The Smart Bitches Outlandish Cowl: A Knitting Pattern

When I started watching Outlander on Starz I was like “OMFG ALL THE KNITTED THINGS.” If you show a knitter a bitchin’ 18th century cowl, she’s going to want to make it. And Claire’s cowl is gorgeous. I love how chunky and slumpy it is, the perfect accessory for her everyday dress.

Claire's cowl, a chunky knit large swath of dark yard around her neck twice

I needed this cowl.

I needed it wear it when I am picking herbs in the garden with Geillis, staring wistfully at Jamie off the distance.

Or more accurately when I’m sitting under a vent constantly blowing cold air on me at work and typing with shivering fingers. 

So I went to Ravelry, but didn’t find exactly the pattern I wanted. I had two weeks off and plenty of time to improvise. This is the pattern I came up with. It’s incredibly simple and can be easily adapted. My cowls knit up in about 2 hours sober, and significantly longer while taking Percocet.

Smart Bitches Outlandish Cowl

35mm knitting needles in teal blueIngredients:

I used one skein of Malabrigo Rasta yarn (90 yards). You can find some at Yarn.com or at JimmyBeansWool.com.

But any super bulky weight yarn should do. You could also use several strands of lighter weight yarns held together.

I used size 35 needles. Huge needles are important to get loose stitches. You can find these bad boys at most craft stores, like JoAnnFabrics or Amazon.

Pattern:

I cast on 19 stitches, although you can add more or less depending on how wide you want the cowl.

Knit in garter stitch (knit every row) until the skein is used up, leaving a good sized tail for seaming. My finished cowls were about 23” long.

Finishing:

I blocked the shit out of my cowls. I knit tightly so the cowls would have been too short had I not blocked.

If you are a really super new knitter and don’t know what blocking is, it’s when you wet the piece with cold water and pin it down to a piece of foam so that it stretches out while the cat tries to eat the pins and pull on the cowl and you swear at him and your husband comes downstairs to see what the fuck you are doing and then accidentally stab yourself with a pin.

Once dried, I seamed it by lining up the cast off ends unevenly so there was a little point at the top and bottom of the cowl.

Elyse's cowl in progress, with needle sewing ends together

 

But Elyse, you say, Claire’s cowl isn’t seamed that way.

I KNOW, GODAMNIT. I SAID I IMPROVISED.

I like doing cowls this way because it gives you a little more versatility in wearing it, but do whatever makes you happy. Unless what makes you happy is knitting tiny cowls for your penis and sending me pictures of it. Don’t do that.

Et voila. Your cowl is made. Rejoice and wear it while watching Jamie play shinty and drinking Colum’s Rennish. 

Elyse in her Cowl

 

Happy knitting!


ETA: By request, here is a PDF of the pattern with pictures of the blocking. Right-click and save-as and enjoy! 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Turophile says:

    Love it!! I was looking for a pattern for a plane ride next week.  THANK YOU!

  2. 2

    Lovely! I’ve been drooling over the knits myself, especially that shrug sort of deal she was wearing last week. I want me one of those!

    Also blocking? Yes, this! You should write more knitting patterns.

  3. 3
    kkw says:

    Huh.  I would not have tried this one on my own, because it looked to me like some sort of fancy stitch pattern but…yeah. I am too lazy to do seaming so I knit everything in the round, which possibly accounts for my inability to tilt my head and recognize a garter stitch?

    Elyse, you’re a genius.

  4. 4
    wifeshee says:

    OMG gorgeous! want one!  Now to learn how to knit, hahaha

  5. 5
    Lynnd says:

    THANK YOU!  After a long absence from knitting, I re-discovered my love of it this past spring (thanks to a knitting circle at my mother’s nursing home).  This is a great pattern.  I also did not know that yarn could be purchased online, oh happy day :).

    Ah well, I see some cowls in my future and Christmas presents ahoy!

  6. 6

    That is gorgeous! And I will TOTALLY be trying that pattern. Thanks for posting it!

