One of my besties has a serious thing for the Hunger Games movies (and fair enough, they're awesome) so she naturally fell in love with the asymmetrical cowl-sweater that Katniss wears in Catching Fire. It's a beautiful piece - clearly handmade, in the couture sense of things.

Also it has Jennifer Lawrence in it, which would make anything look fabulous.

Now this friend of mine is most exceedingly knitworthy, as she appreciates both the process required and the finished product. She also lives in one of Canada's winteriest cities, so when she asked me to make Katniss' cowl for her I jumped at the chance to send a warm wooly hug in sweater form. We discussed some of the pre-existing patterns available on Ravelry, but in the end we decided that none of them (at the time, more have come out since) were really accurate to the piece in the movie. Being an experienced knitter, I decided I could easily do it freeform. My only intentional deviation from the film version was to reduce the bulk somewhat, for a more figure-flattering garment.

I adore this photo. It really captures the rustic halo of the yarn.

The yarn is Istex Bulkylopi. At 60 metres to 100 grams, it is, in fact, very bulky. I feel like the Icelandic breed, being a hardy sort with many primitive characteristics, would be far more likely than the Merino to survive in a post apocalyptic future. I used a size 13 needle and varied my gauge as needed using my tension rather than needle size. The neck loops are made from braided strips of recycled sari silk from a woven rug my bastard dog attacked, crocheted over with wool. The silk adds tiny pops of colour that I really enjoy, and because it's very lightweight and flexible it makes the cowl more wearable than the rope versions I had seen other knitters make. I also felt like brightly coloured silk, recycled twice over, added a bit of the feel of the Capitol and its relationship with the districts.

The cowl is predominantly herringbone stitch, knit flat and seamed, with lots of crocheted bits and bobs. I used stockinette to create shaping and textural variety in an attempt to simulate the amazing fabric in the original piece (which I really don't think is knitted or crocheted).

With the leftover yarn I also whipped up some over-the-elbow armwarmers fit for a winter revolutionary. I may put together a pattern for these at some point, but y'all are out of luck on the cowl.

All the photos (except the promo photo of J-Law, of course) are courtesy of Jeremy Clarke, who can be internet-found at jeremyclarke.org. I love the light and the texture and the snow! Some people just get how to photograph knits. Also my friend is a total fox and that always helps.

This project also helped me with my ongoing goal to read more, as until I made this thing I had never read the Hunger Games books. They took me just over a week, and only because I rationed them out so I could savour the story. The books were very powerful and evoked strong emotions, just like the best young-adult fiction should. Teenagers are overpowering emotion and revolution made flesh - they need books like this to fuel their fire.

What do you think of the cowl, dear readers? Would you make a freeform sweater thing? Would you wear this awesome asymmetrical piece of wearable art? What are your feels on Lopi yarn? Most importantly, on a scale of very good to completely amazing, where do you rank the Hunger Games trilogy?

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