Oxbow Shawl by Leah B. Thibault

Oxbow Shawl

September 2020
DK (11 wpi) ?
13 stitches and 20 rows = 2 inches
in Ox-Horn Cable
US 7 - 4.5 mm
200 - 350 yards (183 - 320 m)
Flag of English English

This pattern can be found in Taproot Magazine, Issue 41::EXTEND.

Ox pulling isn’t one of those hobbies you pick up on a whim. It’s not as if you can walk into the nearest sporting goods store and pick up a pair of oxen. Even if you could—compared to horses, oxen are relatively cheap to buy—you would have to house, feed, graze, and train animals that can weigh over 2,000 pounds each. Given the small prize winnings at an oxen pull (an average of $100 per match) ox pulling is more about the glory than the spoils—fitting for a sport that grew out of farmers bragging, “My team can pull more’n yours.”

The pride of the thing also explains the pomp and circumstance surrounding pulling events: national anthems are sung, participant bios are read, and proper language must be used at all times. Any human participants under the influence of liquor will be immediately disqualified, as will oxen who test positive for performance-enhancing stimulants. Not that there’s much need for enhancement. At a walking pace, a team of oxen can pull its own body weight. In the short bursts required in the ring, they can pull much, much more. The Maine record, set in 2012, was 12,350 pounds pulled 6 feet by a team of two weighing 5,700 pounds total. Oxen might not be as fast as horses, but they’re hardy—and well suited to working in deep snow, which might explain why they caught on and remain popular in New England.

“Hardy and good for snow” describes these knit mitts and hat as well, which feature an ox-horn cable worked in a rich burgundy color.

Finished Measurements

Mitts: 6½” (16.5 cm) palm circumference and 11½” (29 cm) long

Hat: 18” (46 cm) circumference and 8” (20.5 cm) tall

To fit: 8” (20.5 cm) palm circumference and 20–22” (51–56 cm) head circumference

NOTE ON MEASUREMENTS: To change your hat’s circumference, simply increase or decrease the number of cast-on stitches in 12-stitch increments.


Nature Spun Worsted by Brown Sheep Company (100% American wool; 245 yards 224 meters / 100 grams):

2 skeins in 146W Pomegranate (1 for mitts, 1 for hat)

OR approximately 200 yards 175 meters of worsted-weight yarn of your choice for mitts and 150 yards 125 meters for hat


Set of double-pointed needles in size US 6 4 mm OR one 32”–40” 80–100 cm circular needle for Magic Loop method

OR size needed to achieve gauge


13 stitches and 20 rows = 2¼” 6 cm in Ox-Horn Cable for Hat pattern, after blocking


Cable needle

Tapestry needle

Stitch markers

Stitch holder or scrap yarn

Pattern Notes

Mitts are worked from the cuff to the fingertips, then the thumb is worked at the end. The hat is worked from the brim to the cap. As written, the mitts feature a long cuff, and the beanie is snugly fitted to the top of the head. To adjust, simply increase or decrease length by 4 row increments.