I am becoming addicted to test knitting! The Ziyal Cowl is a beautiful pattern that I think would work for a man or a woman. I have never tried smocking before, and agreed to test as soon as I looked at the amazing smocking tutorial the designer made. I used KnitPicks Wool of the Andes yarn in Evergreen (68 g, 150 yards) and size 8 knitting needles.
I like to provide a swatch photo for the designer whenever I test knit an item, especially if I am using different yarns. They yardage consumed in a test knit is very important, in fact I think it is possible the most important feedback you can give to the designer.
If I had made this cowl 5 years ago, I probably wouldn't have blocked it. The way it came off the needles it fit like a turtle neck. I think the cowl looks much better once blocked.
I think the cowl came out amazingly well. I'm glad the designer liked my suggestion that the rolled edges be knit on smaller knitting needles to help them keep their shape better. It was such a pleasure to participate in this test knit! This pattern is so simple to knit, but it looks like it is very complicated. With the help of the tutorial, any beginner could complete it!