Free Cowl Knitting Pattern (Advanced Beginners)


In this blog post, you will see a free cowl knitting pattern that would make a cozy addition to your winter wardrobe.

The ribbed cowl is an easy pattern to follow; all you need is knowledge of the knit stitch and the purl stitch, plus how to work in the round.

This neck warmer uses bulky yarn to ensure extra winter warmth!

Please scroll down to view the free cowl pattern, or grab the printable PDF in my shop here.

Cowl Knitting Pattern

Cowl – Free Knitting Pattern

Purchase the inexpensive, ad-free, PDF printable pattern in my shop here.


The knitted cowl works up quickly using bulky weight yarn, and the simple design makes for a relaxing and enjoyable knit.

Cowls are great projects to either make one for yourself or to gift; make it in solid colors or stripes to make a statement piece.

This cozy cowl can be worn on the inside or outside of a jacket.

The repeat ribbed texture gives a great drape to this design.

Copyright Info

  • Please do not copy, sell, redistribute, or republish this easy knit cowl pattern. 
  • If you wish to share this pattern, link to the pattern page only.
  • You may sell items produced using this pattern.
  • Do NOT use the copyrighted photos for your product listing.
  • For the copyright T&C, please read my Terms of Use.

Size Information

  • Height – 18 inches.
  • Width at the widest point (the shoulders) – 18 inches.
  • Width at the narrowest point (the neck) – 10 inches.

Gauge – 14 sts and 16 rounds = 4 inches/10 cm in 2×2 ribbing.

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knitted neck warmer

The Supplies You Need


  • Bulky Yarn 05/Chunky/12-Ply/ Yarn Weight Guide (+ Conversion Chart)
  • I used 2 balls of The Petite Wool in Spotted Beige from We Are Knitters.
  • One ball is 100g/153 yards/140m.
  • Use my code – MGM4VHHAT – for 10 off on your WAK yarn order.




  • Beg – Begin(ning)
  • Cont – Continue(ing)
  • K – Knit
  • K2tog – Knit the next two stitches together
  • P – Purl
  • P2tog – Purl the next two stitches together
  • PM – Place marker
  • Rem – Remaining
  • Rep – Repeat
  • Rnd(s) – Round(s)
  • St(s) – Stitch(es)
  • 1×1 Ribbing – *knit one stitch, purl one stitch – repeat from * to the end of the round.
  • 2×2 Ribbing – *knit two stitches, purl two stitches – repeat from * to the end of the round.


  1. Cast on 132 sts (using the long tail method)
  2. Join in the round and place a stitch marker at the join.
  3. Be careful not to twist the stitches.
  4. 1st round – *K2, P2 rep from * to the end of the round (2×2 Ribbing)
  5. Continue to work every round in 2×2 ribbing (K2, P2) until the piece measures 12 inches from the cast-on edge.
  6. Next Round – *K2tog, P2tog – rep from * to the end of the round. (66 sts)
  7. Next round – Work in 1×1 ribbing (K1, P1) – to the end of the round.
  8. Cont to repeat round – *K1, P1* every round until the piece measures 6.5 inches from the cast-on edge.
  9. You can add more or less in terms of measurement depending on how long/short you want the cowl to be.
  10. Cast off in pattern.
  11. Weave in loose ends.
stretchy knitted cowl

What Length Should A Cowl Be?

The length of a cowl can vary depending on personal preference and the style you’re going for.

Cowls are versatile accessories, and their length can be customized to suit your needs.

Here are some common lengths for different types of cowls:

  1. Short Cowl: A short cowl typically measures around 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm) in circumference. This size is great for a snug, neck-warming cowl that sits close to your neck without draping too much.
  2. Medium Cowl: A medium-length cowl can range from 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm) in circumference. It provides more coverage and can be worn in various ways, such as folded over for extra warmth or loosely for a relaxed look.
  3. Long Cowl: Long cowls can be anywhere from 30 to 60 inches (76 to 152 cm) or more in circumference. These cowls can be wrapped multiple times around your neck for added warmth, or you can wear them in a more relaxed, draping style.

The exact length of your cowl will also depend on factors like your height, the yarn and stitch pattern you’re using, and the desired style.

For knitting or crocheting cowls, you can customize the length to achieve the look and comfort you want.

Experiment with different lengths until you find the one that suits your style and needs best.

Knitted cowl with roll neck

How Many Skeins Of Yarn Do I Need For A Cowl?

