Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Knitting Simple Spiral Cowls for Beginners

I've got one question for y'all:

In the last month, my Clover bamboo circular needles have seen SO much action. I've knitted five--yes, FIVE!--small cowls. I made a purple one for myself while we were at Disney World. The women in Keith's family admired them so much that I promised his mom, aunt, and cousin I'd make one for each of them. And them my mom wanted in on the action! Originally I was trying to make the Circulo Cowl on Ravelry, but something went wrong. I think I accidentally casted on too many stitches. From that beautiful mistake, I made a simple, spiraling pattern of knit, yo, and k2tog stitches. Once I understood how the pattern worked, I had a lot of fun trying out different variations on the design.

I love the way they look when they're worn!
They flop and drape at just the right angle and add a very welcome bit of texture, warmth, and color. So cozy!

Want to know more about the pattern?
People who don't knit coo over these and ask how I learned to do cables. HA! FOOLED THEM!
Jackie's cowl on the left was started by casting on 104 stitches, followd by 6 rows of k3 p3 ribbing. The body of the cowl was made with a simple pattern of k10, yo, k, k2tog. After the first round, always make sure that the last knit stitch you do before a yo is made by inserting the needle into a yo from the previous round. If your stitch count is a little off once per round, that's okay. Knit until you have 10 inches of patterned work, then end with another 6 rows of k3 p3 ribbing. Here's a rough chart of the pattern:

V = K. O = yo. X = K2tog.

I liked the look, but when I made Laura's cowl I experimented with putting the mock cables closer together. I cast on 120 stitches, then did 8 rows of k3, p3 ribbing. Then I did a smaller, tighter pattern of k4, yo, k, k2tog. Again, after the first round, always make sure that the last knit stitch you do before a yo is made by inserting the needle into a yo from the previous round. Again, your stitch count will be off once per round, and that's okay. When the body of the cowl was 10 inches long, I finished with 8 rows of k3, p3 ribbing. Here's a simple chart for this one:


For Mom and Molly's cowls, I switched it up by omitting the k between the yo and the k2tog. I was surprised by how much it changed the look! Instead of a mock cable, it creates a square hole followed by a small raised ridge. Geometric lace! I love the look of this one. Both of these were done by casting on 120 stitches, doing 8 rows of k3, p3 ribbing, and then working 10 inches of k4, yo, k2tog, followed by 8 more rows of ribbing. Again, after the first round, always make sure that the last knit stitch you do before a yarn over is done by inserting the needle into a yo from the previous round. It couldn't be easier!


All of these were worked on size 8 16 inch circular needles, with worsted weight yarn. In fact, all of them were worked in Patons Classic Wool except the charcoal gray cowl. That one was done in acrylic, at my mother's request. Acrylic looks and feels like what it is... plastic. It's so shiny, and it squeaks when it rubs the needles. It reminds me of scooting my butt on a squeaky vinyl seat. I didn't like working with it, but it's very soft, and I guess it's okay for someone who is sensitive to wool. 

Do you have strong opinions regarding acrylic yarn?


  1. Did you do this with that magic loop business?

    1. No, just plain ol' 16 inch circular needles... MUCH easier than Magic Loop!

  2. Very pretty! I'll give this a try after I finish my current project...(learning to knit socks!)

    1. Thank you! Are you working with 3 needles?

    2. Stitches are on 3 needles, and then I have 1 working needle (so 4). Here's the link if you wanna give it a try! -

  3. Love it! I'm currently learning cable-knit and attempting wrist warmers- we'll see how it goes, I'm trying to make the thumb now.

    1. Thanks! Are you working with DPNs?


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P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.