With rumors of another polar vortex-like episode of cold weather headed for the deep south, I decided I needed a quick, but densely warm cowl, to get me through the next few weeks. I've knit several cowls that mimic the look of Claire's beautiful Sassenach cowl, as she works her way through the Scottish Highlands in the Outlander series, and I decided a modified version would be just right.
This pattern is so easy that I knit it during a drive yesterday (I was obviously a rider, not the driver), and had it ready to wear by evening. The yarn is Bulky Blue Sky Alpaca and I held it double-stranded. I used three skeins of yarn for this cowl, dividing the last skein into two even parts. The pattern is very simple: Using size 35 needles, Cast on 16 stitches using your favorite provisional cast on (I like Lucy Neatby's, using a crochet hook, which you can see here). Knit in garter stitch, i.e. knit every row, until you are almost out of yarn. You will finish the scarf with Kitchener stitch, for a seamless join. To do this, you need one length of yarn (no double stranding for this part), that is three times the width of your work. Even if you don't like to Kitchener, you can manage it for 16 stitches, and the result will be well-worth it.
For the larger cowl worn by claire — one that is long enough to twist around your neck a couple of times or spread out along your shoulders, you will want a longer cowl than this one. The modification is simple — this cowl is very bulky because of the double stranding, but using the same quantity of yarn, held single, you can produce a longer cowl that is easily wrapped around your neck.
Finally, a word about the yarn. Recently, I overdyed a sport weight Blue Sky yarn in this same pink colorway for a friend, and got a lusterous result. That yarn had silk in it, and I thought that might be responsible for the sheen of the yarn. I was curious as to whether I could replicate the result in a yarn that lacked the silk content. I tried it with this bulky yarn that is 50% Alpaca and 50% wool and you can see the result in the picture at the top — it's a deep, shimmering blue. I'm as pleased with the cowl as I am with the yarn, and look forward to staying warm through out the coming weather event.