Thursday, October 21, 2010

Where are All the Crochet Cowls?

....And by "cowls" I also mean crochet infinity scarves, eternity scarves, neck gaiters, smoke rings and snoods.* What all of these have in common is that they're warm tubes for the neck, and some can be worn as hoods, or wrapped around the shoulders like capelets, or extended down to warm the chest and back.
** Chainmaille Crochet Cowl IN PROGRESS **

These flattering neckwarmers are plenty practical because they stay wrapped around the neck effortlessly. You can't beat how their luxuriously soft and cozy look frames the face and shoulders, especially if they have a lot of loft or drape. This fashion trend started off big on last year's runways for both sexes and is still going strong.

Slathered Slip Stitches
It's as easy to knit your own cowl as it is to knit the traditional first project, a scarf; so it's easy to understand why cowls are a hot trend among hand knitters.

What about crocheters though? I wonder why it's not such a hot trend to crochet cowls? Crochet is perfect--fast, easy, soft and warm!

I have the brand-new Cowlgirls book of cowl designs by Cathy Carron, which are all knit. It pushed me over the edge (into blogging LOL). It's an inspiring book and I'm eyeing all my yarns and crochet stitches with new cowls, infinity scarves, eternity scarves, gaiters, wimples, smoke rings and "snoods" in mind.

Is it my imagination? Am I missing a 'Crochet the New Cowls!' book or pattern booklet on the market? When patterns for knit cowls are offered, I almost never see crochet options also.** Why not the same sense of excitement about all the crochet cowl design possibilities?
Mr. Stretchy (a Slip Stitch Tube) as "gaiter"

OK, so crochet cowl patterns do exist. I did a search in Ravelry and turned up 290 results. That's a lot! For some perspective, when I searched for knit cowl patterns....2135 results. Wow. Well, crocheters are off to a good start.

Mr. Stretchy as a more relaxed cowl; also works as a hood
I'm tempted to start a blog just for cowl crocheters. Here are a few notables: Check out Robyn Chachula's Tusculum! Amy Houck's superfine yak fiber Cosmopolitan Cowl. And OMG, Danielle Kassner's Cloister Cowl!
My own slip stitch "Mr. Stretchy" is available as a downloadable PDF crochet pattern at my website, and coming soon to my Ravelry Store. The others pictured here (Chainmaille, Slathered, Pallas) are being written. I think Pallas will stay a traditional long scarf with an "infinity scarf" option in the pattern.

(I know that a lot of people probably want a super fast, easy, and free crochet cowl pattern option so try this one or Melissa Mall's or this one.)

Pallas Scarf as an "infinity scarf" experiment
I found a very new Flickr Group for crochet cowls. There's a Ravelry forum "Cowls" that includes crochet, has almost 3700 members, and has very helpful information. For example, someone who has made many cowls recommends a 26-inch or so circumference and minimum of about 18 inches in height if you wish to comfortably have the option of wearing it as a hood.

*It seems that as of last year, "snood," which historically has been a hairnet--like a bag to hold long hair at the back of the head--now also means what I normally would use the term "cowl" or "wimple" for. Do a Google search for "snood" images to see what I mean.

**Funny coincidence, right after I posted this entry, I received the latest Caron Connections newsletter and it features two new crocheted cowls and a knitted one!


  1. Great Question- I wonder too! I tried, and threw my Cotton Candy Cowl pattern in the ravelry ring-- I don't know why things don't seem to "trend" in crochet like they do in knitting, it continues to puzzle me.

  2. I sure don't know the answer, but I will be checking out the links you mentioned. I began crocheting cowls last year and they were my biggest gift last Christmas. Everyone loved them. I love wearing them also.
    Thanks for the links. I love Pallus. The pattern is fab so I'll be glad to check it out when its available.

  3. I just began crocheting cowls this year and love them. I plan to make them as gifts this year. I am drawn to the fact that I have a scarf but it can't fall off. I especially love the larger. longer cowls that can be worn as a hood or shawlette. I love the Mobieus as well. I've crocheted several neck cowls to match hats I crocheted. There are listened on FB.

