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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!

119 Responses to Stitch Block Cowl


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  1. Gail says:

    Is there a way to get a printer friendly copy of the pattern? right now I would have to print 41 pages

    • Molly from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi-

      We are working on converting our older patterns into PDFs but it’s unfortunately kind of slow going! For now we recommend that you copy and paste the pattern into a text or Word Doc and print from there, or use a free site like printfriendly.com. Sorry this isn’t ideal and thanks so much for your question!

      Molly

      • Dawn says:

        Try copying and pasting into a word document and reducing the font size. : ) (That sometimes works for me!)

  2. Lynn Welborn says:

    Hi all,
    I too want to make a baby blanket, but don’t see anywhere the total yardage needed if we use a worsted weight yarn as you call for. How much more yardage do we need if we go DK instead? Approximately. Thanks.

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Lynn,

      I used the following amount of yarn to make this cowl: Color A- 275 grams / 451 yards; Color B- 97 grams / 160 yards; and Color C- 34 grams / about 55 yards. A DK weight would take slightly more yarn, but I’m sorry to say, I don’t know exactly how much more! I’d guess 150-300 more yards?

      Please let us know if you have any more questions and thanks for this one!

      Whitney

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m having a horrible time deciding what color to order! Do you have any images of this completed in any of the other color combinations? Thanks.

    • Molly from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Jennifer-

      We don’t, unfortunately! But you might try searching on Ravelry? I’m sorry we can’t be of more help!

      Best-

      Molly

      ps- if I were making this for myself I would get the Aqua colorway! :)

  4. Katrina says:

    I just finished this as a gift for a friend and just WOW!! Thanks for the great pattern!

  5. Kris says:

    Would it be possible to make this as a single-loop cowl? I realize I’d have to greatly shorten each section or even leave out one of the sections, but it’s (although absolutely stunning!) just too much yarn for me to have around my neck. Do you think that would be possible or just too much of a change for it to still be attractive? Any and all suggestions welcome!

    By the way, I’m thrilled to read that you’re converting your patterns to PDF. I’ve made all the patterns of yours that I’ve done into Word documents. Thank you so very much for all these wonderful patterns you’ve made available to us!

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Kris,

      I think that’s a cool idea! Maybe it would be nice to do each block a different length, instead of evenly spaced (like they are here).

      Let us know how it goes and thanks for the suggestion!

      Whitney

  6. Liz says:

    HI I love this pattern but in the first block I am having a hard time with rows 9-16….when I am knitting it , it turns out in seed stitch but in the picture it doesnt look like that at all…….what am i doing wrong???
    Thanks again

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Liz,

      If your Rows 1-8 are looking good, but your Rows 9-16 are looking like seed stitch (which, you’re right, they shouldn’t!), then I would guess that you’re making a simple mistake reading the pattern. Make sure that you’re knitting a one-stitch garter stitch edging and only repeating the stitches that come after the asterisk.

      If you’re still having problems, please let us know and we’ll try to get you on the right path!

      Whitney

  7. Stephanie says:

    Hello! I ordered the yellow kit and was SOOO excited to start! My rambler pattern does not look as well defined as the picture and I can’t figure out the problem! Could it be too loose? I usually knit too tight! Anyway, I just ripped it all out and am starting over. Hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen. Any advice?

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      You’re probably having the same problem a few other customers have reported. Here’s what I’ve recommended to them!

      Some people seem to have an easier time knitting into the row below if the stitch above is a knit stitch rather than a purl stitch (and it doesn’t matter which it is, since it’s getting dropped!). This may seem radically different than the pattern as written, but the result is actually the same. Try this…

      Rows 1, 3, 5, and 7: K2, purl to last stitch, k1.

      Rows 9, 11, 13, and 15: K1, purl to last stitch, k1.

      I hope this helps you get the embossed texture of the stitch pattern. Please let us know if you have any more questions and thank you so much for this one!

      Whitney

  8. BergenGirl says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for posting this pattern. I want to make this over the fall/winter season, but I’m confused by 2 points in the instructions.
    After the 3 blocks are worked, the patt states:

    If you used a Provisional Cast On, ending with Row 4 …

    Then it goes on to state the next row. I don’t understand where or what is the row 4? None of the blocks end on a row 4 ore repeat back to row 4. Can you shed a little light for me? Also, if a long tail cCO was used, further down, it states ending with row 5 … and then goes on to give next row directions. I’m confused as to what or where I should be left off after completing the major knitting of the cowl.

    Thanks for any clarification you can offer.

    Eileen

    • Whitney from the Purl Bee says:

      Hi Eileen,

      Those instructions mean that if you used a Provisional Cast On, you should end the English Rose Tweed section with that pattern’s Row 4, which is, indeed, in the middle of the stitch pattern’s repeat.

      The same is true if you used a long tail cast on, except in that case, you would end with the English Rose Tweed’s Row 5.

      I hope that this clears things up for you. Please let us know if you have any further questions and thank you for this one!

      Whitney

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