The long suffering Scrappy Cowl


One day I found a free pattern for a gorgeous cowl. I don’t wear cowls or hats or scarves, but I kept the pattern anyway, as it was so pretty and you never know when you might need it.

Each year as I search through my patterns for something new to knit for my grandchildren, I come across this pretty pattern. And then I move on.

During the recent summer, I stumbled upon it again and decided I would ask my daughter if she would like me to knit her a cowl for the winter. She of course said yes. What a perfect time to start a project like this as my summer knitting was finished and the winter knitting for the grandchildren hadn’t yet started.

So I got out my odds and sods of worsted weight wool and spread them all over the lounge floor to look for colours that would go together. I had some gorgeous homespun wool that I had bought from a market a few years ago but had no any idea what I would make with it. So I decided to use this as my garter stitch edges and select the rest of the colours around that.

So using the free pattern as a guide, I cast on the humungous about of beautiful yellow coloured stitches, trying to think about wool thickness, pattern gauge, needle size (I didn’t want to buy new ones so what size long circulars do I already have) and how long do I want the cowl to be.

Then away I went. But after a few rows into the cowl, I was asked if I would make some warm clothes for my grandson in the north of England as it was their winter and here I was basking in the New Zealand summer sun, forgetting about the knitting for my baby on the other side of the world. So I stopped and made him some jerseys, a hat and some long pants.

Then back to  my cowl. Oh dear, once I looked at it with fresh eyes, I wasn’t so happy with the colours. So I pulled it undone back to the garter stitch. I put it aside until I had time to get to the shop to buy some new wool.

Then a few weeks later, with new wool in hand, I started again. But then another request came in from one of the mums to knit something for one of the other grandchildren, so I put the cowl aside again.

Then I managed to pick up the cowl once more and this time I finished it.

But the homespun wool I had used for the garter stitch edgings was much thicker than the rest of the cowl and it stuck out at a funny angle and curled up. So I pulled the garter stitch undone and redid it in smaller needles. Much better. A least it looks as though it would lie flat once it was blocked.

Now I had an issue with the initial cast on edge and the garter stitch at the beginning. It was way too thick and I doubt it would ever block flat. I tried to undo the cast on edge but found out of course, that you can’t undo a cast on edge like you can a cast off edge. The only thing to do would be to go see my wonderful lady in our local yarn store who is very knowledgeable on all things knitting. So I put it aside until I had time to go and see her.

But then I found out that the local yarn store had closed. Oh No! I have one more idea. I know this lady sells her hand knits at a local market that is only on once a month. So I waited.

On the first Sunday of last month, I gathered up my long suffering cowl and drove to the market, which I had never been to but managed to find.

And there she was. My cowl life saver. She showed me how to cut off the garter stitch rows with scissors. Yes, cut it with scissors! And put the remaining stitches back onto my needles.

So my cowl sat and waited in the knitting bag while I plucked up the courage to take to my knitting with scissors.

Scarily I did as I was instructed. It wasn’t easy but I did it. I decided not to use my gorgeous home spun yellow wool on this edge again. I picked up the stitches, knitted the 5 rows garter stitch and cast off.


All blocked and presented to my daughter who had almost forgotten I had ever offered to make her a cowl. So halfway through this winter, she now has a nice, cosy warm cowl to keep her neck warm on the cold days.
Pattern – Scrappy cowl – (free pattern)
Yarn – Worsted weight
Link to Ravelry project here




  1. That’s beautiful. I’m adding the pattern to my “to do” list. Though I may have to go shopping for wool and that is not easy now that we don’t work together and close to a yarn store!

      1. I’m now sewing in all the ends – it’s taking forever! The cowl is curling quite badly so fingers crossed that it will flatten out after blocking. I hope you and your family had a lovely christmas xx

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