5 Free Fabulous Cowls That Might Make You Swear Off Scarves

These free cowl knitting patterns reformed my cowl-disliking ways… they could change all your neck-warming knitting!

Once upon a time, I did not care for cowls.

I thought they looked a little strange, like a turtleneck sweater missing its sweater. Or a tied-together scarf.

But I kept seeing knitting patterns for cowls everywhere. Websites. Newsletters. Catalogs. After a while, I wondered if I was missing something. Why were cowls so popular? Was it time for me to give them another chance?

Advantages of Cowls over Scarves

To my surprise, I realized that a lot of cowls are actually quite cute. Not only that, but they also have a lot of practicality built into them. In fact, I’ve come to realize cowls have a few advantages over scarves.

They don’t accidentally slip off. It’s impossible to accidentally step on them and come close to strangling yourself. These days, the only real disadvantage I see with the cowl (and this is only an issue with shorter cowls) is it’s a little harder to remove without messing up your hair.

So if you want to make a short cowl for someone, you’d better make it really cute. Because it may not come off when the coat is off!

In this spirit, I offer you a selection of charming, warm, and practical free cowl patterns.

For more cowl patterns, take a look at my Ultimate Guide to Cowls!

Free & Irresistible Cowl Knitting Patterns

Flurries Cowl: I love the stylish stitch pattern and the button! I also love that it can be slipped up over the head to be worn as a hood.

Bandana Cowl: Purl Soho calls this cowl “casually glamorous,” and I must agree. I love the bandana shape!

Bandana Cowl - Purl Soho
Bandana Cowl
Photo: Purl Soho

Eleanor: Isn’t this little cowl darling? It’s so petite that it can easily be kept on after the coat is removed, and stylish enough that it can add to an outfit’s sophistication rather than detract from it!

free cowl knitting patterns
Eleanor Cowl
Photo: Audrey Knight

Incognito: This cowl is fun! Love the idea of hiding from the cold and the world, courtesy of a “mustache.”

Incognito Cowl - Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark
Incognito Cowl
Photo: Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark

Play It Cool Neckwarmer: Here’s a no-frills cowl that knits up quickly and is full of warmth and charm. (Please note that while the Lion Brand website shows a price at the top of the pattern, that’s for the yarn. Keep scrolling down, and you’ll see a “Download Free Pattern” button.)

Play It Cool Neckwarmer - Lion Brand
Play It Cool Neckwarmer
Photo: Lion Brand

My apologies to humble cowl knitting patterns; it turns out that they are more versatile and charming than I had ever dreamed! I may well be knitting a lot more cowls than scarves from now on.

5 Fabulous Free Cowl Knitting Patterns
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