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25+ Free Knitted Cowl Patterns for Beginners

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There’s nothing better than cozying up with a warm, hand-knit cowl when the weather turns chilly. And the beauty of knitting one yourself is that you can make it as thick, thin, simple, or complex as you’d like! In this article, I’ll share 25 of my favorite knit cowl patterns for you to check out. Enjoy!

photo collage of a gray knit cowl on a mannequin, an orange chevron-styled cowl against rug background, a gray and teal and light blue cowl on a headless mannequin, and a woman wearing a yellow and gray cowl and smiling while looking down as she holds a mug.

Best Knit Cowl Patterns

A knit cowl is the perfect accessory to add warmth and style to your fall and winter outfits. And as a knitter, I’m always on the lookout for fun, modern cowl patterns to make and wear.

In this list, you’ll discover 25 delightful cowl patterns, from easy knits for beginners to more advanced projects. Whether giving cowls as gifts or making them for yourself, you’ll find fresh inspiration ahead.

But what exactly is a cowl, anyway?

A knitted cowl is a tube-like accessory worn around the neck, similar to a scarf. But unlike scarves, cowls are knit in a continuous circle. To put one on, you simply slip it over your head.

Great for cold weather. Cowls stay snugly around your neck and won’t blow around in the wind. They’re less bulky than scarves, so they fit nicely under jackets, too. Cowls are excellent for doing outdoor work or enjoying winter sports like sledding, skiing, and ice skating.

Easy gift idea. Cowls make wonderful knit gifts, too! You can give almost anyone a cowl without worrying too much about the size. Since cowls are worn around the neck, you have more flexibility with fit than you would with a sweater or other fitted garment.

Customizable. But the best part of knitted cowls? You can customize them however you like – go bold with chunky cables, play with colorwork, or keep it simple with basic stripes.

Best Knit Cowl Patterns for Beginners

If you’re new to knitting, I recommend starting with these patterns: Simple Yet Effective (#3), GAP-tastic Cowl (#7), and Hillview Road Cowl (#9).

All three patterns are excellent “first cowl” projects to build your skills. Before you know it, you’ll be ready to try more advanced patterns!

25 Free Knitted Cowl Patterns

Check out these free and beginner-friendly knit cowl patterns for your next project. Happy knitting!

Supplies

To make a knit cowl, you’ll need:

  • Yarn. See my tips on choosing the best yarn for cowls right below this supplies list!
  • Knitting needles. Circular and double-pointed needles (DPNs) are most popular for cowls. Check your pattern and/or yarn label to see what size you’ll need.
  • Scissors
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle
  • Measuring tape

What yarn is best for making cowls?

For maximum coziness, stick to yarns that are soft and warm. Merino and alpaca are great choices. Or go with acrylic yarn for a budget-friendly, easy-care option. Some of our favorite yarns for making cowls include Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Purl Soho Plenty, and Malabrigo Worsted.

Techniques to Know

The cowl patterns in this list range from beginner to intermediate skills. Make sure to read through your chosen pattern first to ensure you’re comfortable with the techniques required, which may include the following:

Review any unfamiliar skills before starting. And don’t be afraid to try something new – expanding your knitting skills is part of the fun!

Tips and Tricks

Here are some of my top tips for knitting successful cowls:

Check your gauge

Although cowls are usually less precise than, say, a sweater, it’s still important to make a gauge swatch before you get started. This way, you won’t end up with a cowl that’s too large or too small. 

Customize your cowl

One benefit of knitted cowls is that they’re easy to customize! You can easily adjust the length and width by adding or subtracting stitches to make a cowl that fits you perfectly.

More Knitting Patterns

When you’re finished with your knitted cowl, check out some of these other free knitting patterns.

photo collage of a gray knit cowl on a mannequin, an orange chevron-styled cowl against rug background, a gray and teal and light blue cowl on a headless mannequin, and a woman wearing a yellow and gray cowl and smiling while looking down as she holds a mug.

What’s Next?

Pin this post: Save this tutorial to your Pinterest boards so that you can come back to it later.

Leave a comment: We love to hear your feedback. Tell me in the comments below!

Share on Instagram or Facebook: When you make this project, share it on social media and tag me @sarahmaker_. We love to see what you make!

Have questions? Join the Facebook Group!

We hope this article was useful for you! If you have any additional questions, feel free to join my Facebook Group. We created this group for you to share pictures, ask questions, and help each other out.