However, this time my son-in-law first requested a men's cowl or gaitor to go with the new beanie. He wanted to keep his neck warm in winter weather without bothering with the ends of a dangling scarf. Also, if the cowl fitted well, he could bring the top edge over his mouth and neck if confronted with frigid blasts. I had some difficulty finding a pattern with the exact dimensions, style, texture and stitches. Therefore, the resulting piece became a combination of photos, basic knowledge, and trial and error. I started with a 3 pack of Lion Brand Vana's Choice worsted yarn in Grey Marble that I had ordered via the internet. I really liked the black flecks that ran randomly through the yarn and decided to add comparable black yarn that I had in my stash for accents.
Most of the patterns that I found called for bulky yarn or were too big to be comfortable or to fit his style. I did find a couple of patterns with complicated stitches. I tried them out, but I determined that I could not easily do the project and watch my nighttime programs with my husband. Therefore, I resorted to my tried and true Half Double Crochet. Since I began my the cowl with a Half DoubleCrochet Foundation Stitch, I was off to a good start. The initial Foundation Chain of 67 stitches was just right for Gabe. For a larger man, you might want to go up to 70-75 stitches. Actually, several times I chained and crocheted a few rows as I tried the piece on and looked in the mirror to get the right size. When I was pleased I continued on to complete the work. After the foundation chain, I crocheted an additional row of black before switching to the Grey Marble for 19 rows. I ended the cowl with two rows of black.
The dimensions for this rather fitted cowl were: circumference = 22 inches and height = 7 1/2 inches). For a man who wears large or extra large, I would extend the circumference to 24 inches and add another inch to the height for 8 1/2 inches.
The accompanying beanie was also crocheted in Grey Marble with Black accents. Here I used my favorite Lakeside Beanie designed by 5 Knots North. I adjusted the number of stitches in the crown from 70 to 66 to give a slightly tighter fit. As I had made this hat for Gabe before, I knew what to look for. The hat starts with an expanding circle of Double Crochet stitches at the crown and continues with the same final number for three rows as you start to form the sides. Then you transition to alternating Front Post Double Crochet and Back Post Double Crochet to achieve the ribbed feature. To get that cozy, warm feeling, continue to just below the ears.
I still had enough Grey Marble for a set of Men's mittens, and I was determined to teach myself how to crochet a thumb with a gusset. Mastering this technique had been a goal of mine for several years, and now I had the perfect opportunity. Again, size became a challenge as the typical men's mitten was much to large (9+ inch circumference below the thumb) and I needed a circumference of about 8 inches. The pattern I chose was Basic Men's Mittens- Free Crohet Pattern from Love Life Yarns. I shortened the cuff as well as the length of finger portion. Then I continued to round out the top. Once more, I added a black accent to be consistent with the other pieces. I crocheted a row of Half Double Crochet to the bottom of the cuff after I had finished the mitten.
As always, I welcome your feedback and reflections. Please join me on my stitching journey.