Colourwork cowl

The Brunstane cowl is an ideal beginner colourwork pattern that makes a great gift. The pattern includes lots of tips and links to detailed tutorials, so you can be sure of a successful project.

Ysolda designed the Brunstane Cowl specifically to be a good first stranded colourwork project: it’s both manageable and skill-building. The colourwork design intentionally begins by alternating colours after every stitch, so you don’t need to worry about tensioning the floats, then gradually increases to a maximum of 5 consecutive stitches in each colour. The bold, graphic design is shown in three relatively high contrast palettes, and has a clear foreground and background pattern, making it easy to tell which colour you should be using when, and which should be dominant. The pattern repeat is only eight stitches, so you can find your rhythm.

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The cowl is a simple tube, tapered slightly so that it flares around the shoulders and hugs the neck. This shaping is achieved by simply changing to a smaller needle size; there’s no increasing or decreasing to worry about combining with the colourwork. A cowl is also the ideal circumference to practice your stranded colourwork tension on: working on one circular needle means there are no “ladders” to worry about at the gaps between needles, and the larger circumference and regular length needle tips helps knitters to relax.


Skills for knitting this project

Build your skills by following the links to our clear step-by-step tutorials.

Optional Techniques


23 sts and 28 rnds = 4” / 10cm in charted stranded colourwork pattern in the round on needle A


1 size available

Length: 14” / 35cm, bottom circumference: 26” / 65cm, top circumference: 23” / 58cm



Shown in Rauma Petter (100% superwash wool, 109 yds / 100m, 1.76oz / 50g)

Needles and notions

Needle A: Size 7 US / 4.5mm 24” / 60cm circular needle Needle B: Size 6 US / 4mm 24” / 60cm circular needle Change needle size as necessary to get gauge, and use a needle one size smaller than needle A for needle B If your ribbing tends to be loose use needle B for the bottom ribbing and one size smaller than B for the top.

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