Knit Cowl Pattern

1 / 2
Learn how to knit an airy ribbed cowl with this excerpt from "Yarn Works" by W. J. Johnson.
2 / 2
“Yarn Works” is the ultimate sheep to sweater reference book for fiber enthusiasts everywhere.

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.