Tag Archives: cowl

Fancy Another Free Pattern?

Fancy another free pattern? Yes?

OK, but before I reveal all, may I just thank you from the very bottom left corner of my heart for the generous comments that you left regarding the chair. However, I am deeply aggrieved that you’ve all sided with Stoic Spouse about whether or not anyone should sit in the thing.

The twinnage certainly can’t be kept away. Here’s one young man and his car park:-

In all the excitement of the chair, I didn’t get a chance to tell you about another project – one that you might actually want to make. Take a look at this cowl:-

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

The design came about after I was contacted by Hobbycraft (the major UK craft store chain) and asked to design something for their website. That was last autumn. And with my usual combination of optimism and stupidity, I set to work designing an autumnal project… which was ready shortly after Christmas.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

So allow me to introduce the Falling Leaves cowl. The FREE pattern is published on the Hobbycraft website, right HERE.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern

It’s a stranded knit, but because there are some crazy-long floats, I’ve suggested an alternative way of trapping them.

Falling Leaves cowl stranded knitting free pattern oak

Talking of cowls, Rainbow Junkie (love the name) has made a beautiful jewel-coloured version of my All That Jazz cowl. Her rather gorgeous version is here on her blog. I love it!


Filed under Knitting

Free Colourful Cowl Pattern!

OK, would you like the free pattern for this fairisle cowl that I designed?

cowl collage 1

You would? Well there’s a link to the pattern near the bottom of this post. Enjoy!

It’s a fairly generous one size, that would fit an adult or teen.

The version in the pictures was made using all 16 shades of Stylecraft Batik, but of course you could use fewer colours, or indeed a different DK/light-worsted yarn entirely. The cowl is worked in the round, so although you’ll have a fair few ends to weave in, there’s no purling fairisle and no seams. Hurrah!

So what are you waiting for? Apart from yarn, and more time, and the opportunity to finish all your other projects first. Oh, and I’m sorry to have to tell you but I think the cat has just pooped behind the sofa…

cowl collage 2

You want to see the reverse/inside of the cowl? Here ya go:-


Anyway, to the pattern! Drum-roll, please:-

Click here for the pattern!

OK? Shout if you have any problems. I may not necessarily be able to solve them, but I can nod sympathetically…



Filed under Knitting

The Moo-Cowl Pattern. AKA Simon The Cowl.

Before we knuckle down to the knitting, allow me to remind you that the absurdly overgenerous Wool And The Gang (WATG) giveaway touted in my previous post is still very much w-i-d-e open for business. Can I just say how much I’ve loved reading your warm, witty, woolly comments on that thread? Do pop over and enter (but only if you fancy a stonk-load of soft, fluffsome, chunky, Peruvian, pure wool in shades of your choice – no pressure).

Oh and whilst you’re entering, I’d be most eternally humbly honoured if you gave the ‘Yarn’s Facebook page a wee ‘like’, too: if nowt else, it’ll help you be amongst the first to know about future giveaways and other shenanigans. Do please share news of the giveaway with anyone else who might appreciate a bundle of luscious sheep-fluff.


Anyway, back to business. I’ve got a free pattern to share with you.

When WATG sent me a whole hairy heap of yarn, I made a cowl, because it’s cold here. I’m not joking: the Stoic Spouse has been seen wearing a hat indoors. Anyway, the cowl is a very simple knit. You’ll need a couple of shades of WATG Crazy Sexy Wool or something equivalently chunky. When it arrives, do try to resist the urge to stroke it, name it Tiddles, and install it in the cat bed in the corner of your kitchen. But be warned: this beast is strokable. Also, I swear I heard it meow.


The advantage of this cowl (other than its enormity and its softness and its snugglyness) is that you can wear it either-colour-up, to match whatever else you’re wearing that day. It’s an easy knit, as long as you’re not scared of a tiny bit of stranded work for the middle section. C’mon, it’s not difficult. What could possibly go wrong? One word of advice if you’re newish to stranded/fairisle: stretch the recently-knitted stitches out lots so that the floats of the inactive colour are long: the most common failing in stranded work is over-tight floats, and that’s summat that’s impossible to fix afterwards.

Perfect for the giraffe in your life.

Perfect for the giraffe in your life.

