knitscene Fall 2018: Simple Tube Cowls

The first time I visited Nebraska, it was December, there was over a foot of snow on the ground, and the temperature was -25 degrees Fahrenheit with a wind chill of -75 degrees. Having grown up in (and lately arrived from) East Tennessee, where the temperatures rarely dipped below the teens, the brutal cold that I experienced during my first Midwestern winter was a shock to my system.

That was over 35 years ago, but ever since then (and after eventually living in Nebraska for several years), I can now say that I know the value of a warm accessory. And the three tube cowls I designed for knitscene Fall 2018 fit the bill perfectly.

Tube cowls are super warm because of the air that gets trapped between the two layers. These three cowls have a smaller circumference than the usual longer tube cowls, which eliminates the extra bulk caused by wrapping a cowl two or more times around your neck, but they still have all the advantages of the longer cowls (extra warmth, no wrong side, and no curling edges). All three cowls are worked circularly and the open ends are grafted together, but there are slight differences between the versions.

Version 1 is worked from side to side in a garter basketweave pattern with a two-row color stripe pattern. When working a stripe pattern in rounds, you usually have to find some way to disguise the jog that occurs when the color changes at the beginning of the round, but with this cowl the jog gets hidden in the transition between the knit and purl stitches of the stitch pattern.

Version 2 (written in two sizes) is worked in the round in stockinette stitch, and then the purl side is folded to the outside before the ends are grafted together. I love how the purl stitches on the outside blur and soften the color changes in the yarn.

Version 3 is worked in the round in a regular basketweave pattern and then the top end is folded to the inside until the live stitches at the top meet the provisional cast-on stitches; then the stitches are grafted together.

I wanted to keep the stitch patterns very simple so that you could concentrate on the construction and also to keep the grafting uncomplicated. The magazine features a tutorial (complete with construction diagrams) that gives step-by-step instructions for grafting in the round so that the stitches at the beginning and end of the round blend seamlessly together.

All the cowls are worked on a size U.S. 8 (5 mm) needle and a medium- to bulky-weight yarn, so the knitting goes very fast. You could easily whip up a cowl in a weekend.


Tube Cowl

Pattern Details, Version 1

Garter Basketweave Tube Cowl

DESIGNER Joni Coniglio

DIFFICULTY Intermediate

FINISHED SIZE 22¼” circumference and 9¼” high.

YARN Knit Picks Biggo (50% superwash merino wool, 50% nylon; 110 yd [100 m]/ 3½ oz [100 g]): calypso heather (teal; A), bamboo heather (green; B), and dove heather (gray; C), 1 skein each. Yarn distributed by Crafts Group LLC.

NEEDLES Size 8 (5 mm): 16″ circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

NOTIONS Marker (m); 3 removable m; spare size 8 (5 mm) or smaller 16″ cir needle; size K/10½ (6.5 mm) crochet hook; smooth waste yarn in contrasting color; blunt tapestry needle.

GAUGE 14 sts and 21½ rnds = 4″ in garter basketweave patt.


This tube cowl is one of three featured in knitscene Fall 2018!

Pattern Details, Version 2

Reverse Stockinette-Stitch Tube Cowl

DESIGNER Joni Coniglio

DIFFICULTY Intermediate

FINISHED SIZE 19 (23½)” circumference and 7½ (10½)” high after folding.

YARN Knit Picks Chroma Worsted
 (70% superwash wool, 30% nylon; 198 yd [180 m]/3½ oz [100 g]): (smaller version) #26932 get your neon, 1 skein; (larger version) #26933 surf’s up, 2 skeins. Yarn distributed by Crafts Group LLC.

NEEDLES Size 8 (5 mm): 16″ circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

NOTIONS Marker (m); 3 removable m; spare size 8 (5 mm) or smaller 16″ cir needle; size J/10 (6 mm) crochet hook; smooth waste yarn in contrasting color; blunt tapestry needle.

GAUGE 18 sts and 25 rnds = 4″ in St st.


Pattern Details, Version 3

Basketweave Tube Cowl

DESIGNER Joni Coniglio

DIFFICULTY Intermediate

FINISHED SIZE 22″ circumference and
 10¼” high after folding.

YARN Knit Picks Preciosa Tonal (100% merino wool; 273 yd [248 m]/3½ oz [100 g]): #E628 crest, 1 skein. Yarn distributed by Crafts Group LLC.

NEEDLES Size 8 (5 mm): 16″ circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

NOTIONS Marker (m); 3 removable m; spare size 8 (5 mm) or smaller 16″ cir needle; size J/10 (6 mm) crochet hook; smooth waste yarn in contrasting color; blunt tapestry needle.

GAUGE 16 sts and 22 rnds = 4″ in basketweave patt.


Easy knitting, fun construction, and cozy warmth—an unbeatable combination!

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