Cowl-crazy

by Shannon on January 9, 2012

Congrats, turtle — thanks to the magical random-number-drawing powers of random.org, you’ve won the copy of Sweet Shawlettes.

As mentioned in the previous post, I have been on a ridiculous cowl-knitting kick lately, first with Stacked, then Minu, and most recently (over the weekend!), Meroe and Timbuktu. Remember we’ve been doing a lot of yarn-sorting lately?


You could call this “getting closer”…

My mom’s been fishing all the yarn that’s in my basement (a frequently heard cry upon opening another box: “MORE yarn?!”) out and organizing it for me on the wall at my office/studio. Retail-style slatwall, my yarny friends. Slatwall is your pal if you have a lot of yarn to sort — ask your LYS where they buy their retail fixtures and get yourself down there. Pegboard would work, too, but there aren’t quite as many fixture options for it unless you luck out and find lots of the long, 12″ hooks.

In the course of digging out yarns that haven’t seen the light of day in a while, I’ve been on a cowl-knitting kick. Lonely skein without any partners? Make a cowl! As mentioned, I love how fast they are, and how you can really go to town playing around with the canvas of your fabric since it’s small (if I’d had to do more cables than the ones I did on Meroe, I probably would have gone bonkers). So: with the recent cowl-craziness, I’m going to do a quicky pattern book of fast-knit pretties for those special skeins in your stash.

Want to win a copy of it? Leave me a comment about cowls: what you like about them, what you don’t, what you’d like to see in a cowl pattern, what your dream cowl would look like…you might even get quoted in the book!

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura J January 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Warm without fussiness or wrinkles. on warmer days, I wear a bandana and look like a cowboy, or a bandit.

Mary G. January 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Cowls are here to stay awhile I think … they’re so much more versatile than the ubiquitous scarf and so much more fun to make! I love the cowls that can come down over the shoulders in a capelike fashion … or pull up over the head in a hoodie look … or both! Soft, fluffy cables or delicate, ethereal lace …

My current go-to project is hand-dyed sock yarn knit into a not-overly lacy cowl!

Savannagal January 9, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I really like cowls, though I’ve only made 2. They tend to be small projects, which offers quick satisfaction. I don’t think they are nearly as functional as a scarf as I cannot tighten them up around my neck to keep out the cold as well as I can with a scarf. But they are cute and trendy. They also, at least for me, need to be knit with very soft yarn. Anything even the least bit scratchy on my neck would drive me bananas. I need my cowl to be mostly solid fabric, with no, or at least not much, lace. It’s usually extremely cold where I live and I need as much warmth as possible on my treck to and from work.

girliefriend January 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I love cowls. I have a short attention span and don’t get bored and actually finish them. I have an entire basket full of single socks and mitts cuz I can’t bring myself to do the second.

Voie de Vie January 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Given that your mom seems to be grouping your yarn by color (if you look across the slatwall – don’t know if that was intentional) I like Cowls by Color for a title to this little ebook. :)

Shannon January 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Good idea! (And yes, it was intentional… the better to find things by color/feel)!

Anita January 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I am just learning to love cowls. They are so much faster than shawls. My favorites so far are moebius and a bandana style. Both of these aren’t too long (I couldn’t douple wrap them) They seem to be perfect for what I am looking for.

CraftyGinger January 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’ve only recently discovered cowls, but I’m hooked! Leftover handpainted yarns are tough to find use for, but cowls show off the textures and colors beautifully! Plus, you dont have to fringe unless you want to – and, in Chicago who needs to drag ends in the February sludge? Right, nobody! Hehehe…

Artyarns cashmere cowl in glacier, nuff said – I’m an addict! ;)

Rebecca January 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

While I enjoy making cowls, I haven’t yet found my ideal cowl. The ones I’ve made, while always soft, are either too short, too tall, not long enough, or a little bit too long to be snug. I’m not giving up yet though! :)

turtle January 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

i do love making cowls but do enjoy a good shawl wrapped as a scarf instead, my mom’s boyfriend gets a new cowl every xmas from me though and loves it!

Thank you thank you for the shawl book!!!

Ashley W January 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I love cowls for their simplicity – sometimes I don’t want to deal with scarf ends or bulk around my neck. I just finished a cowl that buttons, and I love how snug it is. I wore it out in the snow this afternoon and it kept me toasty warm!

Kristin January 9, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I’ve made lots of scarves, but no cowls yet. However, I think I’ll make one very soon – seems like a perfect project – much shorter & quicker than a scarf – and keeps you warm, too!

Barb January 10, 2012 at 12:28 am

I am loving cowls. I admit I like the longer ones that you can wind around a couple of times or pull down on your shoulders more like a capelet. Or hold double and stick a cute pin in to hold it closed….. So many options.

Loving my stacked – even if I’m still rocky on the noro. Thinking that line skein of cashmere is going to be transformed one of these weekends…….

Ariel January 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

I’ve only made one cowl so far, with a skein of handspun angora that I won at a sheep and wool festival. I like that it’s super soft and cuddly and keeps my neck nice and cozy, but a disadvantage is that it’s small and pulling it over my head can cause a lot of hair static. Small price to pay, though. I think next time I’ll knit a larger cowl or one with buttons.

Jill January 10, 2012 at 7:26 am

I like cowls because I move around a lot at work (high school teacher), and if I have to drop down to help a student, a cowl doesn’t swing over and cover up their work like a scarf does. Plus, my darn classroom is SO. COLD. all the time, and cowls are the perfect little warmer for that environment.

I’m excited to see your new patterns!

Rita January 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I love cowls! They are versatile They don’t have loose ends to fly about. They tuck into my coat and stretch up my neck to keep me warm. Moebius ones will even add an extra layer where my coat opens. Some cowls are even big enough to also cover my head.

Lani January 11, 2012 at 11:00 am

I knit my first cowl between Christmas and New Years and I’m in love. A friend pointed out that when you’re working outside with equipment a cowl is a lot safer than a scarf with ends that could get caught. Double wrap cowls are my favorite.

Denise January 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm

You have a very nicely done stuff there, i love it :)

Elizabeth January 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

love the fibers
love the textures
love the fit
just love COWLS

Lindr January 15, 2012 at 9:11 am

Cowls are such fun, in part, because they offer such variety. I made three for Christmas for my daughters-in-law – one tightly cabled, one loose and lacy, one with a tighter lace – and they all got to choose which style suited them best. And now my daughter has requested one of the long double loop styles – something soft and squishy in gray. The next time I need a break from the latest big project I’m working on, I’ll have a cowl ready to go.

Laura January 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Love cowls! As you said, you can do a lot with a small canvas. Even the simplest of stitch patterns makes for a great looking cowl. I have made long ones, drapey ones, and ones for other people. Now, my goal is one that stays up around the neck without choking me, for those bitterly windy days, when all you want to do is pull your coat up just a bit further.

Kathleen January 19, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Someone recently told me that my ravelry project page looked like a cowl shop:) I love them in every form and fiber and fit. I think of them as “yarn jewelry”–architectural accents for my otherwise extremely plain wardrobe. They keep my neck warm year-round and they are much easier to keep track of when out and about than a scarf or a shawl.

I love the yarn wall!

Bordergirl January 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I LOVE cowls. I have a large boxful of knitted cowls and I WEAR them! What I love about cowls are their practical versatility. I won’t lose a cowl like I do scarves. The breath of design options is limitless. Fashion statements in their own right, I knit cowls that can be worn different ways and can be knit in various weights of yarn.

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