My preferred knitted gifts these days are cowls. Done on larger needles, anywhere from size 9 to 15, they go very quickly and are a great way to use stashed yarns. Moreover I've discovered that I actually prefer wearing cowls with much of my heavy outerwear (cold is a way of life in New England!), because they don't lump up inside the jacket and create the Michelin Man look, and they can also be pulled up in the back, if they're sufficiently wide, to serve doubly, as both neck-warmer and hat. When I make a cowl for a friend, I don't feel as if I'm giving something just for the sake of giving, because I actually wear these things myself, plus I have the satisfaction of creating space in my stash for cramming in new purchases. Amen.
So, when a book about cowls crossed my desk recently, I was extremely interested to peruse the patterns, which are plentiful, and dream of future cowl projects.
This beautiful, if unfortunately named design, gives you lots of cable practice without locking you into the months (years?) that a comparably-patterned sweater would entail, and when you're finished you've got this classy hybrid cowl-capelet that's both gorgeous and super-warm. (This is definitely on my to-do list for moi). The cover illustration, similarly offers coin stitch and applied I-cord practice, and looks like it's a lot of fun to work up.
So, not only am I going to recommend this book to you, gentle knitters, but I'm also going to offer a free copy, courtesy of the publisher, to the first reader who correctly identifies the following lines:
...I like a cowl;
I like a prophet of the soul;
And on my heart monastic aisles
Fall like sweet strains or pensive smiles:
Yet not for all his faith can see
Would I that cowléd churchman be.
NB: We have a winner, Bonney, and a runner-up already, and it's still 6 December. So, contest closed for the nonce. Bonney, will you please email me via the button on my blogger.com profile with the address to which you want the book sent? I need it by tomorrow midnight (12/7), else I move on to the next runner-up. Happy Chanukah to all.