One Ball Wonders: Barnacle Pattern Revisited

Orphan balls of yarn.  Every knitter has them.  Sometimes I buy a bit too much for a project, couldn't resist a little gem in a sale bin, or became infatuated with a de-stashing listing on Facebook Marketplace.  And as a result, I have one ball of this, ball and a half of that - you get the picture.

So, I've been trying to figure out ways to start using up some of my bits and bobs. Enter the "one-ball wonder" type of pattern. I've made use of these in the past, but this time decided I'd try to come up with a few on my own.

If you follow my blog, you already know I've developed a fondness for mock cables (which I've dubbed the barnacle stitch), so I've come up with a couple of quick projects that can help use up smaller quantities of yarn, but still result in a gift or treat for yourself.

The two patterns below use between 84 and 125 yards of yarn.

Note: my patterns are posted for free without annoying advertising pop-ups. I do this on purpose as some people are intimidated by aggressive advertising,  and I want my patterns to be available to everyone. If you are in a position to show a little appreciation for my work, consider buying me a coffee ☕️ using the link on the home page. If you wish to knit items for sale using my patterns, please credit me as the designer and do not underprice your work!

Barnacle Wrist Warmers

I had about half a ball of Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend left after making a cowl.  I wondered if I'd get anything else from it.

Happily, I had enough to make a set of wrist warmers, finished measurements 2.75 inches wide (unstretched) and 7.5 inches long.  I have large hands and these easily fit me.  This stitch pattern has a lot of stretch to it.

The overall length was dictated by the yarn I had available.  I suggest you weigh your yarn on a kitchen scale before starting, divide the number by 2 so you know how much yarn you have to devote to each one.  

This is a great stash buster project and could easily be done in stripes, using even smaller leftover balls, just be sure to divide each into two before you begin if you want the striping to match.

Gauge: 5.5 stitches per inch in stocking stitch on 4 mm needles

Materials: At least 28g of Manos Del Uruguay Silk Blend or about 84 yards.

Cast on 36 stitches on a set of four 4 mm double pointed knitting needles.  Be sure not to cast on tightly as this will impact the elasticity of the ribbing.

Begin by doing a (k2, p2) rib for 8 rows.  Then begin the barnacle stitch pattern.

Row 1: (k2, p2), repeat to the end of the round.
Row 2: (k1, yo, k1, p2), repeat to end of round.
Row 3: (k3, p2), repeat to end of round.
Row 4:  (Sl1, k2, psso last two knit stitches, p2), repeat to end of round.

Complete 44 rounds in pattern (11 pattern repeats).  Then resume (k2, p2) ribbing for six rounds.  Cast off loosely.

Update:  If you are looking for a longer wrist warmer, this pattern can accommodate.  Check out the pattern update posted here.  

Barnacle Short Cowl

I like cowls in different lengths.  Some are dense knits designed to break the cold wind when pulled up over my face while others are meant for more versatile wear.  I always have a few shorter cowls that go lovely over a jewel neck t-shirt in the winter.  Often it's all I need to feel comfortably warm throughout my time indoors.

This next cowl uses a ball of Patons Classic Wool DK Superwash in Marine, and about 125 yards of Sugar Bush Drizzle in the Periwinkle colorway. The mohair silk carried along with the workhorse DK adds visual interest without changing the gauge very much.

Gauge:  5 stitches to the inch in stocking stitch on 4 mm needles.

Materials: 1 ball of Paton's Classic Wool DK Superwash (125 yards) or other DK yarn, and 125 yards of Sugar Bush Drizzle, or other mohair/silk laceweight yarn.

4mm circular needle

Cast on 112 stitches. Take care not to cast on tightly or this will negatively impact the stretch in your ribbed fabric.

Begin by doing (k2, p2) ribbing for 6 rounds.  Then commence the pattern:

Row 1: (k2, p2), repeat to the end of the round.
Row 2: (k1, yo, k1, p2), repeat to end of round.
Row 3: (k3, p2), repeat to end of round.
Row 4:  (Sl1, k2, psso last two knit stitches, p2), repeat to end of round.

Do 6 pattern repeats or 24 rows in pattern.  Then end with six more rows of (k2, p2) ribbing then casting off loosely. 

I will confess I was playing chicken with the DK yarn and had next to nothing left at the end.  The picture shows how little DK remained!

If you are worried about having enough yarn, You might want to consider casting on 104 or 108 stitches instead.  Or, if your neck isn't as long as mine, you might do five pattern repeats instead of six.

The final dimensions of the cowl were 5.25 inches high and 9.5 inches wide unstretched (12 inches stretched).  A few less stitches would still provide plenty of circumference for most people. The overall ribbing keeps this cowl tidy and standing upright, showing off the colors and the stitching. 

If you have plenty of yarn, you can certainly knit a wider cowl and then just double it over when wearing it indoors.  I did that for another cowl I made using the same mock cable stitch and a DK weight yarn. The only change I made was I started with 132 stitches and began with about 3/4 of an inch of seed stitch at the beginning and end. This stabilized the edging and made a lovely variation on this pattern.


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