Small-Project Spinalong: My Energized-Singles Cowl

I needed a small, instant gratification spinning project—energized singles fit the bill!

Elizabeth Prose May 20, 2020 - 4 min read

Small-Project Spinalong: My Energized-Singles Cowl Primary Image

Energized singles give this knitted cowl a three-dimensional quality. Shown after blocking. Photos by Elizabeth Prose

The response this year to our annual spinalong was tremendous, and after the Spin Off Mitt-along ended on March 20, 2020, many of us were spending much more time at home due to the pandemic. Several participants requested a new spinalong to continue the fun, so I began an Unofficial Small-Project Spinalong. Here’s my “what I did during the shutdown” project.

First, a few words on how I selected my spinning project. I needed a project that provided instant gratification. I wanted to spin and get something on my knitting needles without too much planning and concentration. My default yarn tends to be on the thinner side, so the pattern needed to use laceweight. Also, the stitch pattern had to be easy to memorize. My search led me to try a spinning project using energized singles.

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Elizabeth spun a gradient singles yarn with Creative Space Fiber Arts’ Mishap on Mars in Bluefaced Leicester for her Stone & Fire Cowl.

The pattern I chose, the Stone & Fire Cowl by Amy Tyler from the Spin Off special issue Spin + Knit 2017, knit up beautifully in the gradient-dyed braid I bought myself for Valentine’s Day this year. Amy wrote in depth about spinning and knitting with energized singles in the Spring 2018 issue of Spin Off, but you can find all of this great information on our website, too.


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Elizabeth used a lazy kate to tension her energized yarn.

Spinning for energized singles allowed me to use up all of the nervous coronavirus energy I was storing in my system. A little extra twist in the yarn was a bonus! Plus, there’s no need to ply the singles or finish the yarn. Yes, you read that correctly. I could skip these often-required steps. I could knit straight off of the bobbin. Isn’t the yarn prone to kinking, you ask? Well, yes, but I followed Amy’s advice and tensioned the bobbin on my lazy kate, and I had little trouble knitting once I cast on and got started.

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The three-dimensional fabric before blocking. Notice the bias to the stitch pattern.

In no time, I was binding off. Amy also suggests blocking with a light touch. I didn’t want to lose all of the three-dimensional qualities that drew me to the cowl in the first place. I laid out my cowl to dry without pulling out the peaks and valleys in the stitch pattern. And instead of using buttons, which I could not go to the store to buy (some things just must be chosen in person), I used a kilt pin to secure the cowl.

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Elizabeth finished her Stone & Fire Cowl in just a few weeks and secured it with a kilt pin.

If you are looking for an informal group to spin and make with, join us over on Ravelry. It’s not too late—much like the current COVID-19 situation, there’s no planned end date for this easy-going gathering of makers.

Hope you’ll stop by and spin!


Associate Editor of Spin Off and PieceWork magazines.