Friday, January 22, 2010

Not-so-Plain Jane Cowl

I've been avoiding sharing this one with you. It's plain. It's stockinette. It's exactly like a million other cowl patterns out there right now. Who knows what inspired me to knit this really. I mean it's WHITE - the non-color - I hardly ever wear white!

It is just really not very "me" in a lot of ways. However, given that I did knit up something so simple and uncolorful, it makes perfect sense that I would do it in the most complicated way possible. That sounds a whole lot like "me."

I went to the store to pick up paper for my printer, and just happened to end up in their yarn aisle where a lot was on sale (and by just happened I mean I purposely walked down to the end of the aisle where the yarn was because...well...there was yarn there). They had Lion Brand Hometown USA which I had never seen before and which looked pretty decent as yarns go. And for $2 a skein, I figured it wouldn't really count against my pledge to Not Buy More Yarn till Stash is Diminished (I never had much faith in this pledge anyway).

I figured it could sit in my closet for a while and make itself useful for a cheap, fast gift. And white was a nice all-purpose choice. I never imagined that I'd find myself using it just a few hours later, when the urge to knit something fast and mindless latched on strong...

I would have cast on in the round, but I was too lazy to swatch and I didn't want it to end up droopy, so I made the whole thing pretty complicated for myself (see pattern below). Laziness always has a way of catching up with me.

The yarn - surprise surprise - turned out to be a little cheap and plastic-y looking, but it did knit up fast, and it is pretty soft, and the white does go with everything, and the fit is just right - long and drapey, but still keeping my neck warm.

So maybe I'm more of a plain jane than I thought....


I'm wondering if it's even worth writing up a real pattern, because like I said, there are a million simpler and more rational patterns out there that would get you essentially the same thing. That being said, if you want to be able to knit a cowl with whatever needles you have on hand, this method is useful. Let me know if you'd like any more details.

Here's the drift:
Figure out how wide you want your cowl to be (not how big around, just how thick from neck to boob).
Do a Provisional Cast On for approximately enough stitches to get you this width. I did 20 stitches in Hometown, or about 12 inches wide.
Then knit till it'll be as long around as you want it to be (mine is 30 inches around).
Remove the Provisional Cast on, place stitches on needle and graft two ends together.

Optional: I was steadfastly against this drooping too far below my chin (I like a warm neck!), so I picked up stitches in the round along one edge, knit a few rows in garter and then bound off tightly. It made it a little harder to get over my head, but the firm edge has kept it where I want it - no drooping!

Optional: If you'd like a Mobius effect, simply put a twist in the knitting before grafting (Straight needles: rotate one needle and then take the needle out of the stitches and put it back in the right way to match the other needle, Circular Needles: Just rotate and then push the stitches back towards the needle on one side). **This gray cowl below was made this way, but in seed stitch.


cheesyeskimo said...

Hi! I wanted to know if you would give me the pattern for the bandit cowl. If not can I buy it in another color?!?!

Neeka Knits said...

Hi there,
Thanks so much for your note! I do have the pattern for the bandit cowl for sale on my etsy shop located here...

If this isn't what you were looking for or if you'd like the pattern adjusted for another item you've seen, let me know! I'd also love to knit one up for you in whatever color you'd like. Feel free to email me at

- Adrienne