  4. Linda, your Cotton Candy Cowl is great!

    Carol and Purple Butterfly, I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in the cowl love and that plenty are actually being crocheted. I'll go look at your FB page.

  5. I love cowls. Here in Florida they seem more practical than scarves. That said, my Southern Lights Cowl seems to be selling well, but I haven't seen anyone post a project of it in Ravelry. I have a few more design ideas percolating for some more cowls. So you're not alone in the cowl love!

  6. Tracie, what do you think? A Crochet Cowl group blog? And by 'group blog' I picture a gallery effect? A--a--Cowl Pile-up!

    Love your SOuthern Lights Cowl in person too.

  7. I've been crocheting cowls like crazy for the past couple years. I wrote one pattern, a spiral cowl ( and am working on a mobius cowl pattern as we speak. People ask me for them all the time :)

  8. It may not be trending where we can see it, but crochet cowls are doing well in the marketplace. My Twisty Cowl has been selling well to the yarn stores, and is featured in the most recent Patternworks catalog. I was actually pondering another cowl design ...

  9. Amy! Thanks for the link, I had just seen your cowl in Twitter and was looking for its link to post, and you must have been leaving your comment here at the same time.
    MBT--I can see why your Twisty Cowl is doing well! Hmmm, so crochet cowls are enjoying a vogue in other ways than internet buzz.
    Check it out! Twisty Cowl in alpaca no less:

  10. I love infinity scarves. I saw a knit one at Target last year, checked it over closely, then made up my own crochet version. I love it, and people have asked for the pattern. I forgot to write it down as I created it, oops.

  11. Diana J wrote to me privately that she was unable to leave a comment on this blog. Here's the comment she wanted to contribute: "After being told by my crocheting pal to "look it up" I found that "snood" has already changed meaning in the past. It used to mean a ribbon or band around a Scottish maiden's head (word root akin to spin and string), changed to the more familiar meaning in Victorian times. There are words for cowl and wimple and scarf: infinity, eternity and Moebius; lets let a snood be a snood. (Hairnet just doesn't quite get it.) Diana J."
    Thank you, Diana.

  12. I just made a cowl for my sister, and hope to make one for me as well. Still have to take pictures though! ;) Crochet stitches lend themselves really well to the current fashion of textured knits.

  13. As an editor at, we think your projects are great. We would like to feature your projects and photos on our site (which will also drive traffic back to you). We know our readers would love to make your projects. Please let me know if we have your permission to feature your patterns. Thanks!

  14. Hi Vashti,
    Love your crochet cowl, I'll have to get out to the LYS and see what yummy yarns will inspire me to make my own. Thanks for the framework, measurements! And any comments on yarns you like for this?

    Great to see your blog, I'm just getting back into crochet 'habit' again, loved meeting you a few years back when you were in Portland.

  15. Anonymous10:42 AM

    I'm a fellow Floridian, and constantly on the prowl for warm weather suitable crocheted clothing and accessories that are wearable and gorgeous. A lacy cowl, infinity scarf in a breathable yarn could be a great fashion accent, as long as it is loose around the neck. I enjoy working with and wearing Berroco Seduce yarn.

  16. I've been enjoying wide loose cowls more in Florida than wraps, as long as the cowl clings to my shoulders. That way, it doesn't fall off but doesn't have to be worn close to my neck to stay on, either.
    Also thanks to being in this climate, so many more kinds of yarn work well. A dense-stitched linen still breathes, and so does a lacy-stitch fine wool, for example.

  17. I love the Pallas scarf/cowl (and the name too!)! I signed up for your newsletter on your new website - found that from Ravelry then CrochetInsider - when you post a pattern for the Pallas will you tell us in the newsletter? Can't wait. Love your designs and ideas for "new" crochet. Just starting to design also - and beef up my Tunisian crochet skills.

  18. Vashti,
    hello my friend, I am looking guest bloggers and would like to offer you a spot over at Marie's cozy corner, please email me and let me know if you would be interested.
    looking forward to hearing from you. :)


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