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42 Killer Knit Cowl Patterns

Make one of these cowl knitting patterns for yourself or as a special gift for a friend!

By: Katelin Burke, Editor, AllFreeKnitting.com
Updated June 27, 2019
Killer Knit Cowl Patterns

When the weather turns and the days grow shorter and colder, it's time to stock up on warm layers. A cowl knitting pattern is a great way to fend off the first chill of winter because it's smaller and quicker to knit than your average scarf, giving you something to wear while you work on bigger projects.

Free knitted cowl patterns also make incredibly versatile accessories: a larger cowl can be wrapped twice around your neck like an infinity scarf pattern or pulled up over your head like a hood.

Knitted cowls are also a great place to experiment with new patterns and techniques. Our collection of 42 Killer Knit Cowl Patterns allows you to pick your poison from a range of styles. Knit yourself an elegant lacy cowl to stave off the chill of late fall and early spring or a chunky one that will bring you through the brunt of winter. No matter what kind you choose, a knit cowl pattern is a stylish and sensible addition to every winter wardrobe.

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PLUS! Don't miss the video tutorial below. You can learn how to knit the mistake stitch -- a great stitch for knit cowl patterns!

How to Knit a Cowl on Straight Needles

A finished piece might be round, but that doesn't mean it was knit that way. Straight needle knitting patterns are a great way for beginners and veterans alike to create gorgeous neck warmers without the trouble of knitting in the round.

Knitting a cowl flat also means you can add a twist before seaming it, a simple trick that gives the Easy Cozy Cowl and the Tangy Moebius Cowl their instant intrigue.

  • Cozy Coffee Shop Cowl

    This tutorial is truly for beginners. All you need to know how to do to knit this cozy cowl is how to cast on and knit in garter stitch, and the tutorial explains the rest.

  • Easy Cozy Cowl

    Knitting cowls flat and then seaming them together is great because there's no fussy circular needles to deal with! That makes things such as flashy colorwork so simple.

  • Lightning Fast Lattice Cowl

    If you're looking for more of a challenge, but still want to knit your cowl flat before seaming it together, the Lightning Fast Lattice Cowl is perfect for you. These cables aren't for beginners!

  • Raspberry Bobble Cowl

    Bobbles are a great way to give a plain old cowl some real intrigue. This cowl is made of them, so it will really stand out from the crowd.

  • Tangy Moebius Cowl

    Achieving a moebius twist is frustrating when unintentional, but a cool twist (pun intended!) on a project when it's purposefully completed. Try it out with this cowl!

Quick Knitting Projects: Chunky Cowls

Warm winter cowls don't have to be time-intensive projects. In fact, the thicker yarn in these chunky knits works up faster, making them especially rewarding projects for beginners learning how to knit a cowl. These quick-knitting projects will have you prepared for winter's worst long before it arrives.

If time is truly of the essence, the Magic Arm Knit Cowl is a great way to try your hand at arm knitting patterns and their nearly instant results.

  • Neon Chunky Cabled Cowl

    Cables can really slow down a project, but not with this cowl! The big yarn and small project size really helps this project fly by.

  • Magic Arm Knit Cowl

    Arm knitting is easily the quickest way to complete any type of bigger project. With the right yarn, it doesn't even look arm knit! This cowl, for example, looks like something out of a department store.

  • Two Hour Cowl

    Knitting up a last-minute gift for someone is easy with patterns like this. Whether you're just a couple hours out from a Christmas party, or you forgot about someone's birthday until the day of, this is an excellent option.

  • Wasabi Cowl

    Thick and thin yarn can really stand out in a more simple pattern, such as with this Wasabi Cowl. If you have a cool type of yarn you want to show off, be sure to keep it uncomplicated!

  • Gap-tastic Cowl

Lovely Lacy Knitted Cowl Patterns

If you're looking for something a little more delicate, a cowl knitting pattern is a great platform to practice your lacework. A knit lace pattern adds elegance to any outfit, making these lacy cowls perfect accessories for cool-weather formal occasions.

Thanks to their open design, they're also a great way to stay warm in fall and spring without getting overheated from a chunkier knit. For a sophisticated wardrobe, a lacy knit cowl pattern is a must-have.

  • Basket Whip Cowl

    Lace doesn't have to be complicated. The simple eyelets in this cowl will make it look like you poured your blood, sweat, and tears into this project, when really it's quite easy.

  • Canaletto Cowl

    We love the various elements of this project, such as how the seed stitch panels intermingle with the lace. Do bear in mind this will be a bit of a longer project, since it's on the wider side and uses worsted weight yarn.

  • Frost Flowers Lace Cowl

    The lace in this cowl is a bit more complicated, so beginning knitters should tread carefully. If you have the skills and patience for it, the work put into a cowl like this is sure to pay off.

  • Four Row Holey Cowl

    That's right; this cowl is made using a repeat of only four rows! This makes it a great, mindless project for knitting in front of the TV or listening to an audiobook, but the eyelets make it look much more complicated.

