!

  4. Jan March 5, 2014 at 6:57 am #

    Beautiful scarf! I agree with you about the difference in knitting and sewing simple patterns. I’d rather sew a simple skirt any day. And when I do a simple knit, it better not be too heavy on the purls or I don’t enjoy it a bit!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      Ha, exactly! I don’t like a lot of back and forth. Or cabling every row. I love the look, but I also want to enjoy the knitting process!

  5. Fiona M March 5, 2014 at 7:10 am #

    I’m hoping to improve my knitting skills so this cowl might be a good project for me.
    Love your MK leather jacket btw.

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      For sure! By the end of this project you’ll be a master of the knit and purl stitch. And you might get better at reading your knitting, that is, being able to tell whether your last stitch was a knit or a purl. It took me a while to figure that out, at least a few projects. Good luck!

  6. Sara March 5, 2014 at 7:27 am #

    I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since you learned to knit. I love your jacket so much. With your annoyed face and your leather jacket you look like a real badass – I wouldn’t mess with you!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:50 am #

      I know eh? Three years goes by so quickly! And yet just three years ago, knitting real sweaters was just a dream. :)
      And thank you! I never look tough. I should scowl more and wear more leather. :)

  7. lisa g March 5, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    the cowl looks so warm and cozy! even if it was boring to make, i’m sure you’ll appreciate having it. i just can’t take blog pics when other ppl are around. way too self conscious!

  8. Annette March 5, 2014 at 8:00 am #

    I love this look. I haven’t been knitting much, but this might be a good project to start for myself and maybe even start some Christmas projects.

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      It’s a nice easy project, boring, but easy and a good project if you’re going to put it down and pick it up often. It would make a lovely Christmas gift!

  9. Sarah March 5, 2014 at 8:22 am #

    That looks so cozy! I love the ivory wool. I know what you mean about utility knitting – knitting just to finish! It can be soooo laborious! I find I switch between a seamed and seamless project and need some sort of interesting stitch design to keep my interest.

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      It is super cozy, I’m so glad it’s done though! Interesting to switch between a seamed and seamless project – guessing the seamless is the ‘easier’ project and the seamed is for when you can concentrate? It’s neat that we’re both progressing in our knitting skill and crave new challenges.

  10. Kelly March 5, 2014 at 8:30 am #

    I knit one of these a few weeks ago. Most.boring.knit.ever. Seed stitch is my least favorite thing to do, but I love the scarf, so it was worth it. This project was definitely about the product, not the process, though!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      Oh yes, absolutely! So boring. But, great if you are learning! I’ve seen entire sweaters designed in seed stitch and though no way! It does create a lovely texture though.

  11. Elise March 5, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    Love that warm, cushy cowl!

    Boring knitting projects are great for relaxing knit multi-tasking, like watching movies or chatting with friends. No crazy counting or stitch patterns to keep track of. I like having both simple and complex knitting projects going on simultaneously.

    If you haven’t already done this, try learning to knit with the yarn in your left hand, or Continental style. It reduces the amount of hand movements you need to make when switching between knit and purl stitches, which makes ribbing and moss stitch a lot easier. Plus, nothing can match it for speed when doing simple stockinette.

    I do a lot of model photography in an alleyway for work. So far I’ve mostly just gotten strange looks from people. I had one nice conversation with a fellow knitter. I have to dodge a lot of cars! It can be annoying, but the natural lighting is worth it.

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am #

      That’s a good plan, I do that too, have one interesting project and one simpler project going at the same time. Or when one project reaches a complicated part, I start another simpler one for the tv and train knitting.
      I’ve tried it but it feels so unnatural! I guess I’ve learned to knit the harder way. I had a feeling continental knitting would make ribbing and seed stitch less annoying to knit.. but feel like it’ll affect my tension, so I’d have to knit the whole project in the same manner, even the swatch before starting.
      I’d love to run into a fellow knitter in the alley! I usually tell people it’s a school project so they leave me alone. Sometimes they offer to help which is super awkward!

      • lazylinchen March 5, 2014 at 11:36 am #

        I currently only have boring knits to take to the weekly knitout.
        I also wanted to say that continental knitting seems a lot less laborious for knit-and-purl (Idon’t mind it a tall, to be honest). But I know what you mean about switching styles. I want to learn to knit both ways, as I’ve heard it’s great for colourwork, since you can hold both yarns simultaneously. But as you said, it feels counter-intuitive to switch styles. I tried but the tensions is way off, as I hold the yarn a lot tighter than I should.

  12. Show and Tell Meg March 5, 2014 at 8:55 am #

    I have the same love/hate relationship to this pattern! I started one after I’d been knitting for a few months and it quickly became incredibly boring, lol. I love the results everyone else gets, but mine has been in the works for a year and a half now. Luckily I live in a much warmer climate, so it’s not something I really need. I’m sure I’ll finish it someday. Yours looks lovely!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:39 am #

      Yeah, I didn’t want to come across too negative but man was this a boring knitting project! :) Really wanted the end result though, and it’s going to be such a useful wardrobe item, so I persevered. :) Glad to know I’m not the only one, and hope you finish yours one day!

  13. Jane March 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I love your leather jacket. I know it’s RTW but may I suggest you add a leather “biker” style jacket to your pattern idea queue?

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 10:38 am #

      I love that idea!

