Holiday Knitting: Cowls

Last year, I did a few posts with holiday knitting ideas and pattern links. (You can find those posts here, here, and here.) I thought I’d share some more ideas with you this year as well. If you haven’t started any holiday gift knitting yet, now might be the time. I’m starting with Cowls, because I think that they might just be the perfect knitted gift in the winter time. Why?

1. Cowls are something that most people don’t buy for themselves. (I think this is partly because you don’t see too many for sale in the stores.)
2.  Most cowls are relatively quick and easy to knit. You can finish one in a couple of nights.
3.  Many of these patterns take just one skein of yarn, so it’s a project that doesn’t break the bank.
4.  It’s a fun way to try out new stitch patterns and techniques, without committing to a large project.

Here are some ideas, along with some of the cowls I have knit up. (The only repeat link from last year is the Irish Cabled Neckwarmer, because it’s one of my favorites and I wanted to include the photo!) After researching these patterns, I’m ready to make some more.

Fingering Weight Cowls (these tend to be drapier and lighter):

Summer Wind (hot off my needles, shown here in Alisha Goes Around)
Cream and Sugar Cowl
Miss Doolittle
Less is More Cowl (pull it up when the wind gets cold)
Mimzi Cowl

Yarn suggestions for fingering weight cowls: Alisha Goes Around, Claudia Hand Painted, Done Roving, Dragonfly Fibers Djinni, Dream in Color Smooshy, Fiberphile MCN, Hand Maiden Casbah, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, Madelinetosh Sock, Shibui Staccato, Spud and Chloe Fine, Studio June Super Cash Sock, Swan’s Island Fingering, The Loopy Ewe Solid Series, Three Irish Girls Adorn, and Trekking XXL.

Sport and DK Weight Cowls (these tend to be a bit warmer):

Stacked Eyelet Cowl
Caera Cowl
Polyphylla Cowl
Julia Neckwarmer
Trickledown Neckwarmer & Mitts
Lava Flow Cowl (shown here in Lorna’s Laces Honor)

Yarn Suggestions for sport/dk weight cowls: Alpaca with a Twist Baby Twist, Amy Butler Belle Organic DK, Blue Sky Royal, Cascade Epiphany, Fiesta Ballet, Hand Maiden Camel Spin, Madelinetosh Pashmina, Madelinetosh Sport, Malabrigo Silky Merino, and String Theory DK.

Worsted Weight Cowls (these tend to be warmest of all and quickest to knit:
Irish Cabled Neckwarmer (Shown here in Malabrigo Rios)
Herringbone Neck Warmer
Lady Jessica
Fern Neckwarmer
Simply Soft Cowl
Cable Crush Cowl
Lace Twists Neckwarmer
Snow Drift
Eternity Scarf

Yarn suggestions for worsted weight cowls: Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran, Blue Sky Worsted Hand Dyes, Cascade 220, Cascade Eco Alpaca, Dream in Color Classy, Fiesta Boomerang, Lang Yak, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted, Malabrigo Rios, Spud and Chloe Sweater, Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Worsted, and Universal Cotton Supreme.

I hope you found a few fun patterns in this batch! Have you started on gift-knitting yet? Or are you not knitting for gifts this year? I’m still undecided about making gifts this year, but I’m definitely going to be making some of these cowls, either way.

Sheri who-apparently-getsalittletooattachedtotheknittingonceitisalldone



  1. I haven’t really started on the gift knitting yet. I’ve been researching shawl patterns that use between 800 and 900 yards of yarn. I’m still trying to decide if I want to try a pattern with beads, because while it is pretty it certainly slows the knitting down!

  2. MadelineTosh Pashmina is excellent. There are lots of great yarns out there, but this one is fun to knit and crochet. The results are wonderful.

    I am gift knitting simple cowls and scarves in amazing yarns.

    Here’s what I have learned: don’t try to duplicate store items. Don’t make it too fancy or the person won’t use it.

    Get a great sock or DK that washes, make a cowl or scarf that is simple but emphasizes the beauty of the yarn, and you have a gift that will be cherished.

  3. I haven’t started yet and I really need to at least get thinking seriously about what I want to do (and can logically complete!).

  4. Wow, so many lovely choices! As was suggested to me by a friend, I need to quit my day job to make more time for all of the fun things I want to make! As always, your posts inspire knitting new things as well as a desire for more money to sample each of your beautiful yarns!

  5. gift knitting here started officially October 1. I’m knitting 3 children’s sweaters and possibly some other things. I’m pretty sure I’ll knit mittens for the nephew’s girlfriend. I’ve scaled back this year.

