Knit Cowl Pattern

Stay warm with this knit cowl pattern designed with ribbing for elasticity.

Knit Cowl

Learn how to knit an airy ribbed cowl with this excerpt from "Yarn Works" by W. J. Johnson.

Photo courtesy Creative Publishing International

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In Yarn Works (Creative Publishing International, 2014) W. J. Johnson shares her fiber arts expertise with a scientific approach to spinning and dyeing the perfect yarn for your project and a variety of delightful patterns created for each of the fiber groups she describes. The book is divided into four main sections—Fiber Workshop, Spin Workshop, Dye Workshop and Knit Workshop—and includes a brief history on each subject. Johnson herself is a photographer, media and installation artist, educator in fiber arts and fiber artist with more than thirty years of experience spinning, dyeing and knitting yarn. This knitted cowl pattern comes from "Part 4: Knit Workshop."

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Yarn Works.

Knit Cowl Pattern

For this light cowl I chose a ribbed pattern stitch that has great elasticity to allow it to either caress the neck or be used as a head wrap. Knit to the optional length of 18 inches (46 cm), this would be a soothing chemotherapy headcover. I call this a “parachute” cowl since it has the qualities of parachute silk—the ability to be condensed into a tight structure and dramatically open up into a larger form.

Before You Start




Average adult


Circumference: 24" [16 cm] or as desired
Length: 10" [25.5 cm] (shown), 18" [45.5 cm] or as desired


• 200 yd [183 m] DK weight silk yarn

• Size 4 [3.5 mm] 16" [40 cm] circular needle or size needed to obtain gauge

• Tapestry needle

• Stitch marker


20 sts and 32 rnds = 4" [10 cm] in St st.
18 sts and 32 rnds = 4" [10 cm] in pat st.
Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain correct gauge.

Pattern Stitch (multiple of 4 sts)

All rnds: *K2, yo, p2tog; rep from * around.

Pattern Notes

• The cowl is worked in the round.

• Make the circumference smaller/bigger by casting on fewer/more stitches in multiples of 4.


CO 108 sts; mark beg of rnd and join, taking care not to twist sts.

Work pat st until piece measures 10" [25 cm], 18" [45.5 cm], or to desired length.

BO kwise, knitting into back of all YOs to close them up.

Cut yarn, leaving a 6" [15 cm] tail.

Weave in all ends on WS and cut off remaining yarn close to fabric.

Wash and block to finished measurements.

More from Yarn Works:

How to Knit Mittens

How to Knit Wrist Warmers

Reprinted with permission from Yarn Works: How to Spin, Dye, and Knit Your Own Yarn by W. J. Johnson and published by Creative Publishing International, 2014. Buy this book from our store: Yarn Works: How to Spin, Dye, and Knit Your Own Yarn.