Winter Woollen Cowl Pattern

Clockwise from top left: Rainbow knitted cowl using two different yarns; Crochet cowl using found yarn; Blue knitted cowl using two different yarns; Crochet cowl with seconds wool. Photos by Robyn Rosenfeldt

Most people have a preference for either crocheting or knitting, so here’s a pattern for each. These are super simple patterns that will make you a beautiful woollen cowl to keep your neck warm in the cooler months.

These cowls can be made with any type of wool. Be on the lookout at op shops and markets for recycled or leftover yarn. Swap with friends or raid mum or grandma’s stash. These also suit homespun yarns if you are a spinner or if you know a spinner.

CROCHET COWL

Wool: 8 ply, 10 ply or 12 ply.

Crochet hook: Use 4.00, 4.50 and 5.00 mm crochet hooks, based upon the yarn and your particular tension when working. Choose a yarn for the project and then use a crochet hook size that gives a loose stitch. For example, if using an 8 ply yarn, use a 4.00 and a 4.50 hook.

The success of this is that a loose stitch creates a cowl that has drape and is soft in texture. A too small hook creates a too firm fabric that will not snug your neck and drape attractively. Before you start the project, loosely crochet a small length of chains and treble stitch into them to get the feel of the wool, your tension and the hook size.

  1. To start the crochet cowl, loosely crochet a chain that will fit around your forehead and back of head. Join and form a circle like a daisy chain. This is the top edge of the cowl.
  2. Chain 3 and in each chain stitch of the loop you have created, make a treble stitch. Continue around the chain circle before joining the first row. Make sure that this first row of treble is lying flat, not twisted.
  3. For the second row, chain 3 and continue building rows of your cowl in treble until you have completed 14 rows. Slip over your head and try for fit. If you want a cowl with more folds around the neck, crochet some extra rows. Otherwise finish the piece by sewing the ‘finishing’ and ‘starting’ tail threads.

VARIATION

For a fuller, bell-shaped cowl, after 7 rows of treble, change to a larger crochet hook and crochet further rows to a length that suits you.

Mixed cowls, clockwise from top left; rainbow knit with two yarns, knit stocking stitch with stripes, purple crochet, mustard crochet, crochet with bell shape and knit with two yarns;
Knitted cowl using stocking stich at 50cm long, ready for casting off;

KNITTED COWL

Wool: 10 ply or 12 ply.

Needles: 6–10 mm needles.

  1. Cast on 26 stitches or more if you want more folds in your cowl.
  2. In plain stitch, knit as many rows as needed until a measurement of 50 cm is reached. This is to be measured laid flat without stretching the fabric. If you prefer stocking stitch, knit one row, purl one row and repeat.
  3. Cast off. Leave a tail to stitch the cowl sides together. Stitch the two short sides together using overcast stitch, looping through the cast on and cast off edge.
Knitted cowl using stocking stitch and naturally dyed wool.

VARIATIONS

  • Use two different yarns, one 10 ply or 12 ply, and one 4 ply or 5 ply. Combine yarns to form a single thread. Knit as usual, keeping two threads together.
  • Sew some buttons on one of the short sides of the knitted cowl rectangle. No need to sew up the cowl. Just loop the buttons through the loosely knitted fabric. No need to construct buttons holes, as the loose knit will easily house the buttons being inserted to join the short ends of the cowl. Button up to form the cowl.
  • To make a cowl that you can wrap twice around your neck, knit until it measures 150 cm long.

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