This pattern is more of a guide to make a reversible, seamless braided cowl. It can be adapted in several different ways and with different yarn. If you put the effort forth to hand-knitting an item from this guide and hope to sell it, by all means sell it. Please link this pattern to your listing if you do choose to sell from it. If you are feeling especially nice, charge more for yours on Etsy than I will ;)
You will need:
Approximately 110 yds of chunky yarn, preferably a wool or wool mix. Wool is a great insulator in cold weather and resists moisture so it will keep you dry as well. Not only that but it's a treat to knit. I used Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande in red. The yardage worked out perfectly with 2 or 3 yards to spare.
A foot or 2 of yarn of any size, color, or weight to be used in the CO. This will not be in the end result.
Size US 13 needles. Pull out the big ones that you hide under your bed in case someone breaks into your house.
Large crochet hook to use as a stitch holder when doing cables
1 yarn/darning needle
4 chunky double pointed knitting needles. Size US 13 would be ideal, but I use US size 10 and have survived. You can substitute any chunky size, or in a pinch use markers or thick pens. You will not be knitting with these. They will merely be to hold stitches while you graft. Don't be scared if you've never done this, I'll walk you through it.
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This pattern is easily modified for different yarns or lengths. If you would like to double the length of this cowl so that it can wrap around your neck twice in a fluffy vogue type way, simply double the yardage required and work the cable twice as many times. If it were me I'd do twice as many times +1. The cable pattern divides the stitches into thirds and requires even numbers.
For instance, this standard pattern will CO 36 stitches which will divide into 3 sections of 12 to make the braid. You can easily make it thinner and CO 30 and divide each section into 10s, etc. I recommend not making the sections any larger than 12 stitches because it get's awfully difficult to cable numbers that high. Your hands will begin to ache.
K = Knit
C24F in rib= place the first 12 stitches onto the crochet hook and hold in front of the work. Work the next 12 stitches in 1x1 rib, then work the stitches off of the crochet hook in 1x1 rib.
C24B in rib= place the first 12 stitches onto the crochet hook and hold in back of the work. Work the next 12 stitches in 1x1 rib, then work the stitches off of the crochet hook in 1x1 rib.
1x1 rib = (K1, P1) repeat across.
Shall we begin?
Using the provisional method of casting on, CO 36 stitches. (This YouTube video was a great help to me learning this method. It's essential you cast on these "live" stitches.)
**(K1, P1) for 4 rows
Next row: C24F in rib and (K1, P1) until end of the row.
(K1, P1) for 8 rows
Next row: C24B in rib and (K1, P1) until end of row.
(K1, P1) for 4 rows. Repeat from ** 4 times (or desired amount)
That was easy, wasn't it? The next part is a bit tricky, but don't be scared. It's just yarn. Tell yourself you're good enough, smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you. Think of how proud of yourself you'll be and how smart you'll feel wearing a seamless cowl. Take a deep breath, here we go into the grafting part. (I recommend if you have never done grafting, or even grafting 1x1 ribbing to work up a small swatch in cheap scrap yarn and practice before using your nice project. There's only one thing trickier than doing the Kitchener stitch in rib, and that's redoing the Kitchener stitch in rib.)
I'll show you how to do this stitch using an orange swatch with smaller stitches so it's easier to see.
With the end you just finished with, and using 2 thick double pointed needles, divide the knit stitches onto one needle, and the purl stitches onto the other needle, like this:
Now, you'll want to loop your work around in a circle and find where 2 sides meet up by where you'll start. Since the Kitchener stitch is worked from right to left, I recommend starting where the yarn is at the right side. Give yourself about a generous yard of yarn to spare and cut your yarn and put on the darning needle, giving yourself a huge tail so the length you'll be working with won't be so long and tangly.
The Kitchener is worked with a front needle and back needle, but for this project I think it's easier to refer to them as the top needle and bottom needle.. Locate the 2 needles you'll be beginning to graft from.
The tricky part will be that all 4 needles will be close together, and you just want to work the front 2, and when you've worked across and those 2 needles are no longer used, you'll flip the work and work off the back 2 needles. You'll be tempted to get frustrated with those back 2 needles getting in the way, but take your time and focus on those front 2.
Now, there's a lingo, or chant that goes with the Kitchener: "Knit purl, purl knit." This is confusing to some because there is not knitting or purling going on with these stitches. It is referring to inserting the needle into a loop knitwise or purlwise. Let me show you the difference between the two.
This is knitwise:
This is purlwise:
To set up the stitch, thread the darning needle through the bottom needle purlwise, and then through the top needle knitwise. You're ready to start the "chant" now.
Step 1: Working with the bottom needle, thread the needle through knitwise and slip that stitch off the needle. Then thread the needle through the next stitch purlwise and keep that stitch on the needle.
Step 2: Then moving to the top needle, thread the needle through purlwise and slip that stitch off the needle. Then thread the needle through the next stitch knitwise and keep that stitch on the needle.
Repeat those 2 steps over and over until you've reached the end of one side. I highly recommend before starting the next side to go back and fix the tension among any of the stitches you just did. I like to thread my yarn through very loosely and go back and tighten each stitch. I find that's easier than doing it too tight and trying to go back and loosen them. Once that side looks perfect, flip your work, set up your stitches again on those 2 back needles and work across the other side.
Weave in your ends and you're done. Now go eat some chocolate. You've earned it.