freedom cowl

The inspiration for this cowl comes from all the handmade clothes that my mom used to make for my sister and myself when we were kids. Growing up, having store bought clothes was a luxury since money was tight and we were a big family. But that didn't stop my mom from picking out the most colorful fun bright prints and sewing up the cutest (matching) dresses for us. The piece de resistance would be when she added coordinating rick rack trim around the hemline, sleeves and collar. Oh yes, there are some blackmail worthy pictures floating around somewhere just waiting to be unearthed!

This design was a fun exercise in simple intarsia colorwork. It was my first time trying out this technique and I really enjoyed the freedom of being able to add random blocks of color to the cowl as the knitting progressed. Also really loved knitting the rick rack rib stitch. It is a little slow going at first but very easy and gives the cowl a cool textured look. Who would have thought that I would end up wearing rick rack again all these years later. This one's for you, Mom!

Want to knit one, too? Here's what I did:

Yarn: I had loads of Sheep(ish) by Vickie Howell and StitchNation Full O'Sheep in my stash so that is what I used. Any worsted weight yarn would work. A bulky weight yarn would also be cool to try. Just adjust your needle size accordingly in order to get the fabric that you want. This pattern is a great opportunity to use up those pesky leftovers in your stash.

Needles: I used US 9 needles. Adjust needle size to get your desired fabric.

Gauge: Not crucial for this pattern as long as you get a fabric that you are happy with. My gauge was 6 stitches per inch in rick rack rib after blocking.

Finished size: Mine measured 6 inches wide and 46 inches around which is long enough to wear as a long loop or wrapped twice around the neck. But the choice is yours! Play around with the width and length of the cowl. Also, have fun with the size of the color blocks. Make them randomly sized or uniformly the same.

Rick rack rib stitch pattern:

Row 1 (RS): P1, *skip the first stitch on left needle, k into the back loop of second stitch (leaving stitch on left needle), k into front of first stitch (removing both stitches from left needle), P1; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 2 (WS): K1, *skip the first stitch on left needle, p into second stitch (leaving stitch on left needle), p into first stitch (removing both stitches from left needle), K1; repeat from * to end of row.

Intarsia technique: drop the old yarn, pick up the new yarn from underneath the old yarn thereby trapping the old yarn against the fabric, continue knitting with the new yarn.

Let's start by casting on 43 stitches with your Main Color (MC) or any multiple of 3 stitches plus 1

Starting with row 1 (RS) of rick rack rib stitch pattern, work 13 stitches with MC, switch to Contrasting Color 1 (CC1) and work 17 stitches in pattern, switch to MC and work 13 stitches in pattern.

Next row (WS), work 13 stitches in rick rack rib stitch pattern row 2 with MC, using the intarsia technique switch to CC1 and work 17 stitches in pattern, using the intarsia technique switch to MC and work 13 stitches in pattern.

Continue in this manner until your first color block reaches the desired length (I worked 30 rows for each color block). Then switch out CC1 with CC2. Continue in pattern until you get tired of all this rick rack action and want to move on to the next stash busting project (I worked a total of 8 color blocks). End with Row 2 (WS). With RS facing, bind off in pattern. Seam the cast on and bind off edges together. Or you can skip the seaming and just leave it as a scarf. Block if desired. Wear with a smile :)


  1. Gorgeous! I thought you had used a super bulky yarn :) This looks like a really cool technique to try. I love the colors you chose too. Reminds me of the 4th Doctors super long scarf. :D

  2. This is modern art. Intarsia? You go!

  3. this is seriously c.u.t.e!!! and a stash buster to boot! I LOVE it!!!!

  4. Cute! I love Rick Rack Ribbing. Haven't done it in a long while, will have to see if I have stash that works well together.

  5. This is so cute! And I love the story behind the cowl...my mom sewed for us too, she even made t-shirts for us. Used to be sewing was cheaper than buying, huh? Anyway, we've miss you in knit group and hope you'll join us again soon! Take care!


I would ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ to hear from you!