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Arid Cowl | Free Knitting Pattern

This knitted colorwork cowl features the most luxurious USA Grown wool. Knit with just two colors, it is suitable for a beginner yet captivating for the advanced knitter as well. I hope you enjoy this pattern!


  • 2 skeins each of two colors of Knit Picks High Desert Worsted, or approximately 400 yards each of two contrasting colors of worsted weight yarn. Sample uses High Desert in Forge (gray, MC), and Cottonwood (white, CC)

  • Size 8 (5.0 mm) 24” circular needles

  • Stitch marker suitable for working in the round

  • Scissors

  • Yarn needle

  • Ruler for checking gauge if desired


It is not necessary to achieve a certain gauge for this pattern, but if you’re limited on yarn or want the same dimensions as the sample I suggest checking.

16 stitches by 20 rounds = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, worked in the round and blocked


CO: cast on

MC: main color

CC: contrast color

k: knit

p: purl

st(s): stitch(es)

*...*: repeat the instructions in the asterisks

Pattern Notes:

  • Find this gorgeous USA grown wool yarn here.

  • This chart keeper works great for fair isle charts!

  • Check out this video for more information and tips:

  • Beginner: If you would like to omit the provisional cast on, simply cast on using the standard long tail cast on method. When it comes to seaming, bind off your stitches normally, and seam the two ends with the whip stitch. The seam will be more visible, but a bit easier to accomplish.

  • This tutorial walks you through knitting a headband. The provisional cast on and seaming techniques are the same as those in this pattern, so refer to this video for a visual aid when needed.

  • Remember to place a BOR marker, and move it up with each round.

  • When knit to pattern, your cowl will measure approximately 9 inches wide, and 42 inches in circumference. Note that instructions are given throughout the pattern to adjust the size.


Using the crochet provisional CO method, CO 80 sts, or any multiple of 16. Casting on more sts will result in a wider cowl, while casting on fewer will result in a narrower cowl.

(see Pattern Notes for tips, a tutorial, and a beginner friendly CO alternative)

Place BOR marker, and begin Round 1.

Rounds 1-33: follow rounds 1-33 of the colorwork chart below the pattern, or the written instructions below that.

Repeat these 33 rounds seven more times, for a total of eight repeats. If you would like your cowl to be smaller/larger in circumference, knit less/more repeats. Note that any modifications made to the pattern will affect your required yardage.

After working your desired number of repeats, proceed to Finishing Instructions.


With the working yarn still attached, rip out the provisional cast on while being sure to start where the chain ends. Place the new sts on a separate needle that is the same size.

See photo below.

Second, bring the two ends together, with all four needles pointed to the right. You should be at the BOR on both needles. Holding the middle two needles together, grab a third needle and work the three needle bind off all the way around the cowl. It is normal for this to get a bit snug.

See photo below.

Three needle bind off:

Since the two middle needles are knit together, the exposed seam will be on the inside. After you finish seaming, seam the final little hole closed using the tails.

This tutorial walks you through knitting another one of my patterns, the Cumulus Headband that uses the same grafting technique. Skip to the end to find a visual aid for these seaming instructions!:

Because this cowl was knit using colorwork, I recommend blocking your project to really let the stitch bloom! I recommend laying it flat, and pinning it on blocking mats. Then steam block it using an iron or hand steamer, while being careful not to touch the steamer directly to the fabric.

Let dry, weave in any ends by threading them through the inside of the cowl.

Colorwork Chart:

Because this cowl is worked in the round, read the chart from right to left for every round. Work from bottom to top.

Follow this chart, or the written instructions below.

Written Colorwork Chart Instructions:

Rounds 1-5: k all sts in MC.

Round 6: *k3 with MC, k1 with CC* around.

Round 7: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Round 8: *k3 with CC, k1 with MC* around.

Round 9: *k1 with MC, k1 with CC, k2 with MC* around.

Round 10: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC* around.

Rounds 11-14: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Round 15: k all sts with CC.

Round 16: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Round 17: *k3 with MC, k1 with CC* around.

Round 18: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Round 19: k all sts with CC.

Rounds 20-23: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Round 24: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC* around.

Round 25: *k1 with MC, k1 with CC, k2 with MC* around.

Round 26: *k3 with CC, k1 with MC* around.

Round 27: *k1 with CC, k1 with MC, k2 with CC* around.

Rounds 28: *k3 with MC, k1 with CC* around.

Rounds 29-33: k all sts with MC.

Rounds 1-33 = one repeat

Enjoy your beautiful new cowl!

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Until next time,

Amy Kate

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