It took me longer than I intended but my pattern for my Squashy Cowl is finally available!
Squishy, stretchy, warm, reversible, fast knit cowl using worsted weight yarn. This pattern is done in a basic 6×6 rib but with alternating rows of elongated knit and elongated purl stitches. The knit/purl columns remain constant, but it alternates between rows where the knit stitches are elongated with purl stitches normal, and rows where the purl stitches are elongated and knit are normal. This results in alternating blocks of puffy stitches combined with blocks of normal tighter stitches. The technique is easy to learn and easy to do and gives a huge amount of stretch to the item. When it isn’t stretched out it creates fluffy folds that make the item very warm. Knit flat and seaming the two sides together the ribs are horizontal and the stretch is vertical in the cowl, lending it to being worn as a cowl and hood pull up over the head. Knit on the round the ribs are vertical and the stretch is horizontal. This allows the cowl to be worn loosely around the neck, or stretched out and looped for extra warmth. Made wide enough and long enough this pattern could be easily adapted to work as a shoulder shrug/shoulder cosy.
Elongated Knit Stitch
ek – elongated knit stitch
ep – elongated purl stitch
This pattern relies upon an elongated stitch. To make an elongated knit stitch, you make a knit stitch as you would normally except for one difference: you make two wraps of the yarn instead of one. By making the extra wrap it mimics the effect if you had used a larger needle for that stitch, creating a much larger loop. Consider it like a yarn over (YO) WITHIN a stitch, rather than before or after a stitch like a normal yarn over. With a yarn over the stitch count is increased, but with an elongated stitch your stitch count never changes due to how the stitch is worked.
diagram of what each stitch type will look like and how they will appear in the cowl
Creating an Elongated stitch
Insert your working needle into the stitch knit wise, wrap the working yarn around the working needle twice, then pull the wrapped yarn through the stitch as you would in a normal knit stitch. This will result in two loops for that stitch instead of one. The extra wrap/loop is creating some slack in the yarn that will be released when you work it on the next row.
Working an Elongated stitch
How you work an enlongated stitch is key to achieving the effect. When you get to an elongated stitch you will see the yarn wrapped around the needle rather than just looped over like a normal stitch. Pick up the first loop with your working yarn, work it as the pattern indicates, but when you pull the yarn through the stitch you need to pull the extra loop off the needle as well. You are releasing the slack you created by doing the double wrap when you created the stitch, making that loop extra big.
It is important that it is worked as one to get the elongated loop.
- Do NOT knit each loop separately. This would create extra stitches and you would not get the big elongated loop.
- Do NOT knit the two loops together. This would keep the loop from being large and elongated.
The pattern is actually quite simple once you get a handle on the elongated stitch. You really just need to remember to release the elongated stitch each time you come to one. Now that I have explained the elongated stitch to death, on to the actual pattern!
- 300-400 yards of worsted weight yarn. (I used Berocco Vintage yarn)
- Size 6 US (4mm) circular needles. (Straight needles can be used if you are making the knit flat vertical stretch version of the cowl.)
Option 1: Knit Flat/Vertical Stretch
Cast on 84 stitches using a stretchy cast on technique. This will be 8 repeats of the ribbed pattern. NOTE: If you want to make it wider/more narrow make sure your total number of stitches of a multiple of 6!
OPTIONAL SEAMLESS JOIN: For a concealed seam on the cowl cast on using a provisional cast on method. This will allow you to seam the two sides together using kitchener.
Row 1,3,5 : *(ek6, p6), repeating * 7 times
Row 2,4,6 : *(k6, ep6), repeating * 7 times
Row 7,9,11 : *(k6, ep6), repeating * 7 times
Row 8,10,12 : *(ek6, p6), repeating * 7 times
Repeat rows 1-12 until it reaches the desired length. In the pattern example 20 repeats were done.
Cast off using a stretchy cast off technique, then join the two sides together using the technique of your choice. For best results complete the seam in such a way that allows for some stretch.
OPTIONAL SEAMLESS JOIN: Instead of casting off pick up the stitches from the provisional cast on edge and connect the two sides of the cowl using kitchener stitch. In order to do this and have it be truly seamless you need to be able to do a kitchener stitch for both knit and purl stitches.
Option 2: Knit on the round/Horizontal Stretch
Cast on 252 stitches on circular needles. Join on the round.
Row 1-6: *(ek6, p6), repeating * 21 times
Row 7-12 : *(k6, ep6), repeating * 21 times
Repeat rows 1-12 until cowl is desired length.
Cast off using stretchy cast of technique.
You can download a PDF version of this pattern by clicking HERE.