I came across this pattern (Bertrand Louis) during one of many pattern/yarn searching sessions on Ravelry. Yes, I confess - I spend quite a bit of time on Ravelry. I've even started to wonder how much more knitting I could get done if I turned my Ravelry time into knitting time. My favorite thing to look up on Ravelry is different types of yarn. I love looking up yarn and seeing what people have knit with it or reading comments about yarn. Love it! But, I'm getting off track here.
I had a lone skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted that was begging to get used up in a cowl, except I was having trouble finding a pattern. Of course I found myself on Ravelry and after much searching decided on the Bertrand Louis. The next thing I usually do when I decide on a pattern is to look through other people's project pages for that pattern and see if any red flags or helpful notes pop up. Bertrand Louis was no exception and it became clear to me that this pattern was not without flaws.
The major thing I came across in Ravelry is that the number of stitches to cast on was wrong. The pattern calls for an odd number (49), but many people noted that the half brioche stitch needs an even number (of stitches). The pattern does have 6 edge stitches (3 at each side), but 49 minus 6 equals 43, which is not an even number. Now here is the kicker - after reading all of this I was convinced that these people had it wrong and they just hadn't figured out or understood the pattern correctly and instead punted by changing the number of stitches. As I type this I realize how crazy it sounds because it is crazy! How could I not believe all these other people who had knit this pattern before me? I'm still baffled by this. Well you can guess what I did next. I cast on 49 stitches and tried to figure it out and make it work. The not so shocking conclusion (after a handful of cast on attempts) is that I could not get it to work. Part of me still wonders if it's possible to work with 49 stitches, but I'm not sure I see how. After this rocky start the pattern was pretty much straight forward.
Oh! The other thing I wasn't quite understanding is the movement of the yarn for the edge stitches. The pattern for the half brioche stitch and for the edge stitches used the terminology "wyif" which I know to mean to move the yarn to the front of the work. For the edge stitch it literally meant "move the yarn to the front of work, slip the next stitch, then move the yarn to the back of work". Essentially the purl stitch is "wrapped" by the yarn, if that makes sense. It's a very nice technique that makes a pretty sturdy edge.
Once I got the knitting going, it was a fun knit and pretty fast too. I forgot how nice it was to knit with Malabrigo Worsted! The skein was left over from a Clapotis that I made for my mom and I thought it only right that I give the cowl to her. I mainly kept it as my group knitting project, but then had to move it along so that I could have it done in time for my her (my mom's) birthday.