  6. Jill – it’s similar to Blue Mud Dauber, but my skein had a bit more teal in it. It was a skein that I got at our TNNA Market in June, so it wasn’t a color that we got with this latest batch.

  7. Having taken a liking to weaving on my new Cricket loom, I have started making scarves for gifts this year– most folks/friends will get scarves this year–some with handspun yarn too! However, October kicks off my “charity knitting month”, which means anything off my needles or loom goes to the kids at a school that my work supports for a Hat and Mitten drive. Last year I was able to make 4 hats and 4 sets of mittens in the month of October… maybe this year I can do 5!

  8. I’ve made my list and checked it twice, but haven’t started yet. Mostly hats and mittens here. I did cowls last year. 🙂

  9. Cowls are very high on my list of things to knit as gifts. I’ve already got two in the works and have plans to do three or four more.

  10. i have so many “one offs” in handpainted sock yarn that summer wind looks like a winner for gifting! The irish cabled neckwarmer is gorgeous and a must – i think for me!

    Your blog and suggestions are always inspiring! – thanks for once more spiking my interest!

    i might have to amend my frugal “finish an object before you start another…..”

  11. What a great pattern that Summer Wind is – and I’m up to my ears in sock yarn, thanks (for the greatest part) to you! I need a copy of this whole blog post!!

  12. Christmas gift Knitting? Yes—thank goodness for stash because it is going to be a lean country christmas full of handmade gifts!!! Thanks for the ideas, I have 5 nieces who will benefit from these!!!

  13. Cowls are an awesome gift. My goal is to have a basket full so that guests may choose one they like. Do ya think i am planning on much sleep this fall??? I still can plan.

  14. Sheri, I’m with you on the uncertain-about-gift-knitting thing: the pressure to produce (& perhaps the prospect of giving away the yarn) takes the fun out of it for me. But those are some appealing patterns – they almost make me think I could do it. Thanks for sharing!

  15. First – thank you for the patterns, they were very fabulous!
    Second – I think I may be knitting the Irish Cable cowl for someone, not sure if it will work out to be finished by Christmas, but her birthday is February if all else fails. lol
    I’m no longer afraid of cable patterns!!!
    I’m already working on a cable patterned scarf for my MIL for this Christmas so I’m hoping that works out on time. 🙂
    Cheers to all the gift knitters – may we be blessed with speedy knitting and beautiful products!! 🙂 And no soreness or tired hands lol
    Stay well – xo

  16. My gift knitting will be limited and special for the select family that I know “truly” appreciate/understand my knitting. I have never done cowls but have been looking this past week on Ravelry at them. There are two I would like to add to the suggestion list, the Honey Cowl by Madelinetosh (free pattern) , and I love the Jeweled Cowl (also a freebie), this calls for Malabrigo lace but some have been done in a fingering weight( hopefully you will have more Malabrigo lace soon), very pretty I plan on making a couple of these.( Sorry I don’t know how to link the patterns.) Please keep the pattern suggestions coming!

  17. Sheri, great cowl pattern suggestions – three patterns found their way into my Ravelry account :>. Thanks! Now, a litte stash shopping or maybe some TLE shopping. I always have a substantial list of things I’d love from TLE.

    I did buy a Loopy Ewe ceranic yarn bowl a few months ago and I’m really enjoying it. It lives on the table next to my kntting chair. There’s always a project sitting in it, which I think looks very nice. Now I havd a Loopy coaster on the way – I think my table will look very well organized and “knitterly”.

  18. I knitted my first cowl in your yarn Studio June Star Struck in Willow Cowl pattern, for an exchange. It looked and felt wonderful. Another lady knitted a cowl in exchange and I am such a convert. Warm, looks great, doesn’t get in the way like a scarf.
    I’m knitting another Willow in a different colourway of Studio June Starstruck, for me!

  19. I have actually started Christmas gift knitting! I CO for a pair of socks for my mom on Sept 13th with Zauberball. Knit about 80% of sock1 and then started a pair for my dad last Fri with Tosh Sock since I was going out of town for the weekend. Didn’t get too much knit on it while away. I’m also planning to knit Trillian ( for my BFF with a skein of Pashmina. Don’t know if there will be more items than that or not this year. I’ll be knitting DH a pair of warm house socks this winter, but that will likely start after 12/25.

  20. I am wanting to knit the first two marked summer 1 and summer 2 where would I find these patterns?
    Thanks! Renee

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