Now, there’s one thing we need to get out of the way first. The version I’ve made uses one-and-a-bit balls of colour A, and one-and-a-bit balls of colour B. I’ll write the pattern for that, but also for a slightly smaller and more sensible version that uses only one ball of each shade. OK? OK. Let’s go.

Size: The cowl is 76cm/30” circumference. The shorter version is 70cm/27.5” tall, and the longer version is 39cm/15.5” tall. Where materials/instructions for the two sizes differ, I’ve given information for the smaller size first, (and then for the larger size in brackets).


Gauge: Don’t get overly hung up on gauge this time. So your cowl is a tiny bit wider/narrower than my cowl? No biggy. Let’s not fall out over it. But in case you need to know because you’re substituting in another yarn, Crazy Sexy Wool is billed as 8 stitches per 10cm/4″ in stockinette on 10mm (size 15) needles, and a 200g ball gives you 80m/87yds. Yup, that’s pretty darn chunky: your arm muscles are about to get a serious workout. In stranded stockinette, my cowl worked out at 9.5 stitches per 10cm/4″.

Materials: One (two) 200g balls of each of two colours of WATG Crazy Sexy Wool or equivalent, depending on whether you’re making the shorter (taller) version. I used the shades ‘Moss Green’ and ‘Sherpa Blue’. In case you’re substituting for summat else, you’ll need about 200g/80m/87yds (260g/104m/113yds) of each colour. You’ll also need 10mm circular needles of approximately 64cm/25” length. And your favourite stitch marker.

Stuff you'll need. And wool, obviously.

Stuff you’ll need. And wool, obviously.


k = knit. (Now there’s a surprise.) p = purl. kfb = increase by knitting front and back. K2tog = decrease by knitting two together.

SM = stitch marker.

OK, let’s knit this baby.

  1. For either size, pour yourself a drink, and cast on 72 stitches in colour A, preferably using the long-tail cast-on. Place SM and join in round, taking care not to twist.
  2. k1,p1, all the way around. SM. Then repeat another 5 times.
  3. (k all stitches then SM) twice.
  4. OK, now you’re going to introduce colour B as well as continuing with colour A. Yup, we’re getting stranded. *k1 in colour B. k5 in colour A.** Repeat *→** around until 6 stitches remain in round. k1 in B. k3 in A. kfb in A. k1 in B. You may as well discard the marker now, because it ain’t gonna help you for the next section. (73 stitches.) IMG_6734
  5. Continue working around and around (and around) in the (k1 in B, k5 in A) pattern. Because you’ve sneakily snuck in that extra 73rd stitch, your single B-colour stitches will be displaced by one each round. Carry on until your diagonal stack of B-colour stitches is 7(10) stitches high in all 12 stacks, finishing on that last B-colour stitch. Note: this won’t be at the exact point where you were finishing a round with the stitch marker – that’s why we threw the stitch marker out of the window earlier. IMG_6784
  6. k4 in A, k3 in B. *k3 in A, k3 in B.** Repeat *→** round and round and round until every diagonal stack of B-colour stitches in this section is 7(10) rows high, ending after 3 B-colour stitches. Again, keep an eye on the height of all 12 B-colour stacks, because you’ll finish this section in a new and different place from before.
  7. k1 in colour B. k1 in A. *k5 in B, k1 in A.** Repeat *→** round and round until every diagonal stack of B-colour stitches in this section is 7(10) rows high, ending after 5 B-colour stitches. Go and find that stitch marker you discarded earlier, and place it now. Cut the yarn of colour A.
  8. Continuing in colour B, knit all stitches. SM.
  9. In colour B, knit every stitch until only two stitches remain. K2tog. SM. (72.)
  10. Continuing in colour B, work 6 rounds of k1,p1 rib.
  11. Cast off in rib pattern.
  12. Weave in ends. IMG_6848

Wear and enjoy.


Filed under Knitting

Ludicrously Generous Yarn Giveaway, Right Here

So. Today, we have a giveaway of such monumental extravagance that the Plausibility Police are after me because it surely can’t be true.

