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Winter Fancies: Interlocking Button Cowl

Is it winter where you are? It is certainly feeling more like winter here! On Monday the wind was blowing upwards of 30 mph and with highs in the 50s. Brrrrrr! It is definitely hat and scarf weather! Or perhaps it's cowl weather?? I do love a good cowl. You can toss it on without having to fuss with ends that you don't want dragging in the dirt, or tying it up in some sort of knot that you really ought to do in front of the mirror - although I have fun with that, too! In fact, I did a livestream video a few months ago about my favorite way to style a long scarf. Check it out here! But I digress! The winter fancies I really want to share with you are actually soft and warm and squishy and PURPLE!

Mmm, just look at that squishy goodness! This fabulous looking purple majesty fluffiness is an organic Polwarth wool and cultivated silk fiber blend from Three Waters Farm. And the colorway is called, you guessed it, Winter Fancy. I spun all this deliciousness up some time ago and nested it away with all of my other handspun awaiting inspiration.

Well, earlier this year that inspiration finally hit with a submission call from spinning magazine Spin Off and I finally got to cake that yarn up!

See all those fun little layers of color!? When I spun this yarn, I wanted it to have long color runs when it was worked up. But when I actually DID start crocheting with it? Gosh, y'all, it was like even better than I hoped!!

Isn't that just so stinkin' super cool!? THAT is what you can do with handspun, y'all!

Now, I know some of you may not be spinners. Most of you, probably, in fact. ARE any of you spinners? (Comment below and let me know!) I'm not going to geek out right now about how you get to make z twist yarn when you spin your own, but that's what got me curious about spinning to begin with. And, of course, I'm just so delighted that this gorgeous crochet cowl was accepted for publication in the Winter 2023 edition of Spin Off magazine!! It's crochet! With handspun! Made by ME! In a magazine! It's pretty exciting stuff.

And LOOK it's my FACE in there and everything! So wild. I still can't get over seeing my name in print!! It tickles me every single time. Anyway, though! I want to share two things with you, regarding this pattern and handspun. 1. You can use any yarn for this design! (Of course you can!) 2. Your first few yards of handspun may be wild and wooly, but you know what's also fun? Seeing how much you learn and grow over the course of a project! When I started spinning I was ... shocked? At how much my handspun was ... well, like YARN! I thought it would be super irregular and make working with it difficult, but you know what I learned? Those imperfect strands of thick and thin spots are magical. They are something that I created from darn near nothing - which I then created into ANOTHER thing. So taking a bit of fluff from what looks like very pretty stuffing, lol, to a functional product that can then be made into an item of CLOTHING? *poof* MAGIC! And you know what else? I still know squat about the technical aspects of spinning. I just have fun with it!! Here's a look at me spinning a similar yarn:

Gosh, I miss spinning. I really hope I can find some time to get back to it again this year.

But anyway. The pattern! It's a pretty quick make (if you're not also spinning the yarn, that is!) and uses relatively simple stitches. There are a few foundation stitches used to create the tabs and we work into the 3rd loop of half double crochet stitches for a little added texture, but you probably already know that I have video tutorials for all of those! It's also perfect, of course, for that super special single skein of yarn (even if it's not handspun!) that you've been holding onto, just waiting for the right inspiration to hit. Just like it did for me!

The pattern is exclusively available in Spin Off magazine and it's on newsstands now!

Katrina King, editorial assistant for Spin Off, also wrote up an additional web post to share a closer look at working into the third loop of half double crochet stitches, which they call back bar crochet.

What is back bar crochet? It's just placing your hook into the diagonal loop (or bar) that sits below the top two loops on the back side (the wrong side) of your stitch! She did a great job illustrating the difference between working into the back bar (also called the third loop) and she's also left-handed, which spurred me to look for a video on the technique by a left-handed maker - and I couldn't find one!

Not one that was quite right anyway. I did, of course, find one later, but in my haste, I decided I'd better do one myself! And so I did.

Now, I am NOT a left-handed crocheter. I prefer to direct students to Tamara Kelly of Moogly or to Sarah-Jayne of Bella Coco Crochet, because they both have good libraries of video tutorials for left-handed crocheters. But I taught myself to crochet left-handed when I started teaching crochet classes and I'm incredibly grateful for that foresight because it has enabled me to help many a left-handed crocheter on the spot! Even if I'm a little bit clumsy about it.

There I go getting off topic again! Well, only sort of, I suppose, since it all relates back to supporting crocheters who are interested in making the Interlocking Button Cowl. So. Be sure and grab your copy of the magazine, either in print on newsstands or digitally over on the Spin Off website.

If you have any questions that are still left unanswered, drop me a comment or reach out directly by email at and I'll do my best to get you sorted! You can also now schedule one on one crochet lessons with me!

As always, I love to see your makes, so be sure to tag me @crochetcetera on socials or pop on into the Facebook group to share your progress pictures!

Happy crocheting, y'all!

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