I think it is safe to say that fall is upon us. The trees are changing color, everything looks pretty (I like fall) and the wolflings play with fallen leaves. It gets dark much earlier than before, it’s windy, and it rains a lot. And it’s getting colder. If you haven’t knit yourself a cowl yet, it’s about time! To get you inspired, I’ve picked out 16 well-liked cowls, eight for purchase and eight free.
We start off with textured cowls featuring cables, knit and purl designs and every stitch pattern that looks three-dimensional. Among these types of knits, you often find some well suited for men – in case you know of one who might be complaining about the cold wind.
First off, we have the Ranger Cowl by Michael Vloedman. As someone who loves fantasy and costumes, I just had to include it. If you pull the hood up, it looks like it’s straight out of a fantasy novel. But with it down it becomes a piece you can wear every day with your casual clothes. And it looks good on men as well, especially the bearded and longhaired variety. It is a bit flashy, though. This cowl is available for purchase for USD 8.33.
Next up, the Treppenviertel Cowl by Nicola Susen. A little “Lokalpatriotismus” (local patriotism) for you, since I am a “Hamburger Deern” through and through. It’s a ribbed turtleneck cowl that looks good on both men and women. Also suitable for everyday casual wear. And it will undoubtedly keep your neck warm during this cold, windy and wet season (a very Hamburgian cowl, indeed). You can buy the cowl for €3.50 (~ USD 4.15), or the entire Treppenviertel set also featuring gloves, hat, and socks for €12.00 (~ USD 14.20).
Valanar Cowl by Elena Nodel (who sadly passed away this year) is another close fitting turtleneck cowl. This time with a beautiful cable design. It would look good under any jacket or coat and is a bit more elegant than the previous ones and would work well with business clothes as well as everyday wear. The cowl is available separately for USD 5.95 or as a set including mittens and a hat for USD 11.90.
Oats is a wonderful and easy pattern by tincanknits and part of their “Simple Collection,” a collection of patterns well suited for beginners. (The Flax Light I had knit previously is also a part of this). It’s unisex and available in two sizes.
Next up we have a very Japanese pattern: Cupido by Hiroko Fukatsu. It’s a classic, elegant and feminine if knit with the Rowan Kid Classic, but can be fun and bright if knit in a multicolored yarn. (That easy elegance is what makes it so typically Japanese to us Westerners.)
Another very feminine cowl is Wolkig by Martina Behm. It is so soft and fluffy and in that light grey color she chose, it certainly looks like a cloud. And again it’s a pattern suited for beginners as well as more experienced knitters.
With That Nice Stitch by Susan Ashcroft, you get a pattern well suited for any bright multicolored fingering weight yarn you might have lying around. Like all the free patterns in this section, this one could also be knit by a beginner.
Now we move on to cowls knit with multiple colors. This section does include stranded knitting but isn’t limited to it. If you choose more sedated tones, some of these would still be suitable for your typical “I only wear brown, grey, blue and black” man.
We start this section with the 3 Color Cashmere Cowl by Joji Locatelli. If you leave out the lacy bits, you could likely knit this for a man as well. Otherwise, it’s a gorgeous and fun cowl. It has a lot of variety to it (good for us people who quickly get bored by knitting a lot of the same) and yet remains quite simple.
Now we have another pattern by Martina Behm: Tubularity. Broad stripes of color make this an enjoyable and easy piece, that you could easily knit for a man as well. It’s available for purchase for €4.30 (~ USD 5.00).
Copenhagen Calling by Isabell Kraemer is feminine pattern included mosaic knitting and a lace stitch. Another easy and beautiful cowl you can put on every day. It’s available for €4.00 (~ USD 4.70) on Ravelry.
I’ll Pack a Cowl for Rhinebeck by Deb Jacullo is a classic stranded colorwork cowl. The chart isn’t too tricky but engaging, and cowls (usually) aren’t big projects. So this makes it a great beginner stranded knitting pattern!
And finally, we have the Inspira Cowl by graphica. This pattern has been in my queue for a pretty long time (since 2011). But every time I see it on Ravelry I just know I have to knit it! It’s another stranded colorwork cowl, but there is no chart as it solely consists of corrugated ribbing. The result is stunning, in my opinion. The pattern is quite long and has a couple of different options in some places. It’s not as easy to read as some others. So I wouldn’t advise knitting this if you are a beginner and haven’t read and worked a lot of patterns yet.
These last four patterns are only for women – unless you know a man willing to wear lace. These cowls won’t work well on freezing or very windy days. But they’ll keep you comfortable in early fall or the warmer regions on this planet.
I am sure you all already know Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. The first of lacy cowls I want to show you, was designed by her: Pretty Thing. It looks exceptionally well in slightly fluffy and luxurious yarns (like Yak or Cashmere). And since you don’t need a lot of yarn to complete this, it is very affordable. And it makes a wonderful present for those special women in your life. It’s available for USD 5.95 on Ravelry.
Next up is Zuzu’s Petals by Carina Spencer. It’s a beautiful design and not too difficult to knit. If you haven’t yet had a lot of experience with lace you should still be able to do it. It has been designed to look a bit like a shawl wrapped around your neck. But without the ends dangling down and dropping off your shoulders. This makes it a little bit more practical than a shawl when you’re active outside. Zuzu’s Petals is available for USD 5.95 on Ravelry.
Gothic Lace Cowl is another free cowl by tincanknits. The lace design is beautiful and simple; the chart is easy to remember, and you don’t even need to know how to do a provisional cast on. You close the cowl to a tube by buttoning it up. That’s a nice design feature and gives you a chance to use up some of those pretty buttons (you do have a button stash, don’t you?).
And last but not least we have the Leaving Cowl by Maria Magnusson (Olsson). It has a pretty leaf lace motif that isn’t too difficult to knit and is again a good pattern for a beginner lace knitter. And there are matching cuffs available for free as well.
Which of these 16 cowls was your favorite? Have you knit one of them before? Are there any other cowls you think should be on this list? Please let me know in the comments below.
Only a quick post for today. I am hopelessly behind on everything right now. I have many ideas on what to write about next. But I just need to find a bit more energy to do so. The continuous fall-head/chest-cold-loop is sucking out all of my strength. I promise, there will be another post within the next seven days. So I hope to see you back here again soon!
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