When Leann of Forbidden Fiber Co asked me about creating a crochet design for her Buffy the Vampire Slayer inspired Mystery Box, I instantly jumped at the opportunity. And when I started watching the show again (for "research" of course), it was like being instantly transported back to my childhood!
Or perhaps, more accurately, young womanhood. I probably didn't actually watch it while I was in high school because we only got four channels except for on Saturdays when Dad would go outside and turn the antenna so we could get channel 38 and watch cartoons (he liked them, too).
You know what, I take it back. He DID get satellite TV maybe at some point before I finished high school. Maybe. Probably. I vaguely recall watching MTV, you know back when they actually played music videos. But I'm betting I didn't watch Buffy until I was in college. Still. Quite the backwards zoom!
While I was brainstorming for the pattern, the possibility of using spike stitches popped into my head and I may or may not have cackled with glee when it happened.
Spike! Spike stitches! I liked Spike. He might have been my favorite character (although I wanted to smack him sometimes, too). It was perfect!
Halfway through my rewatching I was convinced that not only were spike stitches going to be part of the design, but that it would also be named in some way that tied to Spike.
Well, the spike stitch part was easy. I'd even done some recently for the Sibyllinity Scarf!
The name? That took a little longer.
I even read through the entirety of Spike's Wikipedia page as I searched for something that felt right.
It was when I watched "Fool for Love" from Season 5 that the name landed in my lap. Cecily. Prim and proper and evil (no, really, she later shows back up as a revenge demon!) and the catalyst for Spike's transformation.
Plus there's the alliteration, which I'm totally a sucker for. So yeah, it might be a little obscure, but I kind of like that. A hidden gem for fans of the show. And not a slap in the face for anyone who doesn't love a good vampire drama!
Here's my best drama pose:
The design doesn't begin with spike stitches, though, just as the show doesn't begin with Spike.
We begin with texture.
With a beautifully moody variegated yarn that demanded a lack of straight edges. We begin with an interwoven fabric of stitches that create crosses. A lattice. You remember the cage in the high school library? (Weird, right? Who had cages in their high school library!?) The wire was interwoven in the same way. Over and under and through in an interlocking mesh. Strength. Structure. Intrigue.
We switch from post stitches for texture and structure in the triangular section to the linen stitch in the cowl section, which lends a really lovely drape to the fabric. But not before we add on a nice little edging. But not TOO nice with softly scalloped shells. Nah, we needed points on those shells! Enter the trusty picot.
The spike stitches are an optional detail that further breaks up the color transitions and were also, well, too relevant to the theme to leave out! You can, of course, omit the spike stitches for a more meditative experience.
Oh and, of course I can't forget the shape! What vampire hunter can do their job properly with a shawl falling off of them as they work!? Which is why we have cowls.
Throw it on, get to work. It doesn't even fall off if you're doing backflips. Did Buffy do backflips??
All right, enough fun with this theme!
Let's talk details.
Worked from the point upward, you can easily customize the circumference of your cowl, which makes it adaptable for other yarn weights as well. Just work your triangle until it is almost as wide as you would like the circumference of your cowl to be. Keep in mind that it may block out a little wider, depending on your yarn. Most importantly, though: just make sure it will fit over your head!
The pattern itself features several reference photos as well as a color coded symbol chart for help in visualizing the layout of the stitches. Detailed instructions are included for all special stitches, to included post stitches, spike stitches, my modified picot, optional chainless dc, as well as the pointed shells that make up the edging on the triangle section.
It was originally designed, as you know by now, for the Summer in Sunnydale Mystery Box from Forbidden Fiber Co using DK weight yarn in a variegated main color plus five 20 gram mini skeins. I used a total of about 450 yards in my original sample.
STITCHES & TECHNIQUES (browse video tutorials here):
Half double crochet
Front and back post stitches
Chainless double crochet (optional)
Picots (defined in pattern)
First 8 rows in pattern should measure approximately 4.5” (11.5 cm) wide across the top and 2.5” (6 cm) deep, unblocked.
Finished cowl measures approximately 24” (61 cm) in circumference after blocking and 18.5” (47 cm) deep.
Here's my initial swatch with the edging worked. I love how it kind of looks like a tiny little bat! Or a butterfly?
Fortitude DK by Forbidden Fiber Co. (4 oz, 275 yds (251 m)), DK weight (3: light) yarn, 100% merino wool, 1 skein plus five 20 g mini skeins
C4 (bright blue)
C5 (light blue)
F/5 (3.75 mm) crochet hook
If you would like to modify the size or make a significant change in yarn size, be sure to follow the guidance given on page 4 of the pattern for ensuring an accurate stitch count! Orrrr just be prepared to improvise, which is totally acceptable, too!
Let's have a look at some tester photos!
I just love how fun it is to see this design worked up in different color combos!
Sandra used another lovely set of mini skeins from Forbidden Fiber Co, the Hidden Tower mini set, along with a full sized skein of yarn in a coordinating colorway. She adapted it for fingering weight yarn so that made it a bit more snug, but it turned out beautifully!
She also did that fun bright pink one with the three white stripes instead of using different colors and I've gotta say that I love it that way just as much!!
Holly used a heavier weight yarn for hers, an aran weight called Impeccable from Loops & Threads and simply skipped ahead to the cowl section a bit early to keep a similar fit with her yarn substitution. It looks like it's just almost the same size, too!
Sarah chose a color shifting yarn from Wonderland Yarns & Frabjous Fibers and I just love that you can see that electric lime green transition in the edging! Super cool effect!!
Click through the images below for a closer look at each of them:
Many, many thanks to all of my pattern testers: Holly Miniea, Sandra Vose, April, and Sarah Behrens, as well as to my tech editor Catherine Whelan — they make such a huge difference in ensuring a pattern is ready for publication and is as error free as possible! So huge round of applause for all of them!!
So how about it? Are you feeling the Buffy theme or are you going stashdiving for this one? You know, I'd really love to see a scrappy version of this design! Any takers? Be sure to tag me @crochetcetera on socials when you share your work so I can see what you're making and cheer you on!!