Friday, 3 January 2014

Double Knit Floral Cowl

Last year my son bought me 2 balls of SHIBUI sock wool in 'storm' for my birthday.  It is such lovely stuff that I decided to save the wool for just the perfect pair of socks.  I though I had found the right pattern but when I started to knit, the pooling was such that the front half of the sock was light blue and the back half was dark blue - giving the impression that I had been standing too long in the sun and they had faded.  It was something that I could not live with, so I undid it and searched for something else.

It was at this time that I decided to give double knitting a try.  I charted a pattern for some flowers and decided to jump in, head first, with a cowl.

I have always had a 'thing' for delicate blue and white plates, cups and saucers and teapots.  When Deb lived in England, she lived very close to a Spode factory outlet shop and every birthday and christmas, a little bit of Ol' England would find it's way to my display cabinet.

I noticed when I was knitting up my trial sock that the wool reminded me a great deal of the variegated blue in my spodeware so I took this as inspiration for my cowl.  

Before I could start however, I had to actually learn how to double knit and I was remarkably surprised to realise that it is nowhere near as difficult as I had though.  I watched this you-tube video  on how it was done and made a start.


50g skein sock blank

1 x 50g balls of SHIBUI sock yarn in 'Storm'.
Circular needles - 40cm long size 3.5mm
Knitting thimble (or yarn stranding guide) 


Cast on 180 stitches using the double knitting method.  ie.  you will end up with 360 stitches.  Cast on 1 blue, then 1 creme until you have 180 of each colour.  Place a stitch marker after each 45 sets (90 stiches) of cast on.  The pattern repeat of the cowl is 45 stitches and having a stitch marker in place makes counting stitches much, much easier.
A Knitting thimble helps to
organise the different colours

I also use a knitting thimble.  Much like fairisle, there can be a bit of a mess with the constant wrapping of the yarn and it can get very fiddly when dropping yarns and then picking them back up once they are wrapped.  There appears to be many methods to double knit.  I am a standard knitter and hold the yarn in my right hand (I am right handed).  I place the thimble on my right index finger and the thimble not only keeps the colours separate, but allows you to easily pick up and the knit the correct colour quite quickly.

Once you have cast on your stitches, follow the chart and then, using the double knit cast off method, cast off all the stitches and block your cowl.
(Downloadable from here)

If you would like a smaller fitting cowl, it is just a case of repeating the pattern 3 times instead of 4.

Be warned - double knitting is not the fastest way to achieve a cowl, but well worth the effort!

Happy Knitting,

More Cowls and Scarves from FitzBirch

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  1. Just one word: Fantastic!!! ♥
    Happy New Year to you all :-)

    1. Thank you so much :-) Happy New Year to you as well.

  2. Beautiful! I have knitted for years but never tried Double Knitting. After seeing your beautiful cowl, I may have to give it a try. Your cowl will also been seen by more people than cozy socks would have been. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Beautiful! I have just discovered your blog and am enjoying going through your previous posts. Lots of wonderful projects! Best wishes for a creative 2014.

  4. Thank you for sharing such a lovely pattern.

  5. Hi, Louise,
    I messaged you on Ravelry regarding this pattern. This cowl is so pretty! Here are my questions:

    This cowl is beautiful! I am planning to knit one as my 2014 Ravellenics project, and I hope you will clarify a couple of things.

    1. Gauge - Ravelry pattern page states 7.5 stitches = 1". Is this in stockinette or in the double knit?

    2. Needle size - The pattern on the blog says 3.5mm (US 4), but the Ravelry pattern page calls for 3.25mm (US 3.) Which is correct?

    I look forward to hearing from you, as I am anxious to swatch for this project.

    Thank you!


    1. Hello Lisa,
      The gauge is for normal stockinette which is the standard guage for the Shibui sock wool. The needle size is 3.5 (a size larger than the sock wool recommendations to give it a looser feel). I shall amend the Ravelry details. I'm so pleased that you want to knit this for your Ravellenics project. Happy Knitting .. Louise

    2. Thanks so much for your quick reply. A-swatching I shall go!

  6. Where can I buy the knitting thimble you show in the picture?

  7. I love this cowl and had never tried double knitting. But when I saw this I found the yarn and tried double knitting. Although it's been forever, I finally finished two days ago and although I need to learn how to keep my tension on the purl stitch a bit better, it turned out great. Thank you! P.S. I did use US size 4 needles.

  8. Thank you for sharing your pattern. I loved how my scarf came out.

  9. i would love to make this cowl, i was wondering if it is possible to do this in worst weight yarn with a size 8 circular needle instead? I dont have a size 5 but in dpns and wont be able to fit 360 stitches on those.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Yes, I am sure that would work. It might end up being quite large and bulky (although that is very fashionable at the moment). Perhaps just do the pattern repeat 3 times instead of 4. Happy knitting, Louise

  10. thank you fors such a good instruction. this is my version

  11. Has anyone found this knitting thimble for sale? I can't seem to find it but am interested in getting one.


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