Holiday Gifts – Cowls

It’s October. I won’t mention how many days there are until Christmas, but suffice it to say, the gift knitting had better be underway. Now I know that some of you are SO on top of this and you already have a big box of knitted items finished, washed, and wrapped up carefully in tissue paper, waiting for gift wrapping. (Some day I want to be like you.) Others of us have not even started and are wondering if we even have time to knit for anyone at all this year. The solution? Quick knits. No sweaters, no afghans. I will be sharing some gift ideas over the next few weeks – patterns and yarn suggestions, for the friends/teachers/relatives on your list who get the good stuff. (You know, the handknits.)

This week, let’s talk about cowls. Here in St. Louis, the humidity makes the cold feel like it’s seeping under your skin in the wintertime. I have found that if my neck is warm, then most of the time I don’t even need a coat, if I’m just dashing from car to Loopy or car to home. I made this new cowl last week. I have to admit – it’s not a gift – it’s for me. πŸ™‚ I love cowls that button instead of smooshing down over your head and hair. These are easy to get on and off. (Having said that, I’ve also made the other kind, and will keep making those as well.)

Here are some of my favorite cowl patterns. (I know that not everyone is on Ravelry. I’ve included patterns both on and off of that site. Rav patterns have an (R) by them.) Now what I need to do is to pick out the patterns and the yarn and line them all up on a shelf, so that I can have a visual of what needs to get done before Christmas.

Quick to knit worsted weight options:
(R) Irish Cabled Neckwarmer (this is the one I made, above)
(R) Crofter’s Cowl (I like the photos as much as the cowl.)
Tudora (cute asymetrical look)
Tom’s Star Crossed Cowl (I love cables. Can you tell? Great for guys.)

Yarn suggestions in worsted weight: Malabrigo Rios (that’s what I used for the one above), Malabrigo Worsted, Malabrigo Twist, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted,Β Dream in Color Classy, Cascade 220, Cascade Eco Alpaca or Duo,Β Madelinetosh Vintage, Blue Sky Worsted Hand Dyes, Lang Yak, and Universal’s Cotton Supreme for a non-wool option.

Sport/DK weight options:
Neck Warmer (love how this tucks under a coat. Great for guys.)
Spiral Cowl (I’d use Blue Sky’s Alpaca Silk – yum)
Honey Cowl (pretty texture. I’d loop it twice around, I think.)
Poinsettia (love everything Anne Hanson designs!)
(R) Felicity Cowl (cable at the top, cable at the bottom)
Ivy Vines Neckwarmer (great vertical & horizontal lines)

Yarn suggestions in sport/dk weights: Alpaca With a Twist Baby Twist, Amy Butler DK, Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, Fiesta Ballet, Hand Maiden Camel Spin, Lorna’s Laces Honor or Pearl or Sport, Shibui Baby Alpaca DK, Studio June Andrea Mae DK, and Cascade Fixation or Blue Sky Skinny Cotton for non-wool options.

Fingering weight options:
Good Luck Cowl (so pretty)
Tapestry Cowl (would look great in Loopy Solids line)
(R) Double Duty Cowl (cowl turned hat turned cowl – cool)
(R) Pretty Thing (isn’t it, though?)

Yarn suggestions in fingering weight: Alchemy Juniper, Dream in Color Smooshy or Starry, Fiber Optic, Fiberphile, Hand Maiden Swiss Mtn. Sea Sock, Madelinetosh Sock or Merino Light, String Theory Caper, Tempted Good Grrl, The Loopy Ewe Solid Series, Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga, and Crystal Palace Panda Cotton or Kollage Luscious for non-wool options.

There. That ought to keep us all busy for a day or two ….

Sheri wholovesquickknitslikethis,doneinadayortwo


  1. your rios cowl is lovely – I’m dying to hear how it knits up (rios that is ) – you presented some great selections and a few have already hit my que. Thanks for the list and yarn options. Melody

  2. You’re on target and one step ahead of me. I have been moving cowls to the top of the queue for Christmas. I did use Wendy Johnson’s autumnal neck cozy for an August birthday gift. I had been avoiding the ones with buttons, but I suppose they would be appreciated by those people who are concerned about a hairdo (obviously not me).

  3. I just started a sock with String Theory Caper Sock and it is SO wonderful — if only it was cold enough in Texas to need a cowl

  4. Fortunately, I have a short list to knit for. πŸ˜€ I’ll probably be making a few of this type of thing. And hats. Lots of hats. Been a few years since I did hats, I think people need new ones.

  5. I don’t wear scarves and cowls so don’t make them as gifts often. i’m having a felted Christmas here. I’m making felt clogs from Cascade 220 and dumpling bags from Lamb’s Pride bulky. I set aside Sundays as gift knitting days and hope to have all done by 11/30. I have to little girls for whom I’ve been designing sweaters for 2 years. Once again this hasn’t happened so I’ll be using commercially produced pattern. I love the book 60 QUICK KNITS using Cascade 220. Great patterns and yarn…mitts, hats, scarves.

  6. I’ve started Christmas knitting–there’s two fingering-weight, special presents, and the rest are all worsted weight quickies. I have a table to track what I want to make for whom, when it needs to be done (some are pre-Thanksgiving), what pattern, if I have the yarn, and so on. I’ve even done a stash-dive first, before looking to you to fill the gaps.

    Now let’s see if I get it all done in time. πŸ™‚

  7. I am so finicky about cowls now that I have made some. I agree that button cowls are much easier to deal with than pull-over.
    I also like cowls that are close but not tightly-fit.
    The patterns are all lovely and fast to work up.

    *sigh* more to queue up

  8. What a great array of ideas, patterns and yarn suggestions! Could you do the same for mittens, fingerless gloves, and hats? Thanks!

  9. Love the lists! Thanks for doing all the research and sharing. πŸ™‚
    I’m trying to get myself to walk (for exercise) several times a week, and when the weather cools down, I think a cowl will be just the thing to cut the bay breeze from going down my jacket front.

    I like fast knits once in a while. Especially when they have alpaca or cashmere in the yarn. πŸ˜€

  10. Hey Sheri,
    Just want to say thank you so much for the cowl gift ideas! I am SO into cowls this year and I have been scoping out cowl patterns like crazy. Your list has given me a few I haven’t yet found, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! I always love it when you do your gift idea suggestions an yarn ideas. I learn a lot and I have a nice backlog of ideas to fall back on when I get inspired.
    I feel that I should explain that because I work long hours all week, I save your blog entries until Friday night or Saturday and then read them all at once. That way I stay in the loop, but I also have time to enjoy/explore. So keep the gift ideas coming as I definitely need and want them!!’
    Thanks again!!

  11. I know it wasn’t on your list, but I made incognito for a friend last year as a kind of gag gift (with a mustache calendar), and it was super warm. I lined it with fleece and he wore it until he was too darn hot with a beer can hat someone else had gotten him. It is the perfect gag gift (or serious gift) for some of the kookier people.

  12. Thanks for all the great gift ideas. I can see that I will be adding a few more gifts to my things to knit list. As if it wasn’t long enough already. But if I can stay out of the stores I’m happy.
    I wonder what kind of shadow that cat throws on the walls at night. I bet it has scared the beejeebers out of someone.

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