  7. 7
    SB Sarah says:

    The best part of Elyse’s cowl-gasm is that she made one for each of us, too. The squeeing is barely contained. Barely.

  8. 8
    Sarina Bowen says:

    OMG. I have never had so much fun reading a knitting pattern.

    Plot twist: how would this look if you seamed it with a twist in the length? (Like… a twisted bra strap? Or when you accidentally join something knit in the round the wrong way?) That would either give good volume, OR look absolutely awful.

    I may have to try it.

  9. 9
    Cheryl says:

    Please tell me you have an Etsy page where I could purchase one (and maybe some matching fingerless gloves too). I can sew and paint and do all sorts of crafty stuff, but knitting and crocheting is not in my skill set. πŸ™

  10. 10
    Catherine says:

    Ooh yay, this pattern looks fantastic! Also, this is the first knitting pattern I’ve read where I’m laughing the whole time. πŸ™‚ Thank you for doing this, Elyse – I can’t wait to make one for myself!

  11. 11
    Wifeshee says:

    Just order mine from Etsy! can’t wait to wear it.

  12. 12

    Fanfreakintastic! I was going to try arm knitting an infinity scarf (http://www.handimania.com/knit/30-minute-infinity-scarf.html), but maybe I’ll try this instead. Depending on which supplies are easier/quicker to lay my hands on…and whether I lose my spark of crafty inspiration. (Damn thing’s been lost for years, now.)

  13. 13
    tealadytoo says:

    Dang, I don’t even LIKE Outlander (please don’t hit me), but I am SO knitting this cowl.

    It will be a nice break between working on the freaking’ lace scarf I’m knitting with the light, light yarn that likes to slip off the needles that is taking forever.

    Super bulky and garter stitch are music to my ears.  (or eyes since I’m actually reading the pattern. But I hear it in my head.)

  14. 14
    susan says:

    Very very cool. I love knitting on big giant needles. I have a great yarn that looks like Persian lamb when it knits up; I am going to get big needles this weekend and make myself a cowl.

  15. 15
    Vol Fan says:

    Oh, I want one of these too!  Loved it on the show & love it on you!  Sadly, my knitting skills are dreadful.  The only time I tried (was taught long ago in high school LOL), mine turned out to be so bad, it looked like it had a freaky design in the middle of it. So, I am off to find one on Etsy!

  16. 16
    susan says:

    One more thing—Elyse, can you please set up a downloadable PDF of the cowl pattern, with recommended yarns and needles etc. and the photo? That way I can print it out. Thanks

  17. 17
    Silver James says:

    I haven’t knitted in years but dang if I’m not gonna have to hit the knitting store, stock up on supplies and make some of these for Christmas, between line….2 and 4 a.m. when I have free time between deadlines.

  18. 18
    Priscilla Crawford says:

    Fantastic!  Thanks for posting – perfect project for our first cool weekend!

  19. 19
    denise says:

    I love you! lololol

  20. 20
    Ceece says:

    I need this cowl.  I want this cowl.  I am in love with this cowl.  In love, I say!  And will knit it this weekend since it is already like in the high 40s where I live.  Thank you for this.

  21. 21

    GREAT looking cowl, thanks for writing up the pattern and sharing it. And AWESOME post, I am still ROTFL.

  22. 22
    Vol Fan says:

    I also want the capelet that Claire wears.  Found it on etsy too!  Yay!!!

  23. 23
    mochabean says:

    honestly at times the ridiculous hotness of Jamie takes a close second to the knitwear on this show.  (I’ve been working on the same cardigan for like a year (Making Waves with Madeleine Tosh merino light OMG it is gorgeous but I am a slow and easily distracted knitter http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/making-waves-cardigan )and I am almost ready to start the sleeves when you tempt me away with this masterpiece…perhaps I will knit one for a reward after each sleeve…plus I will need to knit some for my friends…

  24. 24
    mochabean says:

    Was so excited I forgot to say thank you for posting this awesome pattern!  It looks beautiful on you!

