Last week I had one of those moments when I had to drop everything and start a new project.
It wasn’t that I had a quick gift to make, or a pattern deadline. Nope, it was just two skeins of yarn, sitting there innocently on my yarn shelf. I couldn’t get them out of my head. Maybe it was because it was their chunky fluffy allure on a bitterly cold day, or maybe it was their soft colors side by side, but I could not resist their charms. There was no question about what I was going to make with them, the pattern I had in mind checked all the boxes. Two colors? Yep. Chunky yarn? You betcha. A simple stitch that lets the yarn’s beauty shine? Garter stitch baby! A super quick knit? Absolutely! The perfect pattern? The Portillo Cowl.
Co-author Gale Zucker‘s most important roll when we wrote Drop Dead Easy Knits was to take the gorgeous photos. Trust me, she did a whole lot more than that, but without her stunning photography no one would even look twice at the patterns. However, Mary Lou and I wouldn’t let her get away without contributing at least one pattern to the book. Gale has a way of coming up with simple designs that you want to knit — exactly what Drop Dead East Knits is all about. And she gave us just that, a pattern that’s easy for a beginner, but fun and satisfying for a more experienced knitter. The Portillo Cowl is a hit at every trunk show we do. I love the way Gale alternated colors on every round to create a textured effect that really takes advantage of the Malabrigo Rasta that she designed with. This outtake from the cover photoshoot, where model Josephine wears Portillo long, really shows off the texture and the squishy beauty of the yarn. The other items in the photo are the Glama Wrap, the Sidekick Hat, and the Headford Hat.
The other great thing about this design is that its the sort of pattern that you can just knit and knit until you run out of yarn. Since I was using yarns other than the called for yarn this was important. I love the way mine turned out. And so does Sofie. I haven’t seen it since I took the photo below.
You’ll notice that mine is tighter when double looped, than the version in the book. That’s because my yarn wasn’t quite as thick as Rasta, and my gauge was off. I probably should have added 8-10 extra stitches to the cast on (super easy to do with this design), but it still fits comfortably around the neck so all is well.