Knitty: little purls of wisdom
beauty shot


A little something pretty to slip on as the weather cools. The Eleanor cowl is a fun, fast knit when you just have to indulge in knitting some lace, but don’t want it to take forever.

A sweet lace design adds an appealing accent to cool weather wardrobes. A funnel shape allows the cowl to follow the contours of the body; the wider bottom allows it to spread out over the base of the neck, while the narrower top keeps it snug around the neck. The lace pattern forms a soft scalloped edge at the base for a feminine flare.

Instructions are provided for both working flat and in the round.

Your preference for blocking lace may help you decide which method you’d rather use. Some knitters find the end result more pleasing when they knit and block the piece flat, then seam it. Those with an aversion to seaming might like to use the instructions for knitting in the round instead.

Pick your favorite sport weight yarn for this. Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport comes in many beautiful colors, so you can make a cowl to match any outfit or mood. Or for added warmth, you might prefer the cashmere content in Debbie Bliss’s Baby Cashmerino.

spacer model: Ginny Brazier spacer photos: John Kieger



Lower Edge Circumference: 23 inches
Upper Edge Circumference: 18 inches
Length: approx. 11 inches



Pewter Cowl
spacer Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport [100% superwash wool; 200yd/183m per 70g skein]; color: Pewter; 1 skein
Purple Cowl
spacer Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino [55% merino wool, 33% microfibre, 12% cashmere; 137yd/125m per 50g skein]; color: #38 Royal Purple; 2 skeins
Note: If substituting yarn, look for a yarn with recommended ball band gauge of approx. 24-25 sts=4 inches. Approx. 200yd/183m required.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #4/3.5mm straight needles or 16 inch circular needle
spacer 1 set US #5/3.75mm straight needles or 16 inch circular needle
spacer 1 set US #7/4.5mm straight needles or 16 inch circular needle
Note: Largest needle(s) used for casting on and binding off only.

spacer Yarn needle
spacer Stitch markers

19 sts/32 rows = 4" over Chart B pattern using smallest needles, after blocking


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

Instructions for the Long-Tail Cast On can be found here.

Information about blocking lace can be found here and here.

sk2p: Sl 1 knitwise, k2tog, pass slipped st over. 2 sts decreased.


The charts for this pattern are very large and fit on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.

If working back and forth in rows:
Using largest straight needles and long tail method, loosely CO 132 sts.

Switching to mid-sized needles, work Rows 1-14 of Chart A, working outlined pattern repeat section five times. If desired, place stitch markers between pattern repeats. 112 sts when all rows of Chart A are complete.

Work Rows 1-50 of Chart B, working outlined pattern repeat section four times.

Note: If using stitch markers between pattern repeats, markers must be moved at end of each repeat on Rows 5, 15, 35 and 48 (highlighted in chart). To do this, remove marker while working double decrease (sk2p), then replace marker on right needle after decrease has been worked.

Switching to smallest needles, work Rows 23-49 of Chart B once more.
Last Row [WS]: P1, *p2, [k1, p1] three times, k3, p1, [k1, p1] three times; repeat from * four times more, p1.
Using largest needles, loosely BO all sts purlwise.

If working in the round:
Using largest circular needle, CO 130 sts. Ensuring that CO edge is not twisted, join to work in the round as follows: slip first st from left needle onto right needle, pass next st on right needle over slipped st and onto left needle. Turn work so that WS of CO edge (side with purl-like bumps) is facing. Place marker to indicate beginning of round.

Switching to mid-sized circular needle, work Round 1 of Chart A, working outlined pattern repeat section only; place markers between pattern repeats if desired. Pattern repeat will be worked 5 times in each round.                                              

Very Important: For both charts, work only the outlined pattern repeat section.

Work Rounds 2-14 of Chart A. 110 sts.

Work Rounds 1-50 of Chart B. When you begin working Rounds 5, 15, 35 and 48 (highlighted in chart), move marker at beginning of round as follows: remove marker, sl first st to right needle, replace marker. This point will now be beginning of round.

If you have placed markers between pattern repeats, they will also need to be moved when working these rounds. To do this, remove marker while working double decrease (sk2p), then replace marker on right needle after decrease has been worked.

Switching to smallest needles, work Rounds 23-49 of Chart B once more.

Last Round: *[K1, p1] three times, k1, p3, [k1, p1] three times, k2; repeat from * four times more.
Using largest needle(s), loosely BO all sts purlwise.

Weave in ends and block to measurements shown in schematic, pinning lower edge to form scallops. Schematic measurements are slightly larger than finished measurements given above; cowl will relax and shrink slightly after blocking.
If cowl was worked in the round, you may wish to rotate the cowl and re-pin it before it dries completely, to help prevent creases along the sides.
If cowl was worked in rows, sew side seam once blocking is complete.


Audrey is a nature-loving knitter residing beneath oak trees in California. She enjoys knitting with friends and designing.

She mixes the occasional critter photos in with her knitting experiences at her web site, and can be found on Ravelry as AudKnits.