Designing, Knitting

lynsey cowl

With just a few more days until Rhinebeck is upon us (bestill my beating heart), I’m thrilled to be able to unveil my latest design, the Lynsey Cowl!


My inspiration for this one was pretty simple: I wanted to do some colorwork. (My husband, knowing just what I like to read, recently got me the 200 Fair Isle Motifs book, a great inspirational resource.) There are many colorwork techniques available to knitters out there, but I really like those traditional Fair Isle, or stranded, motifs the best. I think that the history and tradition of these exquisite patterns is incredible. But I also wanted to change things up a bit, and I came up with two solutions: knit the cowl with supersized “X” and “O” motifs, and use a variegated yarn to give the colorwork extra punch!

You also know me well enough to know that I have to create and wear things that look good no matter how I end up throwing them on over my head, and a fully reversible cowl is most definitely in that category! Hence the construction of Lynsey: the cowl starts with a provisional cast on and is knit in the round as a tube using two different colorways of fingering-weight yarn (yes, of course I used Madelinetosh for this, in “Natural” and “Fjord”). Once the full length is knit, the end of the cowl is grafted to the beginning of the cowl for a professional-looking result that is fully reversible. Not only does this technique hide the yarn floats inside the cowl as you work (read: less ends to weave in HA!), but it also makes the Lynsey Cowl exceptionally warm and cozy.

Admittedly, grafting a large number of stitches together takes a bit of concentration, but the near-seamless result is completely worth it.


I’ve included one size in the pattern that measures approximately 40″ in circumference and 6.5″ wide. However, it’s very simple to modify the length of the cowl to suit your preferences; just subtract or add repeats of the charted pattern. As you can see, the cowl fits loosely and doesn’t hug the neck, but I suspect that you could wrap it around twice to accomplish that; it all depends on how bad the weather is that day!

For some unknown reason, I had trouble coming up with a name for this design. So, when in doubt, I cast around for good names that I like. “Lynsey” is an alternative spelling for “Lyndsay” and is traced from an old Scottish surname. So that worked perfectly, since Fair Isle is after all a beautiful island off the northern coast of Scotland.

I hope that you love this latest design as much as I do! One of the things that I especially like is that this cowl can be a great unisex gift – just change up the palette for a man or a woman and just change up the length for a child or an adult. How about gray and navy? Or purple with blue? Or a graphic punch of black and white? The sky is the limit!

The pattern is available for purchase both here on Makewise Designs, as well as on Ravelry. Special thanks to both my honey for taking the pictures on a beautiful day and to Katherine Vaughan for skillfully providing the tech editing!

And if you see me this weekend at Rhinebeck wandering around wearing this cowl looking like a kid in the candy store, be sure to say “Hi!” 😉

5 thoughts on “lynsey cowl”

  1. Congratulations! It’s gorgeous. I’m afraid color work is not something I really work at. I’ve made a hat and a pair of knits in Fair Isle, but it drove me nuts doing it. So I’m leaving it to you experts and enjoying it from afar. The cowl is gorgeous, and I really do like the shaded yarn you used for the darker work. It came out so very nice. You should have a winner with this one, for sure. 🙂

    1. I must admit, Sandie, I don’t even carry the yarns at the same time! I pick up one, work it, drop it, and pick up the other. Highly inefficient, but it does get the job done 🙂

  2. YOU DID IT……!!! And the result is spectacular….!!! If you are asking the folks at Rhinebeck to STOP you and say hello, you may not MOVE from one spot…it is just lovely, perfectly lovely…!!!!!

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