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Soft-Hearted Cowl

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“Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness.” Katherine Henson

Designed especially to be knitted in Old Maiden Aunt’s Operation: Social Justice yarns (’bleeding heart’ and ‘soft-centred’), and named after these two wonderful colourways, Soft Hearted is a versatile cowl that is knitted in the round. The pattern combines single-round stripes in garter stitch with slipped stitches and a wee bit of lace to create a gorgeously satisfying texture, which will swirl around your knitting.

Yarn kits availble for Size 1 version via

There are three different sizing options for the Soft- Hearted Cowl, however all three start in the same way, beginning with an i-cord along which stitches are picked up along its length which is curved around to join in the round. For size 1, the i-cord becomes the top edge, while for sizes 2 and 3 the i-cord acts as a centre seam.
Size 1: the cowl is single thickness and worked in the round from top to bottom, and the bottom edge is finished with a smart i-cord cast-off. This size uses half of a full 100g skein of each colour – you can choose which is one is the MC and which is the CC.
Size 2: the cowl is single thickness and worked as for size 1, but double height, with the MC and CC swapping between yarn A and B for the second half. The bottom edge of the cowl is finished with an i-cord cast-off.
Size 3: the cowl is double thickness and constructed sideways, though the first half is worked as for size 2. Stitches from the completed first half are placed on hold while the second half is worked, then grafted together to create a side-to-side, double-thickness cowl.

Old Maiden Aunt, Merino Cashmere Nylon 4ply (4ply / fingering-weight; 366m / 400 yds per 100g skein; 80% superwash Merino, 10% nylon, 10% cashmere)
50g (100g, 100g) of bleeding heart (yarn A)
50g (100g, 100g) of soft-centred (yarn B)

23 sts x 48 rnds = 10 cm / 4” measured over slipped st pattern
I recommend only gently blocking your cowl, in which case the gauge is virtually the same blocked as unblocked

4.00 mm / US 6 circular needle, 40-60 cm (16-24”) long
You could work the cowl on DPNs but I’d recommend a circular needle for ease working the travelling stitch pattern.
1 (1, 2) stitch markers for BOR plus 2 lockable stitch markers as markers Y and Z
For Size 3: a spare circular needle (or DPNs) of the same size, any length, for holding first half sts and for 3-needle cast-off

Three sizes: 1(2, 3) see schematics in photos for more details

chart & written instructions

First published March 2020
You will get a PDF (4MB) file