by Ysolda December 07, 2020 3 min read

Lightweight cowls are the perfect beautiful accessory for knitters who want to create with those precious single skeins of sock yarn. Ideal for Spring knitting projects, they can be the perfect alternatives to a scarf or knitted shawl, and make wonderful knitted gifts.

Our founder Ysolda Teague writes about lightweight cowls - one of her favourite projects to knit and design.

I ride my bike to work every day, (almost) no matter what the weather. Most mornings I drop our daughter off at school and continue past the sea and along old railway paths to the studio. There’s a segment that follows a busy road, the dump and an out of use but still stinky sewage treatment plant, but it’s still a pretty idyllic commute, especially compared to the rush hour city centre traffic I was used to dealing with. In some ways this time of year is the hardest to dress for, I’m too lazy to change when I get to work, and it seems a bit ridiculous to need special clothing just to ride to work — I did buy really good waterproof trousers this winter and can’t believe how long I got by without them. In the winter I don’t need to worry about overheating and just layer up, but right now the weather is wildly changeable, and I find that even if I don’t need a sweater or coat while cycling my neck and hands still get cold.

Image of the sea over an iron fence, the light is golden as the sun is about to set.

I love knitting and designing shawls, but I don’t end up wearing them very much anymore. Much as I like the jaunty image of cycling along with my scarf fluttering behind me, the reality is that the wind is constantly changing direction, especially close to the sea. Wearing a shawl and a scarf is more likely to result in the ends getting dangerously caught up in my spokes or the wind snatching it out to sea before I have a chance to react.

Lightweight cowls are the perfect alternative to a shawl or scarf when you want to be able to toss something on quickly and know it will stay in place. I’ve really enjoyed designing them over the last few years and now have a few options to fit different styles. These are all one skein projects — I often find a single skein shawlette is kind of a pain to wear, so these are a really nice way to make the most of a special skein.

Three of our cowl patterns that fall into this sweet spot; Poza, Thebe and Fraxinus.

Image of two black skinned women facing each other and smiling. They are both wearing a cowl - a green one on the left and a purple one on the right.


Fraxinus is an elegantly shaped cowl worked in the round from the top down, the stitch patterns all feature the same, repeated ‘v’ shape formed from simple yarn overs, decreases and slipped stitch cables. By progressively working these further apart the fabric becomes less dense and the cowl widens to flow over the shoulders — without any change in stitch count. The repeated elements and lack of shaping make for a fun project that’s interesting without requiring too much concentration.

Two dark skinned women stand beside each other in front of a glass shop window. One is looking ahead and wears a golden cowl with white tshirt, and the other is smiling and looks to the side wearing a white tshirt and purple cowl.


Poza makes the most of a single skein of a luxurious yarn. It's worked in the round from the bottom up with gentle shaping to taper it towards the neck. It’s long enough to drape in beautiful, soft folds or to pull up on the coldest days. Poza was designed as part of Knitworthy 5 last autumn and is knitted up here in The Uncommon Thread Heavenly Fingering. Would you like an uncommonly soft cowl? We have kits available here.

An image of a white skinned woman wearing a blue cowl. The cowl is shaped like a shawl with the point at the front.


Thebe has the look of a top-down triangular point in front, kerchief style, but the fact that it’s a loop prevents it from slipping off. I love this style for cycling or walking on our windy beaches. Thebe was originally designed for our club, and could be the perfect use for a precious single skein of luxurious sock yarn.

Are you feeling inspired? A lightweight cowl can be the ideal project to pick up and put down as you work on other things. It's time to enjoy our loved single skeins and turn them into something to see, and enjoy every day. Cycling is optional.


Browse cowl patterns




Ysolda designs knitting patterns, spent years teaching at events and loves to find new yarns and books to share.

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