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by Sarah Stanfield December 13, 2020 3 min read

Knitted cowls - all knitters have at least one, right? Maybe it was one of the first knitting patterns you made as a beginner, or something you like to knit in between bigger projects. For many knitters it’s an ideal project to make the most of a precious, luxurious skein picked up on travels, or gifted by a friend.

Five cowls in red, purple, green, pink and blue lie overlapping each other on a table. Part of a wooden floor is visible in the top of the picture.

If you enjoy knitted cowl patterns there’s not really a limit to the styles or the ways you can wear them. You might prefer a chunkier cowl to keep out the sharp cold wind, something simple and lightweight to create an extra layer or maybe something that feels a little fancy. What’s your knitted cowl type?

The ‘Dress Up’ Cowl

A cowl can be the perfect accessory to make things a little more dressy. A finer lightweight one works well with suits and more formal clothes, but also looks amazing with more casual outfits when you’re in the mood to feel fancy. As a project, they’re short, satisfying and stylish.

Often these cowls have beautiful little details and lace that make them really unique, and they are a stunning way to showcase a special skein of hand-dyed yarn. Knowing that a dyer took the time to choose a base, test colours on that blank slate and then produce something so unique speaks to us as makers, and transporting that process into an outfit is exactly the kind of thing that makes our hearts beat a little faster. Turning that love into a cowl that in turn makes you feel that your outfit has that same attention to detail and style is one of the best things about creating your own accessories. Right?!

The ‘Purposeful’ Cowl

Our team is full of cyclists, and it feels as if cowls were made for riding a bike. As much as we love the jaunty image of cycling along with a scarf flowing in the breeze behind us, the reality is very different as the wind in Scotland, and particularly near the sea, changes direction constantly. Wearing a shawl and a scarf is more likely to end badly, with the ends getting caught up in your bike or the wind claiming it as its own. A cowl therefore, is practical and less likely to end in calamity.

Cowls are the ideal alternative to a shawl or scarf when you need something cosy to put on quickly, and know that it’s not going to go anywhere. Cycling, gardening or any other kind of outdoor work are all situations that would all be improved if wearing a cowl, with a purpose. We’d even include the need for a cowl if you work indoors and are prone to running over long accessories or hemlines with your office chair (just us?)

Dragoste, Radost and Estimar have all stepped up for us in these situations. They’re cosy, with a snug fit, but easy to tuck into your jacket if needed. Knit up in something soft and squishy like Cyrano or Ulysse from De Rerum Natura and you have the perfect piece of knitwear to work hard for you. Thank you, cosy cowls!

The ‘Skill Up’ Cowl

We all know that cowls make a great learning project - usually knitted in the round, with minimal shaping, they are a great project to try out that new skill that you wanted to master. For example, cowls make amazing first colourwork project as you can get into the pattern quicker over fewer stitches than a sweater. They’re a little more forgiving too as you don’t have to contend with the shaping as you would with a hat. Also, if you wanted to practice something like brioche or cabling in a thicker yarn they’re incredibly fast and satisfying to knit. We are particularly charmed by the fact that you wear them round your neck so it’s easy to admire your new skill whenever you feel like it. Which can (and should be) all the time…

We often recommend a knitted cowl pattern like Brustane or Crassula for knitters wanting to start out with colourwork adventures. The short pattern repeats and small number of colours are a great starting point to help you find your rhythm and practice the technique. Hikari is a good option too if you want to try out a more textured, unusual stitch pattern and have a lot of fun making something that feels like a light and fluffy warm cloud when you wear it.

So, what’s your knitted cowl type? If this has got you feeling inspired to add to your knitted cowl collection, or perhaps to try out a new kind, you can find our range of cowl loveliness here.

Browse cowl patterns

Sarah Stanfield
Sarah Stanfield



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