Syncopated Stardust Cowl Knitting Recipe

When I showed you this cowl, I mentioned that the pattern works with the colour changes in the Scheepjes Stardust yarn. The stitch pattern changes just after the yarn colour changes - it's this 'off beat' change which gave the cowl its name. As each ball of yarn will be slightly different, the stitch pattern changes will vary from project to project. For this reason, it's impossible to write an exact pattern for it. Instead, I'm happy to offer this free "recipe" which you can use to make your own. 

Side view, worn as an asymmetric poncho

First a note about the construction - this cowl starts in exactly the same way as a top-down triangle shawl. When you're happy that it is big enough to comfortably fit over your head, it's joined to work in the round with increases continuing along the central column only. (If you want a shawl instead of a cowl, don't join it up, simply continue with the increases and pattern changes until it's to your desired size). 

Worn 'bandana-style'

The reason I decided to make this into a cowl is because I generally wear triangle shawls 'bandana-style', with the point to the front. Often the ends will fall down and get in my way, and when it's windy, it's necessary to use a shawl pin or two. With a cowl of this shape, you get the same effect when it's worn, but it's easy to just throw on. As my daughter demonstrated, by wearing this her own way, it's also quite versatile.

The sample used just one ball of Scheepjes Stardust¹. My daughter wears age 13 clothes and my model is a UK 10/12. This size is great on them. If you want to make a bigger version, you will need to add more yarn - another ball or two, depending on the desired size. The nice thing about this recipe is you can just keep going until it's the size you want. 

From the back, worn 'bandana-style', and pulled down to cover the shoulders

  • Minimum 100g (1 ball) self-striping Scheepjes Stardust¹, sample shown in Sagittarius colourway
  • 3.5 mm circular needle, at least 80 cm long
  • Two stitch markers - one to mark the central increase point, and another to mark the end of the round (after joining)


Note that although this is easy to knit, as this design is knit flat (back and forth) and in the round, some knowledge of both would be beneficial before casting on, and will make the instructions more intuitive. 
  • Casting on using the 'Garter Tab' method  -  find a photo tutorial here.
  • Picking up stitches - see the tutorial linked above for illustration.
  • K - knit stitch.
  • P - purl stitch.
  • WS/RS - wrong side and right side of the work.
  • Sl1wyif - slipped stitch at the end of every row (when knit flat) with the yarn held to the front of the work.
  • Yo - yarn over increase.
  • Stocking/ stockinette stitch, knit flat - knit right side rows, and purl wrong side rows.
  • Garter stitch, knit flat - knit every row.
  • Stocking/ stockinette stitch, worked in the round - knit every round.
  • Garter stitch, worked in the round -  one knit round followed by one purl round.
  • Picot bind off, including the cable cast on - explained below.

❑  Read through all of these instructions before starting.
❑  Cast on 3 sts.
❑  Work 7 rows in garter stitch, after the last row, do not turn work.
❑  Following the garter tab tutorial, (yo, pick up 1 st) three times, yo, pick up three sts along the cast on edge = total of 13 sts.
  WS: K3, p to last 3 sts, k2, sl1wyif.
❑  RS: (K3, yo) twice, place marker, k1, yo, k3, yo, k2, sl1wyif = 17 sts.

Start with the following stocking stitch pattern until just after the main colour change in the yarn. Then, starting with the next WS row, switch to the garter stitch pattern until just after the next main colour change, and so on. Continue to alternate between these sections until you are ready to join to work in the round. 

  WS: K3, p to last 3 sts slipping the marker, k2, sl1wyif.
❑  RS: K3, yo, k to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, yo, k to last 3 sts, yo, k2, sl1wyif.

❑  WS: Knit.
❑  RS: K3, yo, k to marker, yo, slip marker, k1, yo, k to last 3 sts, k2, sl1wyif.

When you are ready to join to knit in the round, do so after a right side row. Instead of turning the work at the end of the row, place an end of round marker and continue, using the following instructions. As previously, you should alternate between the stitch patterns when starting a new round, just after the colour changes, until you're ready to work the border. The border is a wide section of garter stitch - for the sample, this included three different colours without any stitch change.

  Round A: Knit all stitches, slipping the central marker.
❑  Round B: Knit to centre marker, yo, slip marker, k1, yo, k to end of round.

❑   Round A: Purl all stitches, slipping centre marker.
❑   Round B: Knit to centre marker, yo, slip marker, k1, yo, k to end of round.

When you have finished the border and are ready to bind off, proceed as follows. Note that, if you're almost at the end of the ball, you will need to allow enough yarn for approximately 3 rounds in order to work the picot bind off. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and leave a bit more.

❑   Remove the end of row marker.
❑  Using the cable cast on method, cast on 3 new stitches at the start of the round, as follows:

Place the right needle between the first and second stitches on the left needle - pictured - put the yarn around the right needle, and pull through to create a new stitch. Place the new st on the left needle to increase the stitch count, repeat twice.

For the 'cable cast on' put the right needle between the stitches.
❑   Bind off 4 stitches.
❑  Continue to cast on 3 new stitches, followed by binding off 4 stitches until all stitches are bound off.
❑   Sew in ends, then block to finish. (I still haven't done this. Don't be like me, it'll look much nicer after blocking!)

Close-up of bind off
I hope you enjoy experimenting with this recipe - use it as a starting point and have fun with it. If you post any photos of yours on Instagram, please feel free to tag me (@craftsfromthecwtch) and to use the hashtag #syncopatedstardustcowl so I can take a look.

¹ Scheepjes Stardust is a premium yarn comprised of 11% Mohair, 11% Wool, 75% premium acrylic and 3% Metallic Polyester. This ball was provided by Scheepjes - you can read my earlier thoughts about it hereThe yarn is now widely available from your favourite Scheepjes stockists, including these affiliated stores: Wool WarehouseDeramores and now also *NEW* LoveKnitting US!

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