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Free Knitting Pattern for Cabled Modern English Cowl

An avid knitter for over 10 years, Donna enjoys sharing her free patterns and knitting experience with other fiber fans and yarn lovers.

Hand-knit cabled cowl pattern

Hand-knit cabled cowl pattern

Cabled Cowl Knitting Pattern

This cowl knitting pattern uses the same lace and cable design as my High Tea Collar Necklace. In this pattern, the cables continue around the cowl and create a cozy and comfy design. This pattern is fully charted with descriptions of the abbreviations at the bottom of the chart. It is designed for experienced beginners or advanced knitters who are familiar with basic terms and knitting cables.

My Materials

  • 1 skein Patons Classic Wool in color 77532 Cognac Heather or any worsted weight yarn (I don't recommend using this particular yarn—it is super itchy and too uncomfortable for a cowl). This would also be beautiful in a bulky yarn and would be wide enough to fit around the shoulders and then fall into a cowl at the neck.
  • #8 needles (or the proper needles for your yarn)
  • Cable needle
  • Stitch markers (optional, but they'll make this project easier)
Detail of modern English cable cowl

Detail of modern English cable cowl


To start, cast on 44 stitches. I used a provisional cast on, then used the three needle bind off to seam the cowl (which I don't really like the look of). You could also use the cast-on of your choice and just sew the seam at the end. This might actually look better.

Another option would be to incorporate buttons into the design. You could cast on as you choose, and I think the lace openings (where the double yarnovers are) of the pattern could serve as buttonholes for 1/2" to 3/4" buttons.

Free knitting chart

Free knitting chart

Follow the chart pattern above for the cowl pattern. This is a jpeg.

Knitting each line on the chart might be easier if you put stitch markers where the bold vertical lines are in the pattern.

Repeats and Sizing

I did 8 repeats of the 24-row pattern for my cowl. If you want the cowl to be big enough to fit over your shoulders, do 9 repeats or use bulky yarn. When the length is finished, repeat rows 1 and 2. Then bind off.


If you want to add buttons, I would suggest knitting 4–6 rows of garter (depending on the size of your buttons) as a button band before binding off.

Cabled modern English cowl

Cabled modern English cowl


A short story: When I first knit this, I soaked it and blocked it, stretching it to 21 inches (already seamed into a cowl) to fit around my shoulders. When it dried, and I tried it on, I felt it was limp; the cables had lost some of their, well, cable-ness. So I tore it apart and knit it all over again.

In the photos you see here, I have not blocked it again, and I don't plan to. I'm going to wear it as is. Moral of the story: Be careful not to over-block the cables.

Enjoy Your Cowl!

I hope you enjoy this pattern. I love this cowl and I'm excited to wear mine when the weather gets cold!!

© 2012 Donna Herron


Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 25, 2013:

Thanks for the info! I look forward to learning. I'd like to combine the two into some patterns. Thanks again!!

Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on May 25, 2013:

Yeah, I'm in a needlework group and all the girls, but me, crochet. Everyone I've met who knows how to crochet and knit, says crocheting is WAY easier and faster, but I am a dedicated knitter! :)

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 25, 2013:

Hmmm.. I wonder - is crocheting easier than knitting? Sadly, I don't crochet so I don't know. I'd love to learn though :)

Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on May 25, 2013:

Yes, it is! :) We are a rare breed. It seems most people crochet nowadays. lol. Ha! They are just taking the easy way out. lol. j/k

Donna Herron (author) from USA on May 25, 2013:

Hi Misslong123 - This is definitely NOT a beginners pattern, but with some experience, you should have no problem :) Cowls are pretty easy - though most are knit in the round. My reindeer tracks cowl pattern ( might be easier for you, since it doesn't have any cables. And there are lots of easy cowl patterns online - try doing a search on Hubpages or on I hope you find something you love!! Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments. It's great to meet another knitter!!

Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on May 25, 2013:

That cowl is beautiful! However, even as a scarf, it's too advanced for me. I don't know how to make cowls, but I have heard they are easy. You seem to be a knitting expert. Can you do Hub on how to make a basic, easiest possible cowl? I'd love to try one out. That would be so much fun to do something different! :) Michele

Donna Herron (author) from USA on November 05, 2012:

Christine and theframjak - thank you so much for your kind comments. Very much appreciated. This is one of my favorite projects and I'm so glad you like it :)

theframjak from East Coast on November 05, 2012:

Very beautiful!

Christine Miranda from My office. on November 05, 2012:

Very pretty. Great cold weather project. Voted up & more.