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Feather Cowl

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  • Craft:                     Knitting
  • Suggested yarn:   Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift
  • Yarn weight:          Fingering / 4 ply (14 wpi)
  • Gauge:                  28 stitches and 30 rows = 10 cm/4in
  • Needle size:          3.0 mm US 2½ , 3.25 mm US 3, 2.0 mm US 0, 3.75 mm US 5
  • Yardage:               330 - 400 m / 361 - 437 yds
  • Sizes available:     Narrow (to fit teen/small adult), Wide (to fit large adult)

This is a pattern for a stranded colourwork cowl, to fit a range of sizes, inspired by the colours and patterns found in the beautiful feathers of my flock of hens. I have chosen a subdued palette of colours, from the Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift range, but this cowl could also be worked in a high tone palette or in monochrome; alternative colourway suggestions are given. There are four background colours in neutral/brown shades and six foreground colours in shades of yellow and pink; but you could use just one background colour and either multiple foreground colours, or just one. The cowl is designed to fit reasonably closely to the neck, with a flared lower edge which sits neatly over the shoulders, but since it uses a single 12-stitch repeated motif, it can easily be resized for a roomier cowl. Instructions are given for a narrow cowl (60 cm / 23 ½” circumference) and a wide cowl (68 cm / 26 ¾” circumference.); both are 26 cm (10 ¼”) tall.

This pattern requires 2 balls of the main background colour, but none of the remaining colours uses a full ball, so this pattern is ideal for stash busting.

Techniques used include Estonian two-colour braided cast on (optional), 3-needle bind off, knitting in the round, and a folded hem .
See also the matching beanie, full mittens, and fingerless mittens.

The versions shown are: monochrome in a range of greys and natural Shetland black; , and subdued palette and high tone palette are also suggested, for the colours used see the pattern for the matching beanie.

Pattern support is available; please email me if you have any questions or problems.

This pattern can be knit in any fingering/4ply weight yarn, but for colourwork the very best results are obtained by using a woolly wool such as Jamieson's or Jamieson & Smith real Shetland yarns. The texture is wonderful, and the colour choices are huge. As always, when substituting yarn, be sure to knit a swatch to check that you are able to get the right gauge for the pattern. Suggested yarn substitutes can be found at
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