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Old Shale cowl free knitting pattern

Old Shale Cowl

Old Shale is a lovely stitch which should not be mistaken for Feather and Fan (see here for a great insight into that argument!) This simple cowl is a good first lace project, instructions are given both for ‘in the round’ knitting (on circular needles) and ‘flat’ (straight needles).

You will need;

4.5mm needles (either fairly long straight needles or 60cm circular needles)

50g sock yarn (I used Zauberball which has a lovely colour range)

Stitch marker or length of contrasting thread.

A pen and paper may also be handy. If you mark off the end of each row you’ll be able to keep track of where you are in the pattern if you put your work down for a minute. Knitting this much lace can seem daunting to a beginner. If you try to do as little as two repeats a day your cowl will be completed in ten days. You can also use a lifeline in case of total disaster!

To knit the cowl ‘in the round’;

Using circular needles cast on 144 stitches. Taking care not to twist them, join to knit in the round. This is a four row pattern as follows.

Row 1, knit to end of round, place marker

Row 2, purl to marker

Row 3, slip marker, (knit 2 together) three times, *(yarn over,knit 1) six times, (knit 2 together) six times, repeat from * to last six stitches, (knit 2 together) three times

Row 4, slip marker, knit to marker

That’s it, that’s all you do. Just keep repeating rows 1 through to 4 until you have completed about 20 repeats then cast off loosely and sew in your ends. Then was according to the ball band instructions and block your work.

Hopefully you’ve got the hang of moving the marker each round, here are the four rows written in ‘knitting speak’ it may be easier to memorise them.

Row 1; k to end

Row 2; p to end

Row 3; [k2tog] x3, *[yo,k1] x6, [k2tog] x6, rep from * to last six sts, [k2tog] x 3

Row 4; k to end

When you do things this way there is a slight ‘jog’ where the end of the purl row doesn’t quite meet up with the beginning. It’s barely visible but if you want to get rid of it here are various techniques you can try. Here’s a list of Google links that will help.

The purl ‘jog’ is visible on the left of this picture (if you look closely enough!)

There is just a slight change to the pattern if you are knitting it on straight needles (please see the description for the knitted in the round cowl for the extended version of the instructions).

Cast on 144 stitches

Row 1; k to end

Row 2; k to end

Row 3; [k2tog] x3, *[yo,k1] x6, [k2tog] x6, rep from * to last six sts, [k2tog] x3

Row 4; p to end

Repeat rows 1 to 4 until you have completed 20 repeats total. Cast off loosely and sew sides together. Wash and block according to the ball band instructions.

Completed cowl (pre blocking)


8 comments on “Old Shale cowl free knitting pattern

  1. Barbara Diaz
    November 4, 2012

    Are the knitting needle sizes American or British please? If british I will have to adjust the size of needles. The cowl is lovely, what type of wool is it, I not sure if we have that wool in England.

    • oxknit
      November 4, 2012

      British metric (millimeter) needle size), there is a conversion chart if you need it https://oxknit.wordpress.com/links/conversion-tables-2/ .

      The yarn I used is called Zauberball but any variegated sock yarn would do. It’s available in the UK, I got mine from ‘I Knit London’, they have a mail order service if you need it.

  2. p jones
    November 19, 2012


  3. Anonymous
    December 3, 2012

    i just finished making one for my sister and it is beautiful! The pattern was so simple to follow! I already bought the yarn for my next one!!!!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • oxknit
      December 3, 2012

      So glad you like it! Are you on Ravelry? I’d love to see a picture.

  4. Denise
    January 23, 2013

    This is a beautiful pattern. I made it in a varigated yarn, which really makes the waves pop. There is an error in row 3. The decreases do not equal the increases (result in -6) plus there are two decrease patterns adjacent to each other. The last section of row 3 should read: to the last 12 stutches then [yo K1] x6, [K2tog] x3. The extra 6 stitches are accounted for in the 144.

    • oxknit
      January 23, 2013

      Thanks for pointing out the error. I’ll sort it as soon as I feel well enough to fire up the computer.

  5. Tara Fitzgerald
    January 30, 2013

    This is a wonderful pattern, I’m knitting this cowl. I’ve added a link to the pattern in the pattern directory at http://www.knittingpatterndesigns.com/


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This entry was posted on October 30, 2012 by in Patterns and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

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