Thistle Cowl
November 2, 2016
November 15, 2016

Thistle Cowl

Project info
Thistle by Ekaterina Filippova-Blanchard
Neck / TorsoCowl
Annie R.
Adult Large with sport weight yarn
Needles & yarn
US 4 - 3.5 mm
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 5 - 3.75 mm
21 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette on larger needles
Stylecraft Batik Double Knitting
2 skeins = 302.0 yards (276.1 meters), 100 grams
October 15, 2016

Knitted this matching cowl to go with the cute Thistle hat I just finished for Annie R. Both beanie and cowl are included in the lovely pattern by Katy Blanchard (many sizes and two weights of yarn - sport and aran).

I deviated from the cowl instructions and did a cable cast-on which is shown in a picture at left. In order to get the pretty side to show on the right side of fabric, I do the following when knitting in the round:

  1. Leave a longer tail at the beginning and cable cast on loosely.

  2. To join in the round, (after casting on all stitches) pull the entire ball of yarn through the first loop on the needle, making sure not to twist your stitches.

Continue knitting in the round as usual, making sure that the pretty side is on the right side. (You can cut your cast-on tail shorter at this point so that it doesn’t get tangled in the working yarn.) The wrong side of a cable cast-on isn’t ugly - just not as pretty as the right side! This is a very easy and fairly stretchy cast on. I would say that it’s just as stretchy as long-tail, if not more so. One of the nice things about the cable cast-on is that you don’t need to estimate the tail length like you do with the long-tail method. You just start casting on from the end of the yarn as you would with a simple thumb cast-on. The cable cast-on is easy, fast, and has a pretty scalloped edge. I often use it for the brim of hats, hems of doll dresses and many other garments. There are various ways of doing a cable cast-on. I give a little twist before putting each loop over the needle as in this video:

Any way you do it, it’s usually very attractive and decorative if you keep an even tension.

Here’s how I did my cable bind-off which is stretchy and has a pretty edge, much like the cable cast-on. I bound off in pattern (k1, p1…), but added the twist like this:

This is a FABULOUS pattern and thoroughly test knitted in all sizes. The thistle flower stitch pattern is different and fun to do. And of course, I LOVE anything with bobbles!

Additional Helpful Tips:

  • When knitting the Bobbles (“Nupps”), be sure to make your stitches as loose as possible and use very pointy needles. The nupps get easier with practice and the design is totally worth their extra effort. Katy has made a video showing how she does her nupps and there are many different methods shown on youtube. Take your pick! A little help from a crochet hook makes the job easier for some people.

  • In her video, Katy demonstrates how to do the “K1 Long” stitch AFTER the “Flower part” (1/3 RC, nupp, 1/3 LC). The “K1 Long” stitch is demonstrated about 2:40 minutes into the video and results in an extra (temporary) stitch/wrap on the right needle which will be dropped in the next round.

  • When casting on the largest adult size (in sport weight yarn), be sure to cast on snuggly. I first tried my usual loose cast-on which does not work with 108 stitches and sport weight yarn. I have a big head (23.5 inches), but a snug cast-on worked perfectly - even for someone with my head size.

  • Many of my nupps were shy and wanted to hide on the inside of the hat. I discovered a way to fix this problem. I eliminated the 2nd “k1 long” in each of these rounds:

Rnd 1: k3, k1 long, p1, k8, p1, k4

Rnd 7: k4, p1, k7, k1 long, p1, k4

All other rounds are done the same as stated in the pattern. Looks much better and no sewing (as I did with my hat) will be necessary to force nupps to the outside.

So why did I eliminate the SECOND “k1 long” in the rounds preceding each nupp round? If you do your nupps extra loose as the instructions recommend, there will be more than enough extra yarn to do the 1/3 LC following each nupp. Just pull the extra yarn for the left leaning cable (leaf) out of the base of each preceding nupp. It will not pull more than it should. Your thistle flowers will look great and not result in such an open area around the nupps. A few people have complained that their hats turned out more slouchy than desired, and this will also help to tighten up the hat around your head.

  • The pattern stitch is a repeat of 18 stitches. I highly recommend placing a stitch marker after each 18 sts all around your circular needle or whatever you’re using.

  • Another tip for doing the nupps the way Katy does them in her video…. Once you have the right needle through all 7 loops on the left needle, keep the point of the right needle VERY tight against the left needle and then slide the right needle FORWARD and UNDER as you pull the working yarn through all loops. I find that this helped me a lot and eliminated the need for a crochet hook to aid in pulling the working yarn through all 7 loops of the nupp.

  • Instead of jumping from a size 6 needle to a size 4 for the upper ribbing, I transitioned by using a size 5 needle for 5 rounds.

  • I eliminated the two rounds of stockinette on both lower and upper edges. Katy’s edging looks very nice, but I was going for an edge that did not roll.

  • I did not do any decreasing at the top of the cowl as indicated in the pattern. Kept my stitch count the same for the entire cowl.

  • I only had a few yards of yarn left from the 2nd ball. So if you do the rounds of stockinette that I eliminated, you’ll probably need to buy a 3rd ball of yarn.

The yarn I chose is from Britain (made in Turkey). What they call, “DK” is not nearly as heavy as the USA equivalent. I’d say this yarn is closer to a “fingering” weight than to our DK weight. Actually, it’s exactly what we refer to in the USA as “sport” weight. Gauge on the label says “21 sts x 30 rows=4 inches using size 6 USA needles” which is VERY slightly different than the gauge on the pattern. However, I was able to get pattern gauge very easily with this yarn. There are 151 yards per ball which will attest to its thin profile. One ball of yarn was enough for this largest adult size HAT with a little left over. (See bottom photo at left showing amount left over at top of hat.)

I absolutely LOVE the way this yarn knits up - just like the very expensive tonal yarns. It contains 20% wool, but is machine washable and dryable. This is a FANTASTIC choice for both children and adults due to its easy care and very affordable price. Stitch definition is great (not too fuzzy). It comes in some very nice colors too. I’ve purchased 4 of the colors so far. I can see myself using this yarn for lots of projects - especially if they expand their color selection. You can see the 16 current colors here: also carries this very popular new yarn.

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November 2, 2016
November 15, 2016
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About this yarn
by Stylecraft
80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
151 yards / 50 grams

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  • Project created: November 3, 2016
  • Finished: November 16, 2016
  • Updated: October 18, 2017
  • Progress updates: 6 updates