The number of skeins of yarn you’ll need for a cowl depends on several factors, including the following:

  1. Yarn Weight: The thickness or weight of the yarn you’re using is a critical factor. Different yarn weights have different yardage per skein, so you’ll need more skeins of lighter-weight yarn and fewer skeins of heavier-weight yarn (Like Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick). Standard yarn weights include lace, fingering, sport, worsted, and bulky.
  2. Cowl Size: The size of your cowl, both in terms of circumference and length, will determine how much yarn you need. A smaller cowl will require less yarn, while a larger one will require more.
  3. Stitch Pattern: More complex or textured stitch patterns can use up more yarn compared to a simple garter or stockinette stitch. If your cowl has a lace or cable pattern, it might require extra yarn.
  4. Personal Tension: Your knitting or crocheting tension can affect how much yarn you use. If you tend to knit or crochet tightly, you might use more yarn than someone who works more loosely.
  5. Gauge: The gauge specified in your pattern or that you achieve can impact the amount of yarn required. Be sure to check the pattern’s gauge or create a swatch to ensure your tension matches the recommended gauge.

To estimate the number of skeins you’ll need, refer to the yarn label for the yardage per skein and compare it to your pattern’s requirements.

If you’re not following a pattern, you can make an estimate based on your cowl’s desired size, stitch pattern, and gauge.

Generally, for a basic DK weight yarn or worsted weight yarn cowl, you might need around 200-250 yards (183-229 meters) of yarn, which is typically one skein.

However, for larger cowls (knit with super bulky yarn and large needles) or those with more intricate designs, you may need more than one skein.

Always purchase a little extra yarn than you think you’ll need to account for any variations in gauge, unforeseen changes in your project, or the possibility of running out of yarn before you finish.

easy rib knit cowl

How Many Stitches Do I Cast On For A Cowl?

The number of stitches you should cast on for a cowl depends on several factors, including the desired circumference of your cowl, the yarn weight, and your preferred stitch pattern.

Here’s a general guideline for determining how many stitches to cast on:

  1. Measure your desired circumference: Use a measuring tape or wrap a piece of yarn around your neck to determine how long you want your cowl to be. Common cowl circumferences range from 20 to 40 inches (51 to 102 cm) or more, depending on your style and whether you want a snug or loosely draped cowl.
  2. Yarn weight and gauge: The thickness of your yarn (yarn weight) and your knitting or crocheting gauge will affect the number of stitches you need. Check the label of your yarn for recommended needle or hook size and gauge, and make a gauge swatch to ensure your stitch size matches the recommended gauge.
  3. Calculate the number of stitches: Once you know your desired circumference and have established your gauge, use the following formula to calculate the number of stitches to cast on: Number of Stitches = (Circumference in inches) x (Stitches per inch based on your gauge)

For example, if you want a 24-inch (61 cm) circumference cowl and your gauge is 4 stitches per inch, you would cast on 24 x 4 = 96 stitches.

Remember that this is just a starting point, and you can adjust the number of stitches to achieve the exact size and fit you desire.

If you’re following a specific free knit cowl pattern, be sure to follow the pattern’s instructions for the cast-on number.

If you’re creating your own design or modifying an existing pattern, you can experiment with different stitch patterns and adjust the number of stitches to achieve the desired width and style for your cowl.

Keep in mind that some stitch patterns may require a multiple of stitches, so make sure your cast-on number is compatible with the knit pattern you choose.

easy knitted neck warmer

Resources and tutorials you may find helpful in following this pattern:

This knit cowl pattern is the perfect project for any advanced beginner knitters.

You need to know basic knit stitches to create ribbing (an easy stitch pattern).

knit cowl
simple knit cowl pattern

More Easy Knits

You may also enjoy these quick-knits you can make for last-minute gifts…

Share your work with us…

I love seeing your chunky knit cowls on social media.

If you enjoyed making the easy cowl, I’d love to see yours on Instagram.

Be sure to tag me @handylittleme or #handylittleme.

You can also find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and Etsy.

Happy Knitting!

Back view of knitted cowl

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  1. Will this pattern work in wool ease chunky? Same size needle, or should I adjust needle size? I just happen to have 3 skeins of this yarn, 153 yards each…think this will work?

    1. Hello Deb, You could use wool ease chunky but you may need to adjust your needle size. The cowl was knit with size 10mm (US 15) needles – so perhaps you need 8mm (US 11) needles. I hope that helps 🙂