Mindful Blog

How to Knit a Cowl in Easy Steps

Winter knitting on your mind? Knitting a cowl is a perfect option to warm up or even a gift to a loved one. A cowl is a beginner-friendly project that can be made with any knitting needles. But, that does not mean an advanced knitter won’t enjoy making one, there’s a lot to make them interesting with textured patterns, colorwork and more. Cowls keep you warm like scarves and are not as long or wide. Whether you’re more interested in fashion or function, knitting a cowl is a fun project that will produce something you can wear again and again. Read on to learn more about how to knit a cowl. You can work with a pattern or make your own design.

Before you cast on your stitches, it would help you to go through our previous blog on knitting in the round on circular needles for beginners.

Choose the Yarn

A cowl can be knit with any yarn, any weight colour or fiber. You can buy any single skein for the project. Or if you have leftovers from previous projects no matter how small the amount in your stash it may be a good idea to put them to use. Chunky-knit projects are also wonderful for these, you can knit them easily and rather quickly.

Choose Knitting needles 

The Explore Set

For a cowl, you can use any of the knitting needles in your tool kit. It’s not just the circular or the double-pointed needles though the project is constructed in a circle. Even with a pair of single pointed needles you can fashion a cowl and get the ends seamed together with a darning needle. Just make sure that the size matches your yarn weight. Here’s a quick table to help you choose.

Yarn Category name


Metric knitting needle size

Knitting needle size


fingering, crochet 10-count thread

1.5mm - 2.25mm

0 - 1

Super fine

sock, fingering, baby

2.25mm -3.25mm

1 - 3


sport, baby

3.25mm - 3.75mm

3 - 5


DK, light worsted

3.75mm - 4.5mm

5 - 7


worsted, Afghan, Aran

4.5mm - 5.5mm

7 - 9


chunky, craft, rug

6.5 - 9 mm

9  -  11

Super Bulky

bulky, roving

9 - 15mm

11 - 14


jumbo, roving

15mm and higher

14 - 17

Gather knitting accessories

Knitting accessories are essential whether it’s a simple or complex project. Even for a simple project such as a cowl, it is recommended to have stitch makers, sharp scissors, darning needles, and more.

Knitting a Cowl

Knitting a cowl is quick and easy. It is just like making socks or a hat, but here you do not need to worry about shaping (increase or decrease stitches) and simply make a wide fabric. You can refer to our guide on knitting leg warmers for the project best matches a cowl’s construction, designs and shape.

Taking Measurements for the Cowl

Just like socks, each individual has different preferences for a cowl. Some prefer a tight cowl that warms your neck while many prefer a loose pattern. Even if it’s for you, then take measurements of the neck. If it’s a hand-knit gift then the standard sizes of hats can assist you. The circumference of the neck matches the next circumference as you wear a cowl over your head.

Knit a Gauge Swatch

If you are following a knitting pattern then go ahead with the instructions. If you are making your designs. With your chosen yarn and knitting needles, make a gauge swatch in the stitch pattern you’ve planned. Make sure that swatch is also in the round. This will help you get an idea of how the pattern will look and how much yarn you’ll need.

Knitting with Circular Needles

Invented for the purpose of smooth knitting in the round, the circular needles are ideal for seamless knitting projects. Both fixed circular knitting needles, as well as interchangeable circular needles, are appropriate as long as you have the right needle length. Given the circumference of a cowl choose from the needle sizes and lengths.

If you are interested yet overwhelmed with the choices, refer to our guide to circular knitting needles.

Knitting with Double-Pointed Needles (DPNs)

The original method for knitters to make projects in the round and to date favoured by many, double-pointed needles is ideal for knitting a cowl. This solves the problem of seaming the edges later if you are a beginner knitter, our guide on knitting with double-pointed needles will assist you. Choose needles in 15 or 20-cm lengths according to your comfort level. You can opt for 4 DPNs to make the circumference of your project as you will have several stitches.

Knitting Back and Forth with Single Pointed Needles (STNs) 

If you prefer to knit back and forth and then seam to shape, go ahead with any pair of STNs. Make a flat fabric and then join the ends together with a darning needle. Refer to our guide on knitting with single pointed needles. Choose any needle length from 25 to 40 cm, but make sure they can accommodate all your stitches comfortably or you have cast stitches for the width of the cowl and knit the length.

Cast on

Use a long-tail cast-on method or any other method you prefer. Stretchy cast on methods such as for socks and hats are best suited for the project.

Knitting Cowl

Knitting the Body

You can use any stitch pattern you like. Let us list down easy-to-make patterns.

Garter Stitch - The simplest of knitting patterns, the garter comprise all row of knit stitches. They are very easy to make and to add to the glamour simply use multiple colours.

Stocking Stitch - A very commonly used knit pattern, a stocking stitch comprises knit and purl stitches in alternate rows. Though the stitched fabric generally curls because of its construction the curl can be a good thing for a cowl and can be avoided with an edge of garter or seed stitch.

Cable Stitch Patterns - An absolute beauty, cable stitches make any project look beautiful. You can make simple cables or go for complex patterns.

Reversible Patterns - For reversible knitted patterns there are a whole lot of possibilities. Double knitting is a technique of colourwork that produces a fabric with different colours on both sides that are warmer than other knitted fabrics.

Colourwork - Knitting with colours is a delight for all knitters. There are so many different techniques starting from Stranded, Intarsia, Mosaic, Duplicate stitches and more.

Textured Stitches - Made with a combination of knit and purl stitches, textured patterns make any project special. From Seed Stitch to Moss Stitch, Bobbles and more, there are many interesting patterns.

Cast Off - Just like cast-on, the cast-off technique must be carefully selected. You will be casting off stitches, knitwise or purlwise. Use a stretchy method for a neat finish. Use a darning needle in the right size according to the pattern to carefully bury the yarn ends.

So, get ready to knit a cowl. To assist with smooth knitting, explore the Mindful Collection. Stainless knitting needles with a unique inspirational word imprinted on the body and accessories such as stitch markers, scissors and needle sets assist you in the practice of mindful knitting.

Mindful Collection   stainless steel knitting needle sets