Make up your own cowl

Recently I made a cowl for a three-year-old toddler. Here’s what it looks like:

The yarn is Katia “Oxford,” which I found in my stash. The stitch pattern is “Baby Cable Ribbing” which I found in Barbara Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

To make a cowl without a pattern is not very difficult. Just take these steps:

  1. Decide what the dimensions need to be by measuring yourself or the wearer around the head and the neck. The wearer (or you) will know how loosely or tightly the cowl needs to be. Decide on the correct measurement and write it down.
  2. Play with your stitch pattern dictionaries! Try them out with your selected yarn and different needle sizes (if necessary).
  3. When you find the appropriate stitch pattern make a gauge swatch in that pattern. Most people need to make a gauge swatch in the round if the project, like a cowl, needs to be knit in the round.
  4. Multiply the number of stitches per inch you got from your gauge swatch times the circumference you will need. For example, if your gauge swatch gets you 6 stitches per inch and you need a cowl that is 20″ in circumference: 6 x 20 = 120.
  5. The number you get from step 4 is the number of stitches you need to cast on!
  6. Cast on and knit away.

If you decide to make a cowl that is ribbed (like the one pictured above) it is important to measure your gauge swatch with the ribbing stretched out.

How to make the cowl pictured in this post:


  • Two skeins of Katia “Oxford”
  • One 24″ US size 4 circular needle

Dimensions and Gauge:

  • Circumference: 22″, height: 11″
  • Gauge: 6 stitches per inch in Baby Cable Ribbing stitch


*Note: To make a K2tog twist: K2tog without sliding stitches off left-hand needle. Insert needle between the two stitches just knit together and knit into the first stitch. Slide stitches off left-hand needle.
  1. CO 128 stitches and join to knit in the round.
  2. Knit in baby cable ribbing until piece measures 11″. Knit baby cable ribbing as full:
  • Rnds 1-3: *K2, P2, rep from * 
  • Rnd 4:      *K2tog twist, P2, rep from *
  • Rep Rnds 1-4 for pattern

     3. Bind off loosely.


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