Alsace Cowl by Dahlia in Bloom

Alsace Cowl

March 2015
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
5.7 stitches = 1 inch
in herringbone
US 7 - 4.5 mm
US 11 - 8.0 mm
500 - 700 yards (457 - 640 m)
one size
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The look of the herringbone stitch is so timeless and traditional, as well as suitable for men AND women! I wanted to make a cowl with a stitch that was reminiscent of a tweedy, beautiful Herringbone fabric, but not super complicated to make. I found a few patterns online, but they were all too difficult (even with years of knitting experience under my belt) or the cast on and bind off were sloppy looking. If you’re going to put all that work into making something, the edges can’t be a mess.

So, while I certainly didn’t invent the idea of a Herringbone patterned scarf or cowl, I think with this pattern, I have perfected it!

After a lot of trial and error and looking through books and online at various Herringbone stitch techniques, I finally settled on a simple, traditional looking stitch pattern that’s easy to remember with real ‘Wow!’ results and I’ve paired that with a beautiful cast on/bind off that will make your finished project look polished and well-made.

This cowl is knit flat with the longer sides as your cast on and bind off. The finished project can be left as is and worn as a scarf, or the ends can be seamed to form a cowl (as shown). Because of the selvedge edge on this cowl, your seam will not be invisible, but when worn at the back of the neck, it will be covered when the cowl is wrapped around itself.

The resulting fabric is very dense because of the stitch pattern, but doesn’t feel stiff. This makes for a warm cowl that will really block out the elements. The ‘wrong’ side of the cowl isn’t a herringbone pattern, but is still lovely to look at - important with a cowl since you always see both sides once it’s wrapped around your neck!

Instructions are given for knitting this cowl in two lengths - the shorter length is perfect for wrapping the cowl doubled around your neck, the longer length can be tripled to completely block out the Winter chill.

Some things to note:
-The cast on and bind off are time consuming, but totally worth the effort.
-The seam will not be invisible.
-Mistakes will show. Take the time to make sure you understand the pattern before you start knitting in front of the TV :-)
-You will need to block the finished project for good results. A very simple blocking technique is described in the pattern.


500-700 yards of worsted weight yarn. (Shown in Berroco Ultra Alpaca in ‘Moonshadow’)
Circular or interchangeable needles 36” or longer in US sizes 7 and 11
Stitch markers for casting on

Please feel free to contact me at if you have any questions as you are working through the pattern.