Sanquhar Cowl by Wendy D. Johnson

Sanquhar Cowl

December 2014
fingering weight wool
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
7 stitches and 7.25 rows = 1 inch
in stockinette colorwork in the round
US 3 - 3.25 mm
2800 yards (2560 m)
1 size: 13.5” deep, 83” circumference, easily customizable
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Sanquhar is a town in Scotland, noted for its distinctive two-color knitting. I have knitted Sanquhar socks and gloves in the past, and thought a cowl would be a perfect “sampler” project to showcase many different motifs. I charted most of these motifs from looking at old photographs of Sanquhar knitting, and may have made a minor change to traditional motifs here or there. All of the “main” patterns are based on 11 by 11 stitch squares. I alternate “all-over” background patterns in between each main pattern motif.

This project is designed as a cowl, starting with a provisional cast-on and knit in the round so you can graft the beginning stitches to the end stitches to make a perfect tube. You could also make a scarf, binding off each end separately.

13.5” deep, 83” circumference. You can easily make this half the circumference for a smaller cowl. To adjust the depth you will need to do some simple math because different charts have different repeats, but it is not at all difficult to figure this out.

7 stitches and 7.25 rows per 1” in 2-color stranded stockinette stitch on U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) needles, after blocking. Note that exact gauge is not important for a non-fitted garment, but be aware that changes in gauge will change the finished dimensions of the piece.

Fingering weight yarn: 1300 yards in Color A (white) and 1500 yards in Color B (black).

U.S. size 3 (3.25mm) or size to attain gauge – one circular needle 24” long, second needle in the same size for grafting the piece together. Note: if you resize the cowl and make a significantly narrower piece, you will need a shorter circular needle, or will need to work your piece on two circular needles, double pointed needles, or using the magic loop technique.

Stitch markers, tapestry needle

You can use any smooth fingering weight wool to knit this. I used Woolfolk Tynd to knit the sample. you can, of course, knit it in any two colors you like but you want to make sure that you have a good contrast between the two.

All of the colorwork is charted and there are 14 charts included with the pattern. Also included is an alternate to one of the charts that will allow you to personalize your cowl by adding name/initials and/or date to your piece. A charted alphabet and numerals is also included to help you design your own personalization.


Please note that after you do your provisional cast-on, you will pick up and knit with both colors immediately, according to the first round of Chart A. Next round will be round 2 of Chart A.

When you are done with the cowl, you will be grafting with Color B only, and that graft replaces the last round of the last chart, which is in color B only.