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Stitch Block Cowl

Knitters who have made their fair share of garter stitch scarves, ribbed hats and stockinette sweaters, will understand the hankering to shake things up a bit. I love the rhythm and certainty of the basic stitches, but every now and then I relish the challenge of stitch patterns that unfold in surprising ways, that teach me yet something else about the wondrous potential of knits and purls!

I've done a lot of knitting in my life, so much that I sometimes wonder if there are any stones left unturned, but this Stitch Block Cowl took me into new terrain. I've knit colorwork and I've knit "in the row below", but I've never done the two together. It's terrifically easy and proves, once again, that knitting is inexhaustibly interesting.

Each of the three stitch patterns in our Stitch Block Cowl employ this simple technique of knitting stitches in the row below (don't worry, we explain what that means in the pattern with photos and everything!). This is ultimately a lot like slipping stitches and has the same effect of creating a very cozy fabric with a whole lot of squish and depth. Add to that the remarkably soft merinos of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist and Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino and you've got one voluptuous cowl!

Ready to take your own journey into uncharted knitting territory? Make sure you pack one of Purl Soho's Yarn for Stitch Block Cowl kits, in this pretty Yellow, subtle Gray or icy Blue. And don't forget to send a postcard! -Whitney

Materials

Our Yarn for Stitch Block Cowl kit comes in eight colorways and includes...

  • Color A: 3 skeins of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist, 100% merino wool.
  • Color B: 1 skein of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist, 100% merino wool.
  • Color C: 1 skein of Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino, 100% superwash merino.

The eight colorways are, clockwise from the top left corner...

Yellow

Oatmeal

Pink

Navy

Aegean

Aqua

Pale Blue

Gray

You will also need...

  • A US #7, 24-inch circular needle. (You need a circular needle because one of the stitch patterns requires you to slide the stitches from one of the needle to the other.)

Gauge

5 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch, using the Color A.

4 stitches = 1 inch in any of the three stitch patterns.

Size

Finished Dimensions: 12 3/4 inches wide by 60 inches around

NOTE: To change the width of the finished cowl, cast on any odd number and follow the directions as written.

Note

All three of these stitch patterns use the technique of "knitting into the row below." Here's how to do it...

Insert the right needle into the center of the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle. The place to insert the right needle is indicated below by the arrow.

And here is the needle going into that place...

Now knit as normal, bringing the working yarn around the right needle in a counter clockwise direction and pulling through a stitch. When you allow the stitch to fall off the left needle, it will actually be two stitches: the one from the previous row and the one from the row before that. It may feel like you're doing something dreadfully wrong, but if you've properly inserted the right needle, then all will be well!

Pattern

Block #1, Rambler Pattern

Here's the right side of the finished Rambler Pattern:

And here's the wrong side:

With Color A, use a Provisional Cast On to cast on 51 stitches. (Why a provisional cast on? So that at the end of the project you can graft together the two ends, avoiding a seam. However, if you find a Provisional Cast On a bit overwhelming, then just use a regular long tail cast on, and when you're done, you can sew the two ends together. Your cowl will still be beautiful!)

Row 1 (wrong side [ws]): K2, *p1, k1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 2 (right side [rs]): K1, *k1 in the row below, p1, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k1 into row below, k1. (See Pattern Note, above, for "k1 in the row below" instructions.)

Rows 3-8: Repeat Rows 1 and 2 three more times.

Row 9 (ws): K1, *p1, k1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 10 (rs): K1, *p1, k1 in the row below, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p1, k1.

Rows 11-16: Repeat Rows 9 and 10 three more times.

Repeat Rows 1-16 until piece measures 20 inches from cast on edge, ending with Row 14.

Block #2, Checked Rose Fabric

Here's the right side of finished Checked Rose Fabric:

And here's the wrong side:

Row 1 (ws): With Color A, k1, *k1 in the row below, k1, repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2 (rs): With Color A, k2, *k1 in the row below, k1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 3 (ws): With Color B, repeat Row 1. Do not turn the work at the end of the row.

Row 4 (ws): Keeping the wrong side of the work facing you, slide the stitches to the right end of the needle and with Color A, repeat Row 2. Turn the work.

Row 5 (rs): With Color A, repeat Row 1. Do not turn the work.

Row 6 (rs): Keeping the right side of the work facing you, slide the stitches to the right end of the needle and with Color B, repeat Row 2. Turn the work.

Repeat Rows 1-6 until piece measures 40 inches from cast on edge, ending with Row 5.

Block #3, English Rose Tweed

Here's the right side of finished English Rose Tweed:

And here's the wrong side:

Set-Up Row (ws): With Color A, k1, knit into front and back, knit to end of row. (52 stitches)

Row 1 (rs): With Color B, k1, *p1, k1 in the row below, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 2 (ws): With Color B, knit.

Row 3: With Color C, k1, *k1 in the row below, p1, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Row 4: With Color C, knit.

Rows 5 and 6: With Color A, repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Rows 7 and 8: With Color B, repeat Rows 3 and 4.

Rows 9 and 10: With Color C, repeat Rows 1 and 2.

Rows 11 and 12: With Color A, repeat Rows 3 and 4.

Repeat Rows 1-12 until piece measures 60 inches from cast on edge,...

If You Used a Provisional Cast On

...ending with Row 4.

Next Row (rs): With Color A, k1, *p1, k1 in the row below, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1. (51 stitches)

Cut all the yarns, leaving a 32-inch Color A tail.

Put the Provisional Cast On stitches onto a second (preferably smaller) needle.

Thread the Color A tail onto a tapestry needle. With wrong sides together (being careful to not twist the cowl), hold the two circular needles parallel to each other and use the Kitchener Stitch to graft together the cowl's two ends.

If You Used a Long Tail Cast On

...ending with Row 5.

Next Row (ws): With Color A, bind off in purl.

Cut all the yarns, leaving a 32-inch Color A tail.

Thread the tail onto a tapestry needle and with wrong sides together and making sure the cowl isn't twisted, sew together the two ends. Sew under one cast on stitch and then across under a bind off stitch, continuing back and forth until you're done!

Either Way...

Weave in the remaining ends and gently block your cowl, if desired. Then wrap yourself up!

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101 Responses to Stitch Block Cowl


  1. Stephanie says:

    I cannot WAIT to knit this cowl! I just ordered the kit. This is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever seen (knit-wise). Love yellow!

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