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Orford Cowl

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With its chocolate box cottages, medieval church and friendly pubs, Orford, on the Suffolk coast, is the quintessential English village. Fishing boats bring in daily catches, and visitors to the 12th Century castle mingle with birdwatchers heading to the national nature reserve at Orford Ness.

Just like its namesake, the Orford Cowl is romantic, bijou and full of beautiful details. The design combines lace with delicate twisted rib cables to produce a cowl that’s as interesting to knit as it is fun to wear.

This is the sister design to my popular Orford Shawl, released in May 2021.

Designed for a fade set of 5 miniskeins that move from light to dark, the Orford Cowl’s panel and ridge construction lends itself perfectly to playing with colour. A miniskein set of different colours would produce a colourblock cowl, or a single skein of fingering weight yarn would give a more classic look.

One size; top circumference 64cm/25”; bottom circumference 74cm/29”; height 30cm/12”.


You will need 300m/330yds fingering/4ply wool or wool-blend yarn. Gauge is not important for this project, but adjusting gauge will affect the amount of yarn used.

Sample is shown in Eden Cottage Yarns Silverdale 4ply, bundle of 5 miniskeins in colourway Tarn Fade (5 x 20g/80m/87yds 75% superwash superfine Merino wool, 15% nylon, 10% silver stellina). Sample used 69g/275m/300yds yarn in total.

4mm/US 6 needle, 60cm/24” length
7 stitch markers
Cable needle

The cowl is worked from the top down. It is shaped by increasing stitches at regular intervals on an insert panel. The cable and lace panel is repeated across the cowl, with garter-stitch ridges between panels.

The cowl is designed to widen slightly at the bottom, with a closer fit around the upper neck. The pattern includes instructions for knitting a straight cowl with no shaping, and also for modifying the cowl to give a wider circumference.

This pattern has been professionally tech edited, for a stress-free knit.

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