It might come as a surprise, but I crocheted before I could knit. In fact, throughout my teenage years, I preferred to crochet. It was faster and much more immediate. It took years before I felt able to invent when knitting - but i was always able to do so when crocheting. These days I knit much more than I crochet as I find knitting gentler on my hands. I do teach a lot of crochet and there is a real dearth of patterns aimed at people who have only just begun to master the stitches. This is why I sat down and came up with the Elvan cowl. Elvan is free to download from Ravelry and uses approximately 200 yards of fingering weight yarn. I made my version out of the new Rowan Wool Cotton 4ply (so soft and warm), but I'd also love to see it made in an indie-dyed sock yarn. As with most of my patterns, Elvan is customisable, so you could use all of your awesome sock yarn and get a long cowl that'll wrap around several times. And, yes, if you can do a treble (US: double crochet), you can make this pattern. Promise.
I have made two versions of the pattern - one using UK terminology and one using US terminology. Make sure to download your preferred version.
It is a bank holiday here in the UK. I don't tend to work Mondays as a rule but even I can get into the holidaying spirit. Yesterday I went to see Alice & the Rampant Trio at Glasgow's legendary King Tut's club and I am nursing a tiny hangover as a result (two beers!). Today I am off to have dinner with good friends. Outside, right now, it is snowing cherry blossoms.