  25. 25

    Ooh, I want! Sadly, I do not know how to knit. I can crochet, barely, but nothing beyond a basic stitch (and even that, at times, is questionably). Ah well. You could give up your day job, knit all the wonderful things on Outlander, and open up an Etsy for them. I’d pay good money for that! Just sayin’ πŸ˜€

    BTW, the comment about penis cowls made me snort so hard . . . and reminded me of the scene in Jessica Scott’s I’ll Be Home for Christmas, where Carponti decides to make a little costume for his dick, to give his wife a laugh back home in the States. Best book ever, and not just for that scene! πŸ™‚

    Enjoy!
    TBQ

  26. 26
    TheoLibrarian says:

    Fantastic! I’ve been taking a break from knitting lately but this looks like just the thing to get me back in the knitting groove.

  27. 27
    SB Sarah says:

    @Susan:

    Your wish is our command! Here’s a PDF of the page, with pattern and blocking photo. Enjoy!

  28. 28
    susan says:

    thank you thank you thank you

  29. 29
    lindsayb says:

    Apparently I need to learn how to knit, although that would seriously cut into my reading time. So, who wants to sell me one πŸ™‚

  30. 30
    susan says:

    I have a suggestion for anyone allergic to wool, or even for those who aren’t but find it too itchy near their skin. Look for a chenille yarn, either cotton or rayon. There are bulky-weight chenilles or you can combine two or three strands to make a bulky yarn.

  31. 31
    elaan says:

    On of my favorite exchanges in the books is when Claire tells Jamie and Young Ian that she doesn’t know how to knit, and Jamie’s all you don’t know how to knit, I’ll show you how. Then he proceeds to clickety clack away.  Because, apparently, ALL Highland dudes knit for themselves until they find a wife ho knits for them. Adorbs.

  32. 32
    mel burns says:

    OMG!There is an Outlander page on Etsy! Too funny.

    Elyse: Beautiful cowl…hilarious post. Moran taing!

  33. 33
    Megan says:

    Ok Elyse – pure genius! Wonderful use of your Percocet and your time off. I went to my LYS and found Baby Alpaca on sale. I may have bought enough for 3 cowls. I regret nothing!

  34. 34
    Karin says:

    @Turophile, they let you take knitting needles on a plane? I don’t think so, especially these giant ones you could stake a vampire with. Of course you could fingerknit.

  35. 35
    Rachel B. says:

    Turophile and Karin:  knitting needles on planes are no problem if you use a pair of bamboo (or better yet, Half Moon Bay’s ebony or rosewood) circular needles.  Even easier to knit flat on those as the weight is fairly evenly distributed along the cable and you are less likely to lose pieces, drop needles or otherwise have problems in the no-space that airplanes are now selling to us under the laughable name of “seats”.

    I have been taking bamboo circs on planes for a number of years now.  I used to bring a pre-addressed stamped padded envelope, just in case I needed to mail them back to myself if they weren’t allowed through security, but I’ve never had a bit of trouble.  (I even took them to an ice hockey game once, when I was desperate to finish something quickly.)

    It’s all about the circular needles, especially once arthritis sets in.

  36. 36
    mochabean says:

    Knitting needles are no problem on a plane—straight or circular!

    http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/transporting-knitting-needles-and-needlepoint

  37. 37
    Karin says:

    Ah, good to know.

  38. 38
    Darlynne says:

    It’s been more than 40 years since I stuck myself with/picked up knitting needles. But I have serious lust for the colors in your cowl and, dammit, how hard can it be to try again? Thank you. There may be cowls in my future.

  39. 39
    Melanie says:

    This looks like such a fast knit that I should be able to make one for myself while taking a break from my ongoing projects (baby blankets for twins.)  Thank you, Elyse!

  40. 40
    Kelly S. says:

    So pretty! Both you and the cowl!  Thanks for the pattern.

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