      • Amanda March 5, 2014 at 11:08 am #

        YES PLEASE!!!! Ever since I saw you model your orange sweater with that jacket I’ve been totally obsessed with the idea of making my own (I’m not creepy, I swear LOL) – yours is totally a perfect combination of rugged biker and tailored chic…. if you replicated that into a pattern I’d buy it in a heartbeat!! :D

        • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 11:24 am #

          It’s a pretty awesome jacket, I love it. It would be a great project to sew! You’d need to get good quality zippers so it doesn’t look homemade, but it’s not hard to sew. Just a lot of seams and zippers. There are similar patterns out there but it’s very easy for the garment to look too boxy, or too much like an actual biker’s jacket. There’s a balance to creating just the right look in this type of garment. I’ll add it to my neverending list of things I’d like to design! Need more hours in the day :)

          • Amanda March 18, 2014 at 10:27 am #

            Gosh I hear that…. too many projects, not enough time.. LOL. Thanks for the tip on zippers – good call :) I’m thinking of attempting a pattern mash to get that more fitted look, but it may be awhile as it would likely take a fair number of muslins! LOL

  14. sarah March 5, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    In the serious ones you look like Famke Janssen, which is totally rad.

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      She’s gorgeous, what a compliment! Thank you! :)

  15. Birgitte March 5, 2014 at 11:06 am #

    I want to suggest the Honey cowl – another popular free pattern on Ravelry. It too has nice texture, but the stitches might keep it a little more interesting beyond knit and purl!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Great suggestion! I’ve knit that one and it’s way more interesting, plus entire rows of plain knit stitches so it’s faster than switching back and forth!

  16. Amanda March 5, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    I had to giggle at the stranger’s commentary – why do people feel the need to share their unsolicited remarks at things they aren’t even remotely a part of? LOL. I totally share your feeling of awkwardness at photographing makes. I’ve moved to doing my shots in the apartment hallway because the lighting is better out there than in my apartment, but I’m always running inside like a scared rabbit if I hear someone coming – LOL!!

    • Tasia March 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

      I know eh? I felt so awkward! I tried to think of something witty to say back but I just smiled a dopey smile and waited for the self-timer. :) I’d be the same in an apartment hallway, trying to smile for the camera while listening for people approaching!

  17. Alison March 5, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    I totally get what you mean about easy sewing projects vs. easy knitting projects. Although, I oftentimes find myself gravitating towards/knitting up easy projects. I do occasionally get bored like you, but sometimes a project is just too labor intensive. It’s hard to find a happy medium.

  18. Francesca March 5, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Very cute:). You could have learnt one new thing from it, though – a method of splicing. Since I discovered splicing, I’ve never looked back. I hate and abhor weaving in ends. There’s feltable splicing, which only works on yarns with a lot of wool in them, And it can’t be superwash. Google it, it’s really easy, you basically wet the palms of your hands and rub the ends of yarn together. If you want to be super perfect you can unwind some plies and shorten them first. Then there’s the Russian join, which works on yarns that aren’t feltable. Once you don’t have to weave in ends of balls, there aren’t that many ends to join:).

  19. Sarah March 5, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

    What size needles did you use on the ivory cowl? It looks fantastic btw. You’ve inspired me to make one of my own.

  20. Kyle March 5, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    OMG for the comments from the stranger. When I take my pix outdoors in the summer, I am always praying the guy next door doesn’t come outside for a smoke.

  21. julie s March 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    I am just learning to knit and I started knitting this cowl tonight! This is the first thing I’ve knit on circular needles! I purchased three balls of wool for this project, just in case, and based on your feedback, I’m glad I did. I definitely want a wider and warmer cowl for chilly Ottawa!

  22. Giggles in the Sun March 5, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    I don’t like taking pictures of myself. I usually end up taking the pictures for my blog on the balcony, but I always dream of going somewhere exotic like the botanic gardens or the beach. However if I was going wait to do that then I’d never get anything put onto my blog :-)

    On another note, I made another Hollyburn skirt, but I replaced the waistband with wide belt elastic to give it some flexibility. It looks very 60s and worked out very well. It’s a wonderful pattern :-)

  23. Melanie March 6, 2014 at 12:40 am #

    I’m not a knitter, but I’ve crocheted a few cowls this winter. That knit looks so polished and professional, though, that I’m rethinking my anti-knit bias. Maybe I need to have my mom or youtube teach me again. I can sew and crochet, surely I can learn to knit!

    By the way, I’m loving the Renfrew. I’ve made a couple for myself, with two more in the pipeline. I even adapted the pattern to fit my 10-year-old and she made it herself — she was so proud to wear her very first make!

  24. Maria Curciarello March 6, 2014 at 4:10 am #

    I love this cowl scarf! Did you use a third skein of yarn just to create more depth to the scarf? I’m a beginner knitter and am trying my hand at knitting scarves and simple hats. Haven’t gotten into complicated patterns yet.

  25. Sue March 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

    Can’t help the boredom of this pattern, but I love using Annie Modesitt’s combination knitting. Both knits and purls are easier for me.

  26. fangaroni March 7, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    Very timely post! Thanks, I just learned the knit stitch a few weeks ago, and would love a project where I’d become master of the knit and purl stitch!

  27. Serviced Apartments Lady June 25, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    These are just lovely! We call them snoods in the UK I think, I really like the yellow one!

  28. Lindsey October 17, 2014 at 5:27 am #

    I’m making this right now and it’s taking FOREVER. I’m thinking next time I only want to knit it so it wraps twice (instead of 3)…hoping that would speed up the process. But my question is this how many cast-ons would I need if I only want a double wrap cowl?

    • Tasia October 17, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      I know eh? All that seed stitch is so tedious!

      In theory, if you make it once, and it wraps three times, then if you want to make a second one that only wraps twice, cast on 2/3 of the stitches. Seems logical to me!

      • Lindsey October 17, 2014 at 11:39 am #

        Ok, that’s what I was thinking…just as long as it’s an odd number I’m assuming.


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