Knitty: little purls of wisdom
beauty shot


There is a certain quiet urgency to autumn, a rush to soak up what's left of the sun. Looming months of grey chill ahead heightens the beauty of the trees as they dress themselves up in their brightest and boldest, making the most of every bit of