Houndstooth check cowl

February 20, 2011 § 5 Comments

As promised, a cozy cowl for cold days.

Of course, it was about 65 degrees outside yesterday, but I’ve been informed that there’s more snow on the way for today; we’ll see if I need a cowl or not. This is a pretty quick cowl to knit, so depending on your schedule you might be able to get it done within a few days, or before the end of winter! Best of all it’s a stashbuster, since you only need about 144 yards total, though I definitely had some scraps left over at the end.

The only tricky part to master is the houndstooth check stitch, explained below under the pattern’s notes section. It is an easy way to do colorwork once you get the hang of it, since there’s no stranding and no intarsia or anything like that. Worked in the round, this cowl will fly by – which is pretty cool, since I actually DID fly on a plane while knitting it.

Houndstooth check cowl

Yarn: Ella Rae Mocha 2-ply bulky-weight (12 ply/7 wpi) 70% Merino, 15% Camel, 15% Mohair – 1.76 ounces/50grams – 72 yards/66 meters per skein, two skeins total

Colors: Pick any combination you like. I assigned one main color status (cast on and bind off color) and one as accent color status.

Main color:

  • 10 / navy blue, one skein (72 yards)

Accent color:

  • 04 / pale blue, one skein (72 yards)

Needle: US 10.5 (6.5mm), 20″ circular (though you could use a 16″ if that’s what’s available)

Gauge: 13 sts and 16 rows in houndstooth check pattern = 4 inches, but it’s not crucial to match exactly.

Size: about 26″ circumference (13″ flat) and 8″ tall

Pattern stitch:

HCS (houndstooth check stitch) = insert right needle into the stitch BELOW the stitch on the left needle (assuming right-handed knitting). Knit this stitch. Drop the unworked stitch above the now-worked stitch off the needle.

Cast on 88 stitches using MC.

Round 1: Using MC, join in the round and knit.

Round 2: Purl.

Round 3: Switch to AC, *k1, HCS, rep from * to end of round.

Round 4: Purl.

Round 5: Switch to MC, *HCS, k1, rep from * to end of round.

Round 6: Purl.

Rep rows 3-6 until cowl measures close to 7 3/4 inches tall, and end with MC on round 6. Bind off knitwise, or use  Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bindoff, as it has a bit of added height to the bound-off edge, rather than a typical knit one, pass one over bind-off.

Block if desired/needed, and you’re done!

Update, July 23, 2011: Please note that round 5 has changed from the previous version to “Switch to MC, *HCS, k1, rep from * to end of round.” (Round 5 was formerly “Switch to MC, k2, *HCS, k1, rep from * to end of round.”) Many thanks to my test knitter Meg for suggesting this change!

Update, July 25: Changed the pattern to end on round 6 rather than 5. Again, thanks Meg!

Update, January 23, 2012: Changed row 3 to *k1, HCS, rep from * to end of round” from “k1, *HCS, k1, rep from * to end of round,” and changed cast on number from 87 to 88. Many thanks to Gr8Kate for catching this error.


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§ 5 Responses to Houndstooth check cowl

  • Cindy says:

    Ok, I’m having trouble understanding the HCS. Do you really drop the stitch or do you slip it to the right needle? If you drop it, how do you keep the correct number of stitches?

    • k.m. says:

      You insert your right-hand needle (assuming right-handed knitting) into the stitch immediately below the stitch on the left needle from front to back. Knit this stitch.

      Then, drop the stitch on the left-hand needle (above the stitch that was just worked into) off the needle.

      Because you’re knitting into the stitch below what would normally be the next worked stitch, and then dropping that stitch above the just-worked stitch, the stitch count should always stay the same. If you don’t drop the stitch above the worked HCS stitch, that would increase the stitch count by one.

      I’ve also heard of this technique more recently called knit one below (sometimes abbreviated k1b) too, though not all knit-one-belows call for the stitch above to be dropped off the needle, and that’s why I chose to abbreviate it HCS so as to prevent confusion.

      Hope this helps!

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