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Cottage Garden Cowl

Cottage Garden Cowl


approx. 100g DK or aran/worsted weight yarn

Needles – 4.5mm (US7)

I met Rowan of Fox Eats Fibre Yarns at a craft fair late this summer, and fell in love with her gorgeous hand-dyed merino yarn. Out of all the wonderful shades, the pretty purple-green colorway, ‘Honesty Plant’ stuck out to me.

My grandmother, a florist, had an extensive garden filled with flowers, but she always had a fondness for honesty (technically Lunaria annua, but it’s a good pun in English, right?) because of its beautiful bright purple flowers, rambling green stems, and pretty, moon-like seed pods.

So, it seemed natural to try and create a design that showed off the colors and drape of this lovely yarn, and echoed the cottage garden elegance of the plant from which it takes its name.

I ended up with a simple, one-piece in-the-round cowl that combines Indian Cross Stitch with a 3x2 rib and the added textural detail of a Vikkel braid. The cowl is knit on 4.5mm needles for an airy, open texture, but you can easily go down a needle size to achieve a tighter, neater, more uniform look.

If you haven’t tried Indian Cross Stitch before, it’s infinitely easier than it looks, and really quite fun. I also love the way that the garter stitch between the rows of crossed stitches forms a natural wave – just like the way plants in a busy garden tangle together – so, if you want to focus more on that feature, feel free to omit the Vikkel braid section, and instead stack more cross stitch repeats on top of each other and watch the pattern flow!


k: knit
p: purl
k2tog: knit two stitches together
ktbl: knit into the back loop
m1L: make one left (increase one stitch).


>> Cast on 105 stitches using your preferred method and join in the round.

Note: The 3x2 rib is of course worked in multiples of five, while the Indian Cross Stitch is worked in multiples of 8, which is why you’ll k2tog in the last row before starting the crossed stitch panel. If you want to change the length of the cowl, you’ll need to make sure your adjusted stitch number works with those multiples.

>> Ribbing section:

* k3, p2 * every row

Work ribbing for approx 1 ½ inches, or however deep you prefer. On the final row, work to last two stitches, then k2tog.

>> Indian Cross Stitch section (1):

This stitch pattern is worked over twelve rows. For the first four rows, you knit garter stitch, then on the fifth row you’ll create a whole mess of yarnovers, which you’ll drop in the sixth row and then literally cross those half of those stitches over each other. Trust me, it’ll make sense.

Row 1: knit

Row 2: purl

Row 3: knit

Row 4: purl

Row 5: * Insert needle into the next stitch as if to knit, but wrap the yarn 4 times before completing the stitch. Repeat for one round. *

Row 6: * Slip 8 stitches from left to right needle, holding yarn to the back. As you slip, drop the extra wraps from each stitch. You now have eight long stitches on the right needle. Insert the left needle into the first four stitches you slipped (the ones furthest to your right) and pass them over the last four stitches and onto the left needle, being careful not to let the stitches tangle. Slip the remaining four stitches onto the left needle, and then knit all eight. *

Row 7: purl

(Note: yes, row 7 would ordinarily be a knit row to keep your in-the-round garter in pattern, but you’ll find that if you knit here, the loops from your row of crossed stitches may be a little lumpy and unsightly, so I suggest switching to purl.)

Row 8: knit

Row 9: purl

Row 10: knit

Row 11: as Row 5

Row 12: (Work as Row 6) Slip 4 stitches to the right needle, dropping the extra wraps. Cross the first two stitches over the last two, placing them on the left needle, then slip the last two stitches back to the left needle and knit all four.

*Slip 8, cross 4, placing all stitches back on left needle and knit* For the last four stitches, slip 4, cross 2, then knit all four.

>> Garter stitch:

Row 13: purl

Row 14: knit

Row 15: purl

Row 16: knit

This gives a pretty border and separation to your crossed stitch panel. If you’re knitting more repeats and skipping the Vikkel braid, these four rows will be the first rows of your next Indian Cross Stitch repeat. If you’re going ahead to the Vikkel braid, knit the four rows of garter, then proceed as below.

>> Vikkel braid section

A Vikkel braid, also known as a lateral or Estonian braid, is just a horizontal line across your knitting. It’s fairly easy, but gives an interesting look and texture to your knitting. If you prefer, you can skip this section and work the whole cowl in Indian Cross Stitch up to the top ribbing.

Row 18-21: knit (stockinette stitch)

Row 22: *ktbl of the second stitch on your left-hand needle, but don’t slide the stitches off. Then knit the first stitch. Now slide both stitches off the needle and slip the last worked stitch back to the left. * When you get to the last stitch, knit it, then pass the second stitch on the right needle over.

Row 23-26: knit (stockinette stitch)

>> Indian Cross Stitch section (2):

Row 27: purl

Row 28: knit

Row 29: purl

Row 30: knit

Row 31: as Row 5

Row 32: as Row 6

Optional: If you like, if you’re using smaller needles, if you omitted the Vikkel braid section, or if you want a really deep cowl, you can continue the next rows the same way as Rows 7-12 instead of going straight to the ribbing.

If you want to proceed to the ribbing, work 2-4 rounds of garter stitch, and m1L on the second to last stitch of your final round, so you have the right multiple of stitches for your rib.

>> Ribbing section:

* k3, p2 * every row

Work ribbing for approx 1 ½ inches, or however deep you prefer.

Bind off in pattern, block lightly if preferred, and enjoy!

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