The Adventure of the Llama on the Corner, Part Five

fwf-logo-v11For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

I find that so often that the finishing touches on project can make or break it.

After weeks of fooling about with the structure, the mitered shadow cowl in HiKoo Llamor had reached full length.


But it was missing something.

This pink (1775):

Before I go any further, remember that color choices are always personal. You may look at that pink and cringe. You may hate all pinks, or that pink in particular. You may look at the full length of the cowl and feel that there is already, if anything, too much color packed into it without adding more.


To my eye, though, these foreground colors–unto and including the orange (1752)–are all muted. Dimmed. Pretty, but subdued. My intent was a piece full of energy. The crowd needed a brilliant party-starter to wake it up. Therefore:


My first thought was to throw one ridge of the pink into a garter border running right round the edges. A test showed pretty quickly that even a narrow border like that…


…was too much. Too heavy, visually, for the piece. There’s so much pattern in the center that even garter stripes at the edge were de trop. I wanted a party. Not a riot.

Yet–is there not always a yet?–the cowl needed an edge treatment. Not only for color, but–is there not always a but?–for structure. HiKoo Llamor, being 100% baby llama, is buttery soft and superbly warm. It also drapes like crazy. That’s fabulous, unless the drape is so uncontrolled that the cowl sags around the neck like a wet rag and all the fancy mitering and shadowing has been for nothing.

I turned to an old ally, applied I-cord.


There. Yes. Color (but not too much) and structure.


I Need Closure

This was supposed to be a cowl, not a scarf, so it needed to close into a tube. That meant buttons. Lucky for me, Makers’ Mercantile is gearing up to present the entire (gigantic) line of Skacel Buttons.

Skacel Buttons is a new enterprise, so I was given special permission to dip into stock before it became generally available. If you want to see the full range, you can get a peek herebut do please keep in mind that you’re looking at a wholesale site. This means you can’t order directly from Skacel. If you see something you like, and you will, ask your favorite yarn, craft, or sewing retailer to order for you. The lines have just hit the market this season, so they’re ready when you are.

I asked to play with four different styles.

From the Corozo line…


From the Agoya Shell line…


From the Horn line…



And engaged in the time-honored custom of laying them on the fabric and pushing them around and squinting…


…until I determined that the iridescence, shape, and color of the Agoya Shell buttons were just right. Interesting, eye-catching, yet quiet enough to play second fiddle to the yarn.

I churned out a little more of the I-cord, unattached,


to create three button loops. Everything got sewed on.



And, done! Well. Sorta done! Not quite done.

Because now the pink at the perimeter was so very pink that the center was sunk into gloom. It needed a lift.


Out came the tapestry needle. I spent a pleasant hour duplicate stitching  random bits of pink into the stockinette stripes of the rectangles. Think of it as speckled yarn for control freaks.






When the cowl is worn, the flickery effect of the shadow work appearing and disappearing isn’t as pronounced as I hoped, though it’s certainly there.


I think my ultimate idea–a blanket–might show it off more because there’d be more surface area.  On the other hand, the color work is handsome enough that I don’t feel too crushed. But still…it needs…

Wait a minute. Wait wait wait. This will be the first Fridays with Franklin with an Afternoon Addendum. Yes.

Our next adventure starts in two weeks. But I’ll be back here in a few hours. I need to go get my scissors.


Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

HiKoo® Llamor (100% baby llama; 109 yd per 50g ball), available in the Peruvian Palette, the Natural Palette, and the Carnival Palette
HiKoo Kenzie (50% New Zealand Merino Wool, 25% Nylon, 10% Angora, 10% Alpaca, 5% Silk Noils; 160 yd per 50g ball) – used as the background in the button photographs
Skacel Buttons from the Corozo, Agoya Shell, and Horn lines
addi® Olive Wood Circular knitting needles

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site ( or his Facebook page.