Knitting Traditions 2018: Wings & Keys Cowl

My roommate, Erin, is an ornithologist. Like, she studies birds for a living. She is an enthusiastic wildlife biologist who gets excited about every little critter or plant she finds out on walks, along the Poudre River, or in our own backyard. Last summer, she found a caterpillar and put it in a jar with sticks and milkweed leaves, and after a few weeks it broke free of its chrysalis and turned into a beautiful monarch butterfly. She found another caterpillar this week and put it in the jar; it has already started to form its chrysalis.

The Wings & Keys Cowl project reminded me of my roommate, with its colorwork butterflies running through the center. It also features a bee motif, representing another critter my roommate would like to have in the backyard, and a key motif, representing the relationship between technology and nature at the turn of the 20th century.

By 1900, science had unlocked many of nature’s secrets, and technology had started to reshape the world with telephones, electric lighting, and automobiles. This unisex cowl from Knitting Traditions 2018, worked in shades of amber, combines bees and butterflies with vintage brass keys.

If you’re a wildlife biology nerd, or if you just like critters and yarn, this is a fun cowl that’s not only beautiful but is filled with deep meaning that reflects nature, technology, and history.


Wings & Keys Cowl

Pattern Details

DESIGNER Tanis Gray

DIFFICULTY Intermediate

FINISHED SIZE 30″ circumference and 
14½” tall.

YARN Dragonfly Fibers Valkyrie (100% superwash Merino; 200 yd [183 m]/
4 oz [113 g]): spooky (brown; A) and golden compass (gold; B), 1 skein each.

NEEDLES Size 8 (5 mm): 24″ circular (cir). Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge.

NOTIONS Marker (m); tapestry needle.

GAUGE 18 sts and 23 rnds = 4″ in charted patt.


Want to see more beautiful autumnal projects? Check out the rest of Knitting Traditions 2018!

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