And yet it is. 🙂

Some of you will no doubt have heard of those fine fibrous folks at Wool And The Gang, yes? Well it turns out that they’re rather generous as well as being super-friendly. I’ve had to keep this a secret these past few weeks, but they contacted me recently in order to hatch a little plan. No wait, that’s a lie, it’s a big plan. It’s the sort of plan that involves one of you winning a vast stonk-load of the softest Peruvian mega-chunky pure wool in funky colours of your choice, so I’m assuming that you’ll approve. (And once you’ve won, it also involves me popping round to your house on a daily basis in order to admire the aforementioned yarn and stroke it gently whilst dropping hints about you lending me just a wee bit. Sorry-not-sorry about that. I promise that I’ll be quiet and keep out of your way.)


This giveaway is open worldwide.

So in case you haven’t yet had the pleasure, allow me to introduce you to Crazy Sexy Wool.


It comes in a splendid box.


And within, a bag.


Before you finally, near-wild with excitement, tear open the packaging to reveal the treasures within. Look at this!


Let’s be serious for a minute. This wool is very, very chunky (a massive 7 stitches per 10cm – woah!) And very, very soft. And it’s fluffy. Yes I confess that I didn’t pay for this gorgeous collection, but I’m a mean and cynical old curmudgeon, so I’d cheerfully tell you ‘It’s rubbish’ if that was what I thought. But you know, this wool is very pleasantly vibrant and soft and warm. There isn’t a great deal by way of twist, so it is rather prone to descending into a floaty length of random fluff but hey, I can’t complain when it’s so soft and luscious. But if you want a defined number of neat plies all tidily, tightly, twisted, you might be disappointed. The colours are rich and strong – that’s good.


It will surprise precisely nobody that I started knitting at this point. Those WATG people (did I mention that they’re generous?) sent me nearly a kilogram of pure Peruvian wool in colours of my choice. They didn’t ask for payment, although they did hint that I might like to help with the washing up next time I’m near their office. Fair enough.


But what to make? Yarn this big really needs to be used for a statement piece. I decided to design a cowl.


Much fun was had.

I went bold. This is not a cowl for shrinking violets on a shy day. Just sayin’.


I’ll post the pattern for this cowl (free, of course) within the next few days, just in case you’re feeling bold, too.

But really, you want to know about the giveaway, don’t you? OK. WATG are offering four balls (i.e. 800g) of their luscious Crazy Sexy Wool to one over-lucky winner of this giveaway. That’s £62-worth ($90) of pure wool. And you get to choose the colours. Not entirely bad, all things considered, huh?


The usual Twisted rules apply, except that there are no Facebook entries allowed this time. In order to enter, leave a comment on this post ↓below↓ hinting that you’re not entirely averse to the prospect of winning. In doing so, you agree to your email address being eaten for lunch with a superior brand of mayonnaise by the people at WATG. (Don’t worry, you can un-subscribe at any time. They definitely won’t steal your soul.)

See, the cowl is also perfect for giraffes.

See, the cowl is also perfect for giraffes.

The competition is open from RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND, YO, until Weds 4th May at 12.00 noon British time. As I said, anyone, anywhere on this marvellous planet may enter. (Sorry, Tim Peake.) As the great bell tolls midday on that auspicious date, I’ll use an online random number generator to select a winner, whose email address will be forwarded to WATG so that the lucky person can select their colours. OK? Please share, here and via your favourite social media. You could even leave your house and pop next door to tell Mrs Entwistle next door: I’m sure she’d like to win.

So as I said, I knitted a cowl. The pattern will be here for you within days. I named it the Moo-Cowl. The Stoic Spouse reckons that it should be called Simon. Groan. I’m convinced that no court in the land would convict me if I murdered him at this point, right?


Yes, I really do have a tree growing out of the top of my head. But I’m sure you’re far too polite to mention it.



Filed under Yarn

Heaven Is Purple Qiviut. Trust Me On This.

Somewhere amidst the frosty tundra of northern Canada, a musk ox (yes one of those vast and curmudgeonly beasts) is missing a little of its tummy fluff. Not very much of its tummy-fluff you understand, not enough to leave it with a shivery abdomen, for the musk ox is extremely well-insulated and tends to moult its excess in spring. But just a few grams, sufficient to make… oh I don’t know… maybe a cowl for someone in the frosty – er – “tundra” of south Oxfordshire.

