It’s April, and Avengers: Endgame will be released this week. In the year since Avengers: Infinity War, I know I haven’t recovered. Even knowing that some people are going to return thanks to the movie press machine that keeps on running (looking at you Spider-Man: Far From Home), every trailer has been like reopening a wound, like picking at a scar so that it takes longer to heal.
Knitting your pain is a time-honored tradition, and so I set out to knit my pain by designing a project as complicated and work intensive as Thanos’s quest for the Infinity Stones–an infinity cowl.
Infinity cowls are sometimes constructed as mobius cowls, although there appears to be some debate amongst knitters about what does and does not constitute a true mobius cowl. My definition is pretty basic: Is the end result shaped like a mobius strip? Then it’s a mobius cowl. When viewed a certain way, the mobius loop resembles the infinity symbol. Which is why when I set out to make mine, I knew that not only did I want it to be a continuous loop, I also wanted it to be a mobius, so that it would be the symbol of infinity itself.
The yarn was a big decision. I didn’t want to have to bother with color changes, and I wanted a perfect rainbow ombre that would seamlessly go through all six colors of the infinity stones. The first place I thought to look was what I ended up going with: Kauni yarns. About 10 years ago, before yarn cakes were something you could buy at any big box craft store, I fell in love with Kauni gradient patterns, but the scratchy nature of the raw wool meant I could never figure out a good project for the one yarn cake I’d purchased on a whim. Now, though, Kauni is perfect. Not only is their rainbow gradient the only one that I found that goes through all six infinity stone colors, the rough and scratchy yarn texture is kind of perfect. Poetic, even. After all, the Infinity Gauntlet can’t possibly be comfortable to wear, nor should it be. If you want to purchase the exact yarn used here, it’s the Kauni Effekt Rainbow, but of course, substitute any yarn you like (and if you do find another brand that has all six infinity stone colors in a gradient like this, let me know!).
For the pattern design itself, I knew I needed a reversible cable if I wanted to have appear truly mobius, and when I found the Wishing Cable, I knew it was going to be perfect. It was. The wishing cable is a reversible cable, so-named because it resembles interlocking wishbone shapes. The resulting pattern looks complicated because it involves several techniques that place it in the more intermediate skill level, but it’s actually fairly simple to knit.
Wishing Cable is traditionally knitted using ribbing, but I decided to knit it in brioche for a couple of reasons. Brioche looks similar to ribbing, but is made up of a two row pattern repeat that gives it a lighter texture. I fell in love with brioche when I learned it for my Scarlet Witch pattern because of the “squish factor,” which adds a lightness to even the heaviest of yarns–and this yarn is heavy. The major design challenge was to figure out how to modify the Wishing Cable pattern for brioche rather than 2×2 ribbing, and figuring out the dimensions for this single skein of yarn.
1 Skein of Kauni Effekt in Rainbow
1 set straight or circular needles in size to meet gauge (I used size 2)
1 double-pointed or cable needle
1 needle for seaming/grafting (optional)
Brioche Wishing Cable Pattern
Row 1 (Cabled Row): K1, Cable, Brioche Left Cable, Brioche Right Cable, Brioche Left Cable, Brioche Right Cable K1.
Rows 2-20: Knit in brioche.
Brioche Left Cable
Slip 4 stitches (6, including yarnovers) to cable needle and hold to front. YOS next stitch, bk2tog, YOS, bk2tog. Repeat these four stitches with the stitches from the cable needle.
Brioche Right Cable
Slip 4 stitches (6, including yarnovers) to cable needle and hold to back. YOS next stitch, bk2tog, YOS, bk2tog. Repeat these four stitches with the stitches from the cable needle.
Note—when knitting the cabled row you may want to move the final K1 to the cable needle to knit from easily.
Another note–I learned to do brioche from the PurlSoho tutorials, which means I use the appreviations YOS (Yarn over slip) and bk2tog (brioche knit two together). You can refer to the PurlSoho brioche stitch tutorial or her brioche scarf pattern for more information.
Two brioche knitting tips: I knit in the English style so instead of doing a full YO I basically just drape the yarn over the stitch I’m slipping so that they’re more clearly “doubled” on the return.
Make sure to bring the yarn forward between the stitches as if to purl between bk2tog and YOS stitches. This is how the “ribbed” texture is created.
Cast on 34 stitches. If you want a “seamless” finish (see note in the section on seaming and/or grafting) you’ll need to cast on using a provisional cast on. I used a cable chain provisional cast-on as described in this YouTube tutorial, specifically for a brioche pattern that’s going to be grafted.
Otherwise, any cast on you usually use for seaming will do. I actually prefer the backwards loop cast on when I know I’m going to be seaming the ends together, because it creates a very convenient loop to be picked up when using a three needle bind off.
Set up row: *Knit 1, YOS (yarn over the stitch, slip the stitch purlwise)* to last stitch, K1
Set up rows 1-10: K1, *YOS, bk2tog* to last stitch, K1
Begin Brioche Wishing Cable pattern described above.
Continue through all six colors of ombre until you return to the first color, ending on a cabled row (i.e. the first row of the pattern). My skein of Kauni Effekt started and ended with purple, so I did 26 pattern repeats.
Ending rows 1-10: K1, *YOS, bk2tog* to last stitch, K1.
Make sure to leave enough yarn for seaming/grafting. If you are seaming rather than grafting, you may wish to knit an additional row.
Final measurements before grafting: 4 ½ inches wide by 46 inches. Your yarn/ombre/gauge may vary.
The alignment of the wishing cable pattern when the ends are joined is not 100% continuous because of where the pattern begins and ends. When grafted together there is an extra level of “illusion,” but since it’s not a continuous pattern do not feel compelled to graft when seaming is a perfectly valid option.
Whatever choice you make, make sure to add a twist in the cowl so that it becomes a mobius shape/infinity symbol. Essentially, you need to make only one twist, but it does mean that the “front” of the cowl is being knitted to the “back” of the other side. One way to make sure you’ve folded it properly is to make this folded triangle. Note where the reinforced seam is with the purple band.
I, of course, wanted to try the more difficult option, and to my delight and misery there is, actually, a brioche grafting technique, believe it or don’t. Essentially you graft all the knitted stitches on one side, then all of the knitted stitches on the other side. It sounds fake but it works. My infinite thanks to Interweave Knits and their YouTube tutorial.
If you’re not a glutton for punishment you can also seam it however you’d like. I’m a big fan of the three needle bind off, which is why using the backwards loop cast on is an excellent choice. After grafting, I actually went back and reinforced the seam on one side (the “inside”), so if you’re feeling truly wild, feel free to follow in my footsteps and graft AND seam.
Weave in ends, or don’t–whatever you feel like doing. After all, you’ve just knitted the powerful cowl in the known universe. Revel in your awesome power.
At the end of the day, I’m sure you’ll join me in looking back and thinking it was a snap.
All photo credits go to Jessica Raetzke (http://jbraetzke.com)
Link to this pattern on Ravelry!