Cashmere Cowl No. 2 – Lace Rib


We're having a bit of a Cashmere Cowl craze at the shop lately, so I thought I'd create one for myself.  I'm known for knitting almost everything in either stockinette stitch or garter stitch (I am often asked, "don't you get bored??" The answer is NO, I do not get bored, in fact I love it!), but I decided it was time for me to make a something a little more complicated.  I chose this Lace Rib stitch for my cowl because it was simple enough to be methodical and easily remembered, but created a beautifully detailed fabric.  --Joelle


The Materials

The Pattern


8 stitches per inch in rib pattern (not stretched) 


Cast on 180 Stitches, place marker.

Join stitches for knitting in the round, taking extra care to make sure stitches aren't twisted around the needle.

Round 1:  *k4, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 2:  *k2tog, yo, yo, k2togtbl, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 3:  *k1, k into back of first yo, k into front of second yo, k1, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Round 4:  *yo, k2togtbl, k2tog, yo, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat these 4 rounds until you reach desired length (I made mine 12 inches long). 

Bind off loosely after round 4 in k4, p2 stitch pattern. 

Pattern Notes

Lace is made with a series of yarn overs paired with decreases, which lean to the left or right according to the pattern.  When knitting lace, it is crucial to knit loosely.  Simply put, do not pull on your yarn once the stitch has been completed and transfered to the right hand needle.   

Round 1:  *k4, p2, repeat from * to end.
This round gives the following three rounds some structure and stability.

Round 2:  *k2tog, yo, yo, k2togtbl, p2, repeat from * to end of round. 


The photo above shows k2tog (knit 2 together).  This will make the two stitches knit together lean to the right.

cowl row 1 2nd yo twice.jpg

The photo above shows yo, yo (yarn over, twice)  No this isn't a lesson in Brooklyn slang, or a toy from your childhood!  Yo, yo means to yarn over twice, to do this, wrap the yarn around the needle two times, from back to front.  The thing to remember is that you don't want to wrap the yarn tightly around the needle or else it will be nearly impossible to knit into on the next round, so be gentle!

cowl row 1 4th yo-twice-then-k-1.jpg

Next, k2togtbl (knit two together through the back loop). Knitting through the back loop will make your stitches lean to the left.  What this means is that you are knitting into the back of the stitches on the needle, and gently wrapping the yarn around needle so that you don't pull your yarn over's too tight.  The photo above shows how your stitches will look after you've k2togtbl.  Next bring your yarn to the front as you normally would to purl the next two stitches.

Round 3:  *k1, k into back of first yo, k into front of second yo, k1, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

The second and third stitches in this round may seem mysterious at first.  Here are a few photos and a little bit of explanation to help you out:

cowl row 2 1st k-into-back-of-yo.jpg

K into back of first yo, translation, knit into the back of the first wrap of the yarn over from the previous round.  This will make your stitch lean to the left.

cowl row 2 2nd k-into-front-of-yo.jpg 

K into front of second yo, translation, knit into the front of the second wrap of the yarn over from the previous round, this will make your stitch lean to the right.

Round 4:  *yo, k2togtbl, k2tog, yo, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Usually you can't start a row with a yarn over, but because this pattern is knit in the round you can!  Nonetheless, yarn over's before and after purl stitches can sometimes be a cause for confusion.  Here is a bit of clarification for you:


Yo, k2togtbl,  this is an interesting situation. Because you are going from a purl to a yarn over, you don't actually wrap the yarn around the needle.  Instead, what you do is simply leave the yarn in the front (from the purl stitch) and go directly into k2togtbl.  Just make sure that when you make the next stitch that you wrap the yarn loosely.  Remember, you need to make enough room for your needle on the next round when you knit into the yarn over.


K2tog, yo, p2, this next step is also an interesting situation.  Becasue you have just knit 2 together your yarn is in back, the next stitch is a yarn over, so you need to bring your yarn to the front, but the following stitch is a purl, so you need to wrap the yarn around the needle again to accomodate for that, otherwise you won't be left with a yarn over.  To put it another way, when you go from a knit to a purl with a yarn over in between, wrap the yarn once for the yarn over, then bring it around again for the purl stitch.  

Once your cowl is long enough, be sure to bind off loosely in the k4, p2 pattern after you complete Round 4.  This will ensure that the finished edge of your cowl is soft and stretchy enough to fit over someone's head.

Weave in ends on the wrong side.   

Enjoy! -- Joelle

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10 Responses to Cashmere Cowl No. 2 – Lace Rib

  1. regina says:

    Do you think one could make a cowl out of this yarn in a brioche stitch?

  2. purl bee says:

    Dear Regina,
    I don’t see why not! This yarn has so much loft and body, it looks good in any stitch.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for the pattern! I now know what I’m going to knit my SIL for Christmas!

  4. Lisabeth says:

    I am so in love with this cowl!
    I am not a designer and I was wondering if you could help me with something.
    I would like to make this but larger so it fits around my upper body, sorta like one side hanging on my shoulder and the other side down my other arm. I am going to use Noro Kochoran and a size 10 needle.
    I have cast on 26 stitches and done a small swatch. I started with a garter stitch rib for 4 rounds then did 4 rows of the stitch pattern design, that measurement is…8.5″ in length and 2″ high.
    How many would I have to cast on?
    I would like it to fit someone with a size 36″ bust line.
    I understand if you cannot help, I just thought I would ask.
    Thank you so much!

  5. Amanda says:

    Could you repost the pattern for this? It doesn’t appear to be up anymore. Thanks!

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Amanda,
    You can find the complete pattern at this link:

  7. anne says:

    not pertinent to this project, but I was wondering if you had the instructions for a project put out about the same time: the every day beret. I believe I found it last winter, bought the yarn and…well…never started let alone finished the beret. If you have the pattern, might you be able to send it my way? Thank you.

  8. purl bee says:

    Hi Anne-

    The project has been taken off of our site but is available for free on Ravelry here:



  9. Frankie says:

    Your patterns are so lovely. I just want to knit them all!

    I have some bulky / chunky yarn that I bought to knit a cowl, and I think it would look amazing with this pattern, rather than the one I was going to use.

    Any tips or advice on what needles and number of stitches to use for a bulky yarn please?
    Thank you :)

  10. purl bee says:

    Hi Frankie-

    We aren't sure we would recommend doing this pattern with bulky yarn but if you want to give it a try the pattern will work by casting on any multiple of 6. Since we don't know the specific yarn you will be using we would recommend that you try out the needle size recommended on the label of your yarn. If you do a gauge swatch in this pattern (and in the round) you will be able to figure out how many stitches you are getting per inch and that will determine how many you should cast on.

    Thank you for your question!


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