Have you noticed that there are some accessories that you can never have enough of? Shoes and purses come to mind, along with sock, scarves and shawls. Another one to add to the list is the not-so-humble cowl. There are a number of reasons why cowls are the ideal project for knitting and crochet artists.
A cowl can be as simple as garter stitch circle - depending on the yarn you use - and still be beautiful as well as functional - two of our favorite attributes. A cowl is also the perfect “laboratory” for exploring new stitches or designs with modest time or money risk. They are economical when it comes to yarn length – many can be accomplished with just one skein or left -over partial skeins. These are no small assets when you think of how many people you may wish to “gift” at this time of year. (It’s the kind of present people will thank you for on the first cold or unpleasant weather day.)
Cowls present you with new style ideas: You can go wild with a new color or combination of colors – just for the fun of it and still not need to re-think your wardrobe.
They are the ideal ‘interim season” accessory – allowing you to bundle up with a sweater and a hat and still not break out the winter coat. Throw in a pair of hand-knit mittens and, depending on where you live, you might make it through a moderate winter.
Cowls can be worn by people of all genders, ages and temperaments. They can tuck into a purse or into the pocket of your coat and be ready for service any time.
Now that we have finished extolling some of the cowl’s many virtues it’s time to recommend a few and show you why we like them so much.
Knit Pro Holiday Gift Set.
We asked some of our favorite knitting designers for permission to use their patterns, and for the fun of it, we made up samples of the cowls using the yarn included in the Holiday Gift Set, Terra, Symfonie Yarn’s fingering weight sock yarn.
Terra is a beautiful and resilient blend of 75% merino and 25% nylon. It is the ideal yarn for making a multitude of projects, including socks! Terra is as practical as it is beautiful. It’s machine washable and dryable, and that small amount of nylon (which is not visible) means it doesn’t lose its stretchability with the frequent pulling on and off that happens during the winter season.
Here's another cool thing about cowls: Depending upon the design, some of them can be made longer which means that they can be wrapped around and pulled up over the head and function as “snoods” - that’s an old-fashioned word that describes a combination garment that covers the head and the neck. Search the word on Ravelry.com to see what we mean. Here are a few examples of free snood patterns:
Note: This free pattern requires you know how to do “short rows”. It’s easy to learn and well worth it. It also suggests a fingering weight yarn, like Terra.
Here’s hoping that you decide to give cowl making a try. We can assure you that it’s a thoroughly enjoyable project to make, and, as importantly, it’s just as nice to receive.