Don't Mess With The Musk Ox. (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

Don’t Mess With The Musk Ox. (Image: Wikimedia Commons.)

All I can say is thank you, Mr or Mrs musk ox. And thank you again to my father-in-law, the Gregarious Grandfather, for providing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bury my senses in the fur of such a marvellous arctic beast. image The qiviut cowl is finished! Nah, that doesn’t fully convey my excitement over this fact. How about, THE COWL IS FINISHED!!!! It’s a Smokering – a lacy but simple pattern that shows off the slight ombre in the yarn quite wonderfully. I’m wearing it in our chilly house as I write this and I feel both warm (at least in the neck area – everything else is shivering) and at one with the musk ox.

Knitted heaven

Knitted heaven

Is it obvious how gorgeous this yarn is? Perhaps not from a photo. Let me explain. If I laid this 34-gram cowl on your hand, you’d scarcely notice its weight, but instead feel the most gentle, floaty sensation on your skin. qiviut Qiviut doesn’t shrink so it isn’t prone to felting, but I have to say that a little of the oxen grumpiness remains in the yarn and it did tend to scramble itself into felt-like tangled messes rather too easily as I wound it and worked it. Am I complaining? No of course I’m not, because I have this:- arctic qiviut cowl And within this happy, simple pattern, there is lace, although it’s hard to make out the details in the fluff-fest above. Here’s another shot:- lacy qiviut cowl Some people say that qiviut is a nicer (and altogether more amenable) experience when it’s blended with silk or summat. And yes, this might make the yarn a little more biddable, but I can honestly say that putting on a pure qiviut garment is absolute heaven. Well worth the grumpiness, I say.   *Meanwhile, if you’re in the UK, don’t forget the Stylecraft yarn designing competition! I’m so excited to be on the judging panel that will look over all your entries. Go on, let your imagination go wild! In case you can’t make out the details from my little photo, everything you need to know to enter is here.*


Filed under Knitting

Look! A Competition!

*whispers* Would you like to win lots (and lots) of yarn? In all sorts of near-edible colours? Yes?

Well I have to declare an interest in publicising the Stylecraft competition below, because look who is one of the judges, along with Lucy from Attic24 and the editor of Let’s Knit magazine! How much fun is it going to be to look through everyone’s colourful suggestions and work out what would work best in fibrous form? I’m sitting here willing everyone to let their colourful imaginations run riot. The only downside to judging this competition (and it’s a big downside) is that I can’t enter it. Oh well.

stylecraft competition

Photo from ‘Let’s Knit’ magazine.

Now I’m sorry, but the competition is only open to UK residents… and it will look a tiny bit suspicious if there are suddenly two thousand yarn-loving inhabitants at my home submitting their entries, so I can’t help you there. (Actually it wouldn’t look very suspicious to the Stoic Spouse, who daily tolerates a multitude of yarn and yarn-lovers passing through his home and life.) But seriously, if you’re in the UK, have a go. Special kudos to my friend who, when told about the contest, suggested a transparent yarn with which to knit the emperor a new suit of clothes. 😉

Go on. Have a try. You might win. Is it possible to manufacture perfectly transparent yarn?

Meanwhile, there is knitting here, of course. The 100% pure, almost insanely soft, qiviut cowl is finished! I’ll toddle off to wash and block it in a moment for its proper photoshoot, but here in the meantime is a picture of when it was nearly done:-

qiviut cowl

Oh my goodness that yarn is soft. And getting softer. I really do see what all the fuss is about.

And of course I’m still NOT knitting socks. Oh no. Not even slightly. The picture below isn’t a swatch, motivated by finding some sock-suitable yarn left over from the camera strap I designed. Noooo. It’s, erm, well, y’know, just a way of keeping my knitting fingers occupied now that the cowl is finished, yeah?

This in no way resembles a gauge swatch for socks.

This in no way resembles a gauge swatch for socks.

Those needles are just are just crying out for meaningful occupation, and they happened upon some Rico sock-weight yarn. Could happen to anyone, yeah? They could just as well have been gainfully employed as hair grips. Like this:-



Yikes, when did I get so GREY? Oh, that’ll have been when the Twinnage came along. Sigh.

See, no need for any sock knitting addiction with these DPNs. Oh no.


Filed under Knitting