Originally published as part of the Knitcircus Issue #12 Winter 2010-2011 Pattern Collection. It is no longer available from this source, but has been reformatted/rephotographed and can now be purchased here.
This cowl pattern is named after Ann Patchett’s book Bel Canto: the single cable braid running across the cowl reminded me of the scenes where two unlikely friends plait one another’s hair in the mornings.
The cowl is knit in the round and finished with plain rolled edges. Most of the cowl is stockinette, and the main design detail is the braided cable running diagonally up the center of the cowl, set off by openwork lace and simultaneously positioned on the bias with increases/decreases placed on every round. Additional decreases distributed across the stockinette portions of the cowl create a flared shape to hug the neck and shoulders. The bias shaping gives the cowl an interesting shape at the base of the braid--the cable can be placed anywhere when the cowl is worn, but I like the way it looks with the base of the cable fanning out at the collarbone and the braid running diagonally up around and behind the neck.
The sample is knit in Malabrigo Merino Worsted, a non-superwash merino singles yarn. If you want to substitute a different yarn, pick one that will be comfortable next to bare skin, preferably a smooth wool or wool-blend yarn in a solid or semi-solid color so the cable and lace pattern will be visible.
Pattern is both written and charted. One size fits all.
Suggested yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted or another worsted or aran weight yarn in a solid color
Gauge: 18 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette