Holy Cowl!

An oversized organic cowl for the unexpected spring cold snap.  Ours conveniently fell this weekend.

“a cowl”           “a what?”        “a cowl.”       This seems to be the beginning of every conversation I have  when I wear a one.  Apparently the term is unique to the knitting world.  Either way,  I think they’re one of the best accessories ever invented.  I usually tell people ‘it’s like the best part of a scarf’.  And it’s true – all the neck warming with no loose end to keep track of.   And even better, this one’s organic.   It knits up in just a few hours and I like the big size and chunky pattern.

Click here for a downloadable .pdf file –   Holy Cowl

I had just enough left over to knit a pair of wristlets to match.  I’ll get those posted soon.  Enjoy!

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84 Comments

  1. Gorgeous! Can’t wait to make one.
    —Tif

    Reply
  2. if i wanted to make this using straight needles (since i am currently too poor to buy new needles) would it work to just CO 62 and purl rows 2 and 4??

    Reply
    • Exactly. That would work perfectly. The pattern even gives you a one stitch repeat at the ends for seaming. I hope it turns out beautifully.

      Reply
    • diane from maine

       /  October 13, 2011

      i made some double pointed needles out of chop sticks, thed work great for poor people like me! all you do is shave down the ends with a blade, carefuly, then sand both ends to desired pointieness !!! try it its so rewarding!

      Reply
      • Iliana

         /  October 23, 2011

        That’s a good idea, I made single pointed needles out of some dowels, it was fun and I love my needles.

      • Edith

         /  January 28, 2012

        Diane, you can run the ends into a pencil sharpener, and that works well.

      • Pamela

         /  March 10, 2013

        I use that trick too only I put them into a pencil sharpener. Works great.

  3. jessica k

     /  March 9, 2011

    I love this pattern, did it with knitpicks merino style, and would like to do it again with a different yarn and make it a scosh bigger. What would be the stitch increase for this one? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Hi Jessica, the repeat for the lace is a six, so just add a multiple of 6 when you cast on. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  4. Megan

     /  March 27, 2011

    Good morning. This is such a beautiful pattern. I am going to make is with Gedifra Baldini Colori. I am new to knitting and would like to know if when making it with the above yarn if I still hold together? Also, when you have reached 12 inches and after you bind off do you sew the ends together to make the circle? Sorry, but your help and guidence would be much appreciated!

    Reply
    • Megan

       /  March 27, 2011

      I have never used stich markers so if anyone has any hints or can advise how I am to use them I would greatly appreciate it! 🙂

      Reply
    • Hi Megan,
      Your yarn does have a larger gauge and is meant for larger needles so you probably won’t need to double it. Also, if you use a circular needle, the scarf will knit as a big loop that won’t need to be sewn together. The stitch marker is used on circular needles to mark the end of a row since you’re working in a circle instead of on straight needles where each pass of the needle equals one row. I hope this helps you get started! Knitty.com also has some good tutorials if you need better instructions. Good luck!

      Reply
  5. Bethany

     /  April 9, 2011

    Hi! I love this pattern, and I love cowls!!! I was just wondering what length of circular needle you used? Is this 29″?

    Reply
    • Hi Bethany, I’m pretty sure I used a 24” circular, but I think anything from 18-28” should work just fine. Enjoy the cowl.

      Reply
  6. marcie steinberg

     /  August 1, 2011

    where is the pattern for this great cowl?

    Reply
    • You should be able to click on the gray link called ‘Holy Cowl’ and print out a .pdf. Let me know if it doesn’t work!

      Reply
  7. marcie steinberg

     /  August 2, 2011

    i swear hillary i must be nuts.. i absolutely cant find it… lol… tell me where do you live?

    Reply
  8. marcie steinberg

     /  August 2, 2011

    ok i am nuts,, i found it LOLOL thanks so much.. i dont like circular needles so i might make it on regular needles…what size would you use and how many stitches would you use? thanks marcie

    Reply
    • Hi Marcie, so glad you found it! Making it on straight needles should be no problem, I’d just use the same size needles and cast on 26 stitches. (or any multiple of 6 + 2 ) Just knit it like a scarf till it seems long enough and sew up the seams. Just remember to purl every other row!

      Reply
  9. marcie steinberg

     /  August 3, 2011

    this is so funny, i was reading your email and looking at the pattern at the same time and on the pattern it says k every other row… i have never seen such a little pattern have such attention LOLOL

    Reply
  10. This is really nice looking! I am going to make this for autumn 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  11. Hi Hilary,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful pattern! I’m actually with the knitting website, AllFreeKnitting.com and we would love to feature this (and your other patterns on our site). We link out to a variety of patterns from all over the web and promote them (including small pictures) in our newsletters.

    Would it be all right with you if we start featuring your amazing patterns?

    Thanks so much,

    Caitlin
    Editor, AllFreeKnitting

    Reply
  12. Yup! I found you via AllFreeKnitting. This is a beautiful piece that may just find it’s way under several Christmas Trees this year. Thank you for providing the pattern.

    Reply
  13. Lorraine

     /  October 13, 2011

    Very pretty-can not wait to make one

    Reply
  14. Debra

     /  October 13, 2011

    I just found this pattern on AllFreeKnitting.com. It is beautiful!! I commented there as well, but I would like to know how many stitches I would need to cast on to make it big enough to wrap around your neck twice. How long is it in the pattern?

    Reply
  15. October 13, 2011

    Good Evening Hilary…

    As everyone has commented, your Four Row Holey Cowl is really beautiful. Now as to the length of the cord you used – I believe you mentioned you used 24″ – well to me it seems it appears to be longer and possibly 32″ or even 40″ with it hanging as it does on the person in the photo wearing it… I would like it to be long so I could wrap it around my Neck a few times…

    I am wondering how many stitches I would need to knit a longer one – will check your Pattern.
    Thanks for sharing with us all.

    I am presently knitting a Cowl that called for 24″ cord but I chose to knit in 32″ and wished I had actually chosen 40″ – so it can be a tad deceiving.. I like the variety of ways we can wear our Cowls… long or wrapped around our necks to wear when it is really cold and snowy as it does across Canada especially up on the Ski Mtns..

    Thanks so much, now I need to read the Pattern for the Number of Stitches to Cast on and also how many stitches I will need for a longer Cowl…

    Reply
  16. Sisan

     /  October 14, 2011

    Thanks for a wonderful pattern. I was wondering can you make this on a circular knitting loom?

    Reply
    • You know, I’ve never used a circular loom so I honestly couldn’t say. I’d love to learn to use one soon,so let me know how yours turns out!

      Reply
  17. cindy

     /  October 16, 2011

    This is wonderful!! I can’t wait to make a bunch of them for family, friends and myself. Look forward to seeing the wristlets.

    Reply
  18. judy

     /  October 19, 2011

    Hi: I purchased the lion brand nature’s choice organic cotton in mustard color with a nubby texture. Should I use it doubled as in the instructions? The colors in the nubby are much prettier than the regular thin yarn. Thanks so much for the help. I can’t wait. It’s for my grandaughter.

    Reply
  19. judy

     /  October 19, 2011

    I’m not too good on the computer. I hope to receive a reply to my query above. Judy

    Reply
  20. Angela

     /  October 23, 2011

    I just finished making the “Holey Cowl”. I used worsted yarn doubled and a size 13 needle but it does not drape down anywhere near as long as yours! I don’t think 62 stitches is correct. It seems there should be more stitches. HELP! Love the pattern and would love to make one that will look like the picture.

    Reply
    • Hi Angela,
      So sorry your cowl didn’t end up long enough. I know I did use 62 stitches for my version, but the heavy nubby cotton does make it heavier and drape longer. I’m also fairly petite so the cowl may just look longer in scale. But, if you’re up for making another one, the lace pattern uses a multiple of 6 stitches. So, if you wanted to make it longer, you might try adding 6 or 12 stitches when you cast on and see how it comes out. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  21. I am trying your pattern but I must be doing something wrong. I’ve started twice now. I seem to come out with a different count of stitches after finishing the first row. You said it’s a 6 stitch repeat but I see 7. Repeating the 7 stitches 8 times equals 56 and then adding the last 7 stitches, I come out with 63 stitches. THis throws you off and the row doesn’t end like the pattern says. Am I doing something wrong?

    thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Kathy, I think I understand your question, let’s see if this helps.
      The first and last stitches on the row are place holders, so the total pattern repeat is a multiple of 6 (60 in this case) stitches plus 2. In this cowl the basic lace pattern [ yo, k3tog, yo, k3] just moves back and forth 3 stitches each row by starting the row with either 1 or 4 stitches before starting the lace. Like any lace pattern, you should end up with the same number of stitches each row since the lace pattern starts by adding one stitch (by doing the yarn over); decreasing 2 stitches (knitting 3 together), then adding one stitch (yo). So in the course of the lace pattern you decrease two, and add two leaving you with the same number at the end of the row. If that sounds confusing and you’re a visual person like me, try drawing out the pattern by making tick marks for each stitch then marking them as knit together and adding circles for the yarn overs to show new stitches. That usually seems to work for me. Good Luck to you!

      Reply
  22. Connie

     /  November 9, 2011

    I’m anxious to try this pattern in a cotton to use as a cover on my shoulders when I wear a sundress in the summer. Will this be wide enough to do that? Do you think I should add more stitches?
    When on vacation this summer, I needed bigger needles to do a project. I was at the lake and wanted to start right away. I went to the garage and got an old fiberglass fishing pole, cut it up, ground down the ends and made needles about size 15!

    Reply
  23. Sue

     /  November 9, 2011

    Hilary….I love your Holy Cowl and plan to knit it…..,do I understand correctly that I use two strands of yarn for the entire cowl? I have two skeins of the required yarn…it’s very thick so just wanted to understand the directions exactly.
    Thanks so much for such a fun patter….Sue

    Reply
  24. judy

     /  November 14, 2011

    Since I didn’t receive a reply to my earlier questions, I tried on my own. I’m not using circular needles, but 13 and cast on of 20 stitiches. the pattern is beautiful, but I find it a bit heavy ( I used the organic cotton and used it double). I guess the length depends on the wearer’s body. I had to buy additional yarn. I didn’t pearl the 2nd & 4th rows,, but I knitted them. Why the pearl? Thanks for all your comments and help.

    Reply
  25. Kari

     /  November 21, 2011

    Made one using the exact yarn, needles and instructions. Turned out beautiful! Thank you for the pattern!

    Reply
  26. Kristen

     /  December 6, 2011

    Thanks for posting these patterns! I’m hoping to try one really soon!

    Reply
  27. Angelle

     /  December 7, 2011

    Hilary,

    This is beautiful!!! I cannot wait to get started. After reading through everyone’s comments I want to make sure I understand this…If i want to make it longer (wrap twice) I would add stitches in counts of 6?

    Thanks for posting the pattern!!!

    Reply
    • You’ve got it! The pattern repeat is a multiple of 6 (60) in this case, plus 2 extra for the start/finish of the row. If you wanted to double it, you’d cast on 122. Best of luck!

      Reply
  28. Hilary – In the pattern where it says – cast on 62 stitches with yarn held double – could I use the mobieus cast on. Total stiches should be 124 correct.

    Reply
    • Hi Robin, I have to admit I’m not really familiar with the mobieus cast on. I’ll have to put it on my New Year’s Resolution list of things to learn next year. Best of luck!

      Reply
  29. Sometimes I read more into directions than I need to – but where it says double the yarn – you take both skeins of yarn and cast on – correct.

    Reply
    • You’ve got it! Just hold both of them together for the entire cowl so it’s doubly chunky.

      Reply
      • Connie

         /  December 15, 2011

        I sent a request for information some time ago but have not seen an answer.
        I want to enlarge this cowl so it can be worn over my shoulders with a sundress.
        Any suggestions on enlarging it for that purpose.

      • Connie, the lace pattern is a repeat of 6 stitches. So, if you want to add some extra width, cast on additional stitches in multiples of six. The cowl is oversized and will probably fit over your shoulders as written, but I’d definitely make it longer to fit down over the shoulders. Maybe aim to make yours 20-24″ long before casting off. Best of luck!

  30. Hilary – I do not have a 13″ circular needle – I have an 11″ needle. Should I increase the number of stitches.

    Thanks for all your help.

    Robin

    Reply
    • Robin,
      A size 11 needle will definitely mean you end up with a bit smaller cowl, but the Holy Cowl is generously sized anyway so it’s really your call. If you want to make sure it’s still nice and slouchy, go ahead and add 6 stitches. Happy Knitting!

      Reply
  31. Deb

     /  January 6, 2012

    Hi, Hilary:

    I haven’t knit in about 30 years. Back when I was knitting, most patterns called for 4-ply yarn. Is that what your yarn is? Where do I get this yarn? Our town only has a Michael’s and a Jo-Anns? I love the patterns and would like to make them for my three daughers-in-law next year for Christmas.

    Reply
    • Hi Deb,
      This yarn is a worsted weight yarn made by Lion Brand Yarn. I know that it is sold at Michaels and JoAnns so it’s great for a starting (or re-starting) knitter. Best of luck dusting off your needles.

      Reply
  32. Emily

     /  January 16, 2012

    How long would you say your finished cowl was?

    Reply
    • Emily

       /  January 16, 2012

      Sorry, I guess the better question would be how big was the circumference?

      Reply
  33. Gerry

     /  January 28, 2012

    What is the pattern for knitting. Please send it to me

    Reply
    • Hi Gerry,
      If if doesn’t work when you click on the .pdf file, I’ve added a jpeg of the pattern you can click and print. Happy Knitting!

      Reply
  34. BRENDA HEAD

     /  January 29, 2012

    tHE PATTERN FOR THE HOLY COWL IS NOT COMING UP FOR ME i JUST KEEP GETTING THE BLOGS WHEN i HITTHE PATTERN KEY HELP!

    Reply
  35. STILL CANNOT GET THE PATTERN TO COME UP!

    Reply
    • Brenda,
      I added a jpeg file of the pattern that hopefully you can click and print if the .pdf file doesn’t work. Sorry for the difficulty!

      Reply
  36. apriljoy

     /  February 1, 2012

    Hilary, I am about 20 rows into this pattern and I absolutely LOVE it!! thank you for sharing and I will definitely check out the rest of your blog. I found this pattern on allfreeknitting. I am using the lion brand thick and quick yarn instead and it’s turning out really good. Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi April,
      So glad you’re enjoying it. I’ve made a couple of these with Thick and Quick and they turned out great. I hope you love wearing it. Happy Knitting!

      Reply
  37. Patsy,

    I too have dusted off my needles. I love the Picture of the Holy Cowl, I am sorry to say
    I did not see the measurments. width the lenght I think you said was 12″. I does look longer but I think you said you were a small frame. so it look longer on you.. I am making this for my G-daughter she is tall and large bosomed girl. So. I need to 36″ long is it about 12″ Wide?
    She too likes to wrap her cowl around twice. Help me with the math. Please.
    Thank you so much for your pattern and any help you will give me…

    Reply
  38. Adrienne Moucheraud

     /  March 9, 2012

    you’ve carefully explained how to increase the # of stitches but i simply do not possess the math/logic gene- so please tell me if i want to increast the lenght by 1/3 what do i do- am going to try this beauty this week-end and it would take me all that time to (incorrectly) figure the math- thanks for the lovely pattern and sorry to be so dopey!adrienne

    Reply
  39. I’m on Knitting Paradise, which is forums. Someone on there asked about this cowl. She cast on 62 stitches, and like someone else, got something so small she can’t get her head through it.

    The stitch repeat is 6 stitches, but I counted 16 repeats THAT I CAN SEE. That doesn’t include repeats behind your neck, hidden by your hair, or right at the front where it bunches up and I can’t see the repeats. I estimated that there were about 10 more repeats, and noticed that 162 stitches cast on gives exactly 27 repeats, which is about what I estimated. In any case, the photo shows more than ten repeats.

    Is it possible that there should have been a one before the sixty two?

    Reply
  40. amccain

     /  May 14, 2012

    Hilary,
    I am finishing this cowl. When you measure it, are you measuring end to end, or around the neck to the outer edge? This is my first work done in the round.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  41. May I just say what a comfort to discover somebody who genuinely knows what they’re talking about online. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people need to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you are not more popular given that you surely have the gift.

    Reply
  42. Ivy

     /  August 31, 2012

    Help me!! I’m making mine with straight needles, and doesnt look anything like it’s supposed too. I’m not ending up with 7 or 4 at the ends either

    Reply
  43. Bonnie

     /  November 1, 2012

    What a gorgeous pattern- I’m going to knit it this weekend ! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  44. Roselyn Babcock

     /  November 29, 2012

    I have started knitting this pattern for the cowl and it is more than 12″ long doesn’t look anything like the picture–how wide should it be??? doing it on straight needles so how long do I make it???

    Reply
  45. Crystal

     /  January 14, 2013

    Hilary,

    I will be knitting this on straight needles, if I purl the first and third row instead of knit them , is it going to curl in like a stockinette stitch?

    Thanks

    Reply
  46. Thank you for sharing this pattern.

    Reply
  47. So you knit with 2 strands of each yarn at the same time?

    Reply
  48. Sandy

     /  January 19, 2013

    So I can use straight needles to make this beautiful cowl, the part I am confused about is why do I have to purl instead of knit? I hate purling

    Reply
  49. Nancy

     /  January 20, 2013

    I am using straight needles. Impossible to knit 3 tog, very hard.

    Reply
  50. Hello Hilary,

    Thanks for such an awesome pattern!! I’m knitting it up on straight needles right now, and am anxious to finish it. 🙂 Would you mind if I linked this post to my blog, when I post pictures of the finished product?

    ~Calliope

    Reply
  51. Susan

     /  April 11, 2013

    Stunning pattern. Will have to knit one to wear very soon. Have so many lovely projects in my head all I need is oodles of time. I saw this on All Free Knitting. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  52. pat

     /  April 12, 2013

    can i substitute using bulky yarn,

    Reply
  53. Marlene Hunter

     /  August 15, 2013

    I find it impossible to knit 3 tog. How do I adjust the pattern and knit 2 tog instead.
    Thank you so much. I love the looks of the cowl.

    Reply
  54. love your pattern and just wondering if I have this right, I want to make this into a shawl, wrap for my sister, so thinking a size 6 circular needle, 180 or 114 stitches plus 2 and purl the knit rows, is this correct….plus making a cowl, but 120 plus 2….please get back to me. thank you so much for this great pattern….

    Dee

    Reply
  55. Love this! Is it alright to pin it for later?

    Reply
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