Knit in the round, this cowl uses a combination of increases (including double yarn overs) and decreases to create geometric shapes. The center of the stitch pattern resembles horseshoes, connecting the pattern to Gawain’s faithful horse, Gringolet. The pattern is both fully written out and charted, so you can use whichever type of directions works best for you.
Skill Level: Advanced Beginner
Skills needed: knitting in the round, k2tog, ssk, yarn overs, and double yarn overs
YOTH Yarns Little Brother (80% Superwash Merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon, 435 yds/398 m per 100 g); 1 skein; sample uses colorway Wheatgrass
or 400 yds (366 m) of another fingering weight yarn
US 3 (3.25 mm) 24” (60 cm) circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
26 sts and 48 rows over 4” (10 cm) in body pattern worked in the round, blocked
34” (86.5 cm) circumference and 9” (23 cm) tall
Thank you to my test knitters (Jaxdrisc, acsparky89, tempericia, Craftmouse, and tsaria) who provided valuable feedback. And thank you to the women of Stitch Definition, who provided photography (Anne Podlesak), tech editing (Maureen Hannon), and graphic design/layout (Elizabeth Green Musselman).
About the Name
Gawain was one of the knights of the Round Table—an integral part of the stories both in his own right as well as because he was Arthur’s nephew. Although horses were important to the knights and get many mentions in the tales, not very many horses are given names. Gringolet is one such exception, and the name is used in several stories about Gawain from various traditions, such as the French Erec and Enide by Chretien de Troyes, the English Lancelot-Grail Cycle as well as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the German Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach.
According to Roger Shermin Loomis, the name was derived from a Welsh word meaning either “white and hardy” or “handsome and hardy.” In either case, the “hardy” definition fits with Gringolet’s character quite well as he is a horse Gawain can rely upon. In Parzival, Gawain comes upon a wounded knight and tends to his injury. Gawain is “rewarded” by having Gringolet stolen from him. Later, Gawain finds himself jousting against a different knight who is riding Gringolet and recovers his horse, which is easily identified by the mark of the Grail it bears. Losing and regaining Gringolet seems to be a recurrent plot point for Gawain.