A couple of days ago I saw this gorgeous camel hair yarn from Pascuali (called “Cairo”) and I just couldn’t resist buying a couple of skeins. Mind you, it’s not exactly the cheapest yarn, but it’s just so soft and so rewarding to knit with. It comes in many different colors but I ordered the natural color (01) for a beautiful cowl knitting pattern that instantly came to my mind.
Camels live in the desert so for some reason, I had to think of a gorgeous old cable cardigan I once saw on a trip through Uzbekistan. I adapted the pattern for knitting in the round. It sort of reminds me of a Celtic knot cable (so, don’t ask me how it found its way to Inner Asia). Either way, I’m quite in love with it!
It really adds a fantastic luxurious feel to this luxury yarn. I took 120 grams or 260 yards to finish this cowl. I ordered 4 skeins (50 grams each), so I can easily knit a matching hat as well. You’ll find the matching pattern for my “Into the Wild” hat here.
If you love knitting cables, then this will be a fun pattern for you. I actually felt it was pretty easy to knit as there are really no complicated stitches and only 2×2 cables, so you don’t even need a cable needle (here’s a tutorial on how to knit the cable stitch without a cable needle). Still, I would say you should at least be an advanced knitter to tackle this.
You can also bookmark this pattern on Ravelry.
The knitting pattern for this cable cowl
CO 144 stitches with needles size 6 in the round (either on double-pointed needles, magic loop, or small diameter circulars – whatever you prefer). I used a longtail cast on. If you want, you can alternate 2 knit and 2 purl cast on stitches for an extra neat edge for the ribbing (as I did, see picture above). Here’s how to cast on purlwise. Then join in the round.
The repeat is 16 stitches, so if you like a wider cowl (cuz I prefer it quite fitted!), then you can easily cast on 160 or 176 stitches, etc. (the chart below mirrors the repeat once so you can see the transition).
Round 1-5: 2×2 rib stitch
Round 6: Start knitting according to the chart.
Round 63: End the cowl with another 6 rows of 2×2 ribbing and then bind off with the bind-off technique of your choice. I used a loose standard bind-off alternating purl and knit stitches the way they appeared in the ribbing. You could also do this super stretchy bind-off for the 2×2 rib stitch.
- The chart does NOT display the wrong side (WS) rows. So, knit between the rows the way the stitches appear until the end.
For example round 3 starts: Slip 2 stitches to the cable needle hold in front, p2, k2, k2,…
This means, round 4 is: P2, k4,…
etc. Check out this post in case you need help with reading your knitting.
- After round 29, you should move the start of your round forward by 6 stitches (otherwise you’ll have cables between two needles). So, just knit across the first 6 stitches as they appear (so, k4, p2). And then start with the pattern. Think of the green area as brackets to frame the repeat.
So, start with p2 and the right-crossing cable, knit all those 16 stitches as indicated by the chart, and then start all over with p2, cable, etc at the beginning of that row until the end of the row. So, you just knit what’s in the white area. Only the first 6 stitches of row 31 are transition stitches.
(Note: the technical reason why the area is marked in green is that otherwise one would have cables stitch symbols extending beyond the borders of the chart and that would be even more confusing).
- After round 43, you should move the start of your round another 10 stitches forward to avoid cabling between the needles (or back to the old position).
Note: Here’s how to read a knitting chart in case you need to catch up.
The repeat of 16 stitches with the Pascuali Cairo yarn and needles size 6 is 2.2 inches wide. The final cowl is around 10×10 inches when you lay it flat before blocking. But remember, there is a lot of ribbing in between, so it actually gives in a lot. It feels more like 14 inches wide or around 28 inches in circumference (just in case: here’s how to knit a gauge swatch).
I personally like my cowls very tight, cuddly, and also quite high so I can pull them up above my mouth like a balaclava (almost like a turtle neck). If you like it wider, simply add one or two repeats. In case you don’t like it as high, then you could end the pattern after round 46 and then cable out into 2×2 ribbings.
Definitely do a little swatch with the repeat (stitch 1-16 and up until row 12) to check the gauge. I repeated it 9 times – but depending on your needles, yarn, and personal preferences, you might want to change that.
If you need help finishing up, then you might find this tutorial on how to weave in ends helpful, and maybe check out this experiment comparing different ways to hide the tails.
- 230 meters of DK camel hair yarn or similar
- Needle Set size 6 (4 mm) or circular needles of the same size; I used this knitter’s pride needle set
- Cable needle
- Scissors & a tapestry needle
Last, but certainly not least, check out my other patterns.
If this cowl still looks a bit too difficult for you, you might want to work through my free knitting school. Here’s a detailed tutorial on how to knit the cable stitch to get started.
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