Knit a Cowl!

Knit a Cowl!
One of the major fashion revolutions in the last decade has been the advent of cowls and infinity scarves. No longer forcibly connected to a sweater (as they were in my high school graduation photo), these accessories are wonderful for both warmth and style. On a cold rainy day, for example, one can slip a short cowl on to protect one’s neck and then remove it when faced with central heating. On warmer days where just a touch of warmth is needed, an infinity scarf can add just that extra layer. At any length, these are great for injecting a simple outfit with a short of color, pattern, or both. And did I mention that they are incredibly easy to knit?

Essentially, a cowl or infinity scarf is a tube of a certain length. They can be knit flat either width-wise or length-wise and then joined together; they can also be knit in the round. Because these aren’t fitted garments, gauge is not as much of an issue as it is with sweaters; as long as you can get the tube over your head without strangling yourself, the cowl will fit. In its simplest iteration, you can simply cast on enough stitches to make the garment wide enough (perhaps even just eyeballing this!), continue in garter stitch until the desired length is reached, cast off, and sew the two ends together. Of course, the mixture of yarn, color, stitch pattern, and design is what makes or breaks a garment – and for a cowl, the combinations are potentially endless.

Interested in learning a new stitch? A cowl might be the perfect project, as it’s shorter than a scarf with little or no shaping. For advanced techniques like brioche, color patterning beyond stripes, and entrelac, this gives you the ability to concentrate on the stitch pattern. Techniques that result in multiple-stranded fabric, like stranded or double knitting, will result in an extra-warm garment; for many people, this heft is especially welcome around the neck. And, conversely, an intricate lace pattern in a skinny yarn will create the perfect cowl for a warm-weather climate.

It’s tempting to simply grab a book of stitch patterns or technique directions, decide on something relatively straightforward, and create one’s own cowl, but why not take a virtual stroll through Ravelry and peruse the imaginations of those who have gone before us? With 1003 hits using the world “cowl”, there’s a lot of eye candy to enjoy. Find something different, download the pattern, and go to a local yarn store to find the yarn. You’ll be supporting small businesses as well as independent designers, and you’ll be on your way to a quick gift or snazzy new accessory for the upcoming cold months.

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Content copyright © 2022 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.