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Lapham Cowl Pattern

Kits are available from North Light Fibers (!

Early morning. A walk down a dewy trail into the woods, to fine black nets strung between the trees. Helpers gently disentangle a young bird, then hold him up for admiration. He spreads his tail feathers wide – and sparks a design idea.

The unique stranded colorwork motif also draws on Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. The cowl’s slightly flared bottom ribbing, low height, and soft, lightweight yarn make it both comfortable and cozy.

This design was produced in partnership with North Light Fibers of Block Island as part of their Beacon program for independent designers. I’m grateful to North Light Fibers for their support, and I highly encourage knitters to work with their rich, colorful yarn.

The pattern is named in honor of Elise Lapham, who in 1967 established a bird banding station on her family’s property on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island.

Skills Needed / Notes:
Cast on, join and work in the round, knit, purl, change colors between rounds, change needles between rounds, read a colorwork chart, do stranded colorwork in two colors (with consistent yarn dominance), knit decrease, work through the back loop, and bind off.
  • The motif section of the pattern is charted only.
  • Only two colors are worked at any time, and most floats (strands not in use) do not need to be caught.
  • Estimated level: Adventurous Beginner - Intermediate.
Finished Dimensions: 26 in x 7.5 in (66 cm X 19 cm), after blocking.

  • North Light Fibers’ Spring Street (100% Falkland Islands Merino, 2.5 oz/ 310 yards, fingering/3-ply weight), one skein each of three contrasting colors.
  • Sample shown in Pale Maiden, Jack’s Blue, and Sandstone.
  • The three skeins are enough to make two cowls, reversing the main color and one of the contrasting colors, or one longer cowl.
  • Total yards/meters: approximately 265 - 275 yds (242 - 253 m).
Needles and Notions:
  • Circular knitting needles US sizes 1.5 (2.5 mm) and 2 (2.75 mm), 24 in (61 cm) long, or sizes to obtain given gauge.
  • Tapestry needle.
  • Stitch markers.
Over colorwork pattern, knit in the round with US size 2 (2.75 mm) circular needle: 30 stitches and 43 rounds = 4 in/10 cm, after blocking. Please take time to save time and check your gauge.

This pattern has been test knit and professionally tech edited. However, humans were involved, and an error still might have slipped by us. If you should find one, please let me know.

You will get a PDF (963KB) file

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