Designing a Cowl

Originally posted 10-1-2018

About a year and a half ago, I started designing a double knit cowl. I found a design I liked on a cereal bag, of all things.


I used the cereal bag as inspiration for the following design to be knit into a cowl:

I thought the leaf on the design was a bit big and the 3 lines coming from the leaf seemed too far away from it, so I tweaked the design a tad to create this:


I asked for some feedback from friends and made some changes. I made the S-type shape thicker. I decided to try to show the whole bottom leaf.

Oh. I also changed the yarn. The worsted weight yarn I used for the orange and tan, and green and grey samples was too thick, so I’m going with Caron Simply soft and it’s much more the texture and stiffness I like (it has a tad more give, and more drape than stiffness).


After I had this third draft of the design done (as shown above), I got rid of half the bottom leaf (I liked it better before), I added back a line under the S-design (so it looks a little less like an S), and I rounded out the upper leaf and 3 lines coming out of it.

Since the width of the design sample was close to 13 inches, I’m simply doubled it to create a cowl with the circumference of 26 inches.

Finally, I knit the full cowl in the round. Here’s the first draft of the full cowl in the round:


I have to admit, knitting the first full draft of the cowl was a lot more difficult than I thought it’d be. My biggest frustration was that the reverse side of the cowl (the tan background with blue leaves and designs) became bunchy.

I learned from a Ravelry forum on double knitting that when double knitting in the round, purling is often looser than knitting. Since the “reverse” side is done in purls (so that the knit side shows out), the project can be very bunchy.

One suggestion was that knitters use an English purl, which seems to twist the purl stitch and tighten it. I tried that and the purls did become much tighter. For me, it’s also more difficult to purl that way.

Another suggestion to deal with loose stitches was to knit with smaller needles. During the project, I switched from size 9 needles to size 8s, to 7’s and the last few rows, I knit in 6’s. This seemed to help tighten the loose stitches as well, just not as well as the English purls.

It’s been a bumpy ride, but I am learning so much. I’m going to look at some free knit-in-the-round, double knit cowl patterns on Ravelry to determine if the creators give other tips or even mention the issue of the loose purls, and then I’ll make a plan for draft 2 of the full cowl.

Peace Out (and In),





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