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Amy Gropp Forbes of Eclectic Mom: Braided Cowl for Kids

Although it is hard to imagine, fall is right around the corner, and nothing beats a cozy hand knit cowl for keeping you warm. I particularly like cowls for kids; they look great and somehow seem easier to manage than a scarf.

This is a perfect project for a weekend away... it takes just one skein of yarn and only a few hours to knit. The chunky yarn and simple braid add lots of texture, and I just love Blue Sky Worsted with its subtle hand dyed variations and super soft touch! Enjoy! - Amy of Eclectic Mom


The Materials

  • 1 skein Blue Sky Worsted Hand Dye, 50% Royal Alpaca and 50% Merino. This color is Dungaree Blue.
  • Split ring stitch markers (Optional: I use these to count the rounds. Since I tend to lose track of how many plain rounds I have knit, I hang a split ring marker on the beginning-of-the-round-marker each time I complete a round.)

The Pattern


3 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch

Finished Size

18 inches in circumference and 11 inches from bottom to top

Pattern Note: How to Work the Braided Cable

The entire braided cable is worked over 9 stitches, but for the two rounds it takes to form the cable, you will only work 6 stitches at a time. The other 3 stitches are knit either before or after the cable, depending on which round you're working.


Slip next 3 stitches onto cable stitch holder and bring to front of work...

... knit next 3 stitches from the left needle...

...and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable stitch holder.


Slip next 3 stitches onto cable stitch holder and bring to back of work...

... knit next 3 stitches from the left needle...

 ...and then knit the 3 stitches from the cable stitch holder.



Cast on 63 stitches.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: K24, place a marker, p3, k9, p3, knit to end of round.

Round 2: Knit to first marker, p3, C6F (see note above), k3, p3, knit to end of round.

Rounds 3-5: Knit to first marker, p3, k9, p3, knit to end of round.

Round 6: Knit to first marker, p3, k3, C6B (see note above), p3, knit to end of round.

Rounds 7-9: Repeat Rounds 3-5.

Repeat rows 2-9 five more times.

Repeat Rounds 2-7 one time.

Loosely bind off knitwise.

Weave in the ends and ta da!

Reader Comments (14)

would this work for adults too?
if it needs to be made larger, how many stitches would you recommend casting on so that the cables will still work out right?
looks like fun to knit.
August 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Hi Susan K,
The cowls I made fit all of us - they are drapier on the boys but are comfortable on Adam (my husband) and I as well. If a loose cowl is desired I would recommend adding stitches in 4's (2 before the cable and 2 after). Each additional 4 stitches will add just over an inch to the circumference but it will also mean that the cowl will not be as long unless you buy a second skein of yarn.
August 27, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
How many stitches would you suggest I decrease by if I wanted to make this for a young toddler? I presume I should decrease in sets of 4 stitches based on your response to Susan K. I just wondered how many total stitches you would suggest. Thanks!
August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegan
thanks so much, amy. i want to make one for everyone in the family and i think ill leave the size as is.
August 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Hello Megan.
I don't think I would decrease the number of stitches in the pattern for a toddler, however I might make the cowl a couple inches shorter. I tried one of ours on my nephew who is only a year and a half and it was very cute on him but the length made it bunch up quite a bit around his face which could definitely bother a young child. If you keep the circumference it will also allow the child to wear the cowl for many years.
August 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Megan,
Do you think this pattern would still work without the braid? I'm a real beginner....
September 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Hello Jennifer,
Of course! The only thing to be aware of is that since stockinette stitch rolls, the edges of your cowl will roll at the top and bottom. The braid prevents it from rolling too much. If you do not want the cowl to roll you can knit the first row, purl the second and repeat this pattern for a few rounds. It will give you a garter stitch border that does not roll. Repeat the border when the cowl is almost complete to prevent the top from curling too. And another small thing is that the cable or braid pulls the fabric in some, so without it, the finished circumference is going to be a bit larger.
September 4, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Do you have any other yarn suggestions? Thanks, and great pattern. :)
November 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia
Hi Olivia-

Any heavy worsted weight yarn will work.

Eco Cloud would be soft and lofty:

Blue Sky Worsted Cotton would be great for anyone who has a wool allergy:

Or Spud and Chloe worsted for a soft wool and cotton mix that comes in great colors!

Thanks for your question and please let us know if you need any more help!

November 1, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
just a quick question as i approach the end of this cowl...
the instructions say to repeat rows 2-9 5 more times and then to do rows 2-7 once.
from the picture, it appears that the repeat was done a total of 5 times and not 5 times more. i only ask because im getting very low on yarn to finish.
November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
even if its 5 repeats total, i still couldn't get to the end- guess my guage was off.
i went as far as i could (maybe 3 repeats) and then ended on rows 1-7 with a bindoff.
its 10" rather than 11", but it looks good.
just wondering if anyone else encountered this problem.
November 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersusan k

great pattern indeed! I am thinking that it would be also nice to make a rib stitch instead of the stockinette. If not to the whole cowl maybe just besides the braid. Do you think I should increase the number of the stitches?
January 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia
Hi Georgia-

You will probably want to increase the stitches. The only way to tell is to do a swatch in the rib that you'd like to use and figure out your gauge.

Thanks so much for writing in!

January 28, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you so much for this pattern! I have made several already. Your instructions are so clear and concise. This was my first attempt at cables and with your step by step instructions you made it so easy to follow.

For a looser cowl, I used chunky yarn (Cascade Super Wash Merino Wool), size 11 needles and I increased it by 4 stitches, 2 stitches on either side of the cable, as you suggested.

It's simply the best cowl I have ever made. I can't thank you enough for sharing. <3
October 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatilda

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