  • Lacy Arrowhead Cowl

    If you want a cowl that's lighter in design, the combination of lace and DK weight yarn is perfect for you. The eyelets are evenly spread throughout this project, giving it a great, breezy design.

Knitting in Technicolor: Colorwork Knitted Cowl Patterns

On dreary winter days, wearing an extra-colorful cowl can bring cheer as well as warmth to your day. Why not practice your colorwork with one of these bright pieces? A Fair Isle pattern like the Bright Diamonds Cowl or the Colorful Chevron Cowl will add traditional festive flair to your outfit, while the Slanted Cowl has a sharp modern appearance perfect for fashion-conscious city dwellers.

Whichever way your style leans, a bright knit cowl pattern is sure to bring you joy.

  • Bright Diamonds Cowl

    Tread lightly! This cowl uses multiple colors of yarn to create a traditional fair isle design. If you can stick through 'til the end, you'll find yourself with an incredible work of art for around your neck.

  • Colorful Chevron Cowl

    Fair isle doesn't have to be complicated! Knitting with only two colors keeps this pattern on the simpler side of intermediate, but the colorwork itself is still impressive.

  • Seaside Ombre Cowl

    For an easier way of incorporating multiple colors into your work, consider foregoing stranded colorwork for something a bit more simple, such as stripes. When accomplished correctly, it can even give the project an ombre effect, such as with this cowl.

  • Porcelain Moon Cowl

    Another relatively easy way to use more than one color in your cowl is with projects such as this Porcelain Moon Cowl. The colorwork here is less fussy, but much more bold.

  • Slanted Cowl

    This cowl is knitted on the bias, which already gives it a unique look, but the inclusion of stripes really helps pull it all together. We love this for a more nondescript look, and even boys would gladly wear this cowl on a cold day.

  • Cotton Candy Cowl

    By knitting one into the stitch below, you can find yourself with a colorwork effect that looks a lot more complicated than it is! We love the color combination of this cowl, but it would even look great with just one color of yarn.

  • Shaker Rib Cowl

Artisan Knit Cowl Pattern Ideas

Although a cowl's primary purpose is to keep its wearer warm, many would say that style is a close second. Here at AllFreeKnitting, we're huge fans of layering (even when it's not cold outside). It's the easiest way to show off all of your knitted creations at once! Artisan knit cowl patterns are a great way to infuse a bit of texture and color into your otherwise boring outfit.

Cowl Knitting Patterns for the Holidays

If you’re looking cowls to give as gifts, or a warm winter cowl for yourself, look no further than these festive free knitting patterns for scarves and cowls. With so many excellent options to choose from, you will have everyone on your gift list taken care of in no time. No one can resist such a practical and beautiful handmade present for the holiday season. Plus, a pop of color is just what the doctor ordered on gray days when the sun is nowhere to be seen.

More Knit Cowl Patterns

These brand new patterns are trendy and chic, keeping you just as warm as you are stylish! Any of these patterns would make great knitted gifts, or you can knit them all for your own cowl wardrobe. Don't miss out on these great patterns.

When it comes to cowl knitting patterns, this selection definitely takes the cake in terms of versatility, ease of wear, and overall beauty. Find the pattern that speaks to you and get started on knitted cowl of your dreams.

  • Long John Knit Cowl Pattern

    The dense fabric of this cowl just screams "cozy!" You're not going to regret knitting up one of these classics when we hit subzero temperatures and the winter wind is whipping in your face.

  • Brick Road Knit Cowl Pattern

    Slip stitch colorwork really gives a cool effect, and this Brick Road Knit Cowl Pattern is no exception! There's even a matching hat if you're looking to knit a set.

  • Low Tide Cowl Pattern

    The cool stitch pattern in this cowl gives it the look of ebbing and flowing waves, which is perfect for a winter beach day. We love the seafoam color, which really matches the theme.

  • Reflecting Pool Cowl Pattern

    Sometimes, you just want to show off your really fancy handpainted yarn, or you love the colors in a variegated skein. This Reflecting Pool Cowl Pattern really helps the yarn itself shine.

  • Wonderfully Warm Cowl Pattern

    This cowl is nice and chunky, making it a big and quick project for winter days when you really just need something warm and fast. We love the neon colors in this cowl to help bring some brightness into winter!

  • Brioche Knitting Tutorial and Cowl Pattern

    Brioche may seem really complicated, but the effect is worth it. The rib-like look of this cowl makes it extra squishy and extra warm. We love how the yarn was really able to shine in this project.

  • Elegant Eyelet Cowl Pattern

    Lace can still be warm! In projects such as this Elegant Eyelet Cowl Pattern, you can still look delicate and feminine while keeping yourself toasty in the late autumn or early spring.

Up Next:

40+ Free Scarf Knitting Patterns

How will you add to your knitted cowl wardrobe this year?

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Thanks for the helpful stitch tutorial video! I'm super excited to make a cowl with it. I'm also adding that chevron cowl to my "to-make" list!

Autoplay videos are completely inconsiderate!

An entire collection of cowls - designed with me in mind no doubt. Absolutely delightful from chunky to lacy, sporty to elegant. Can't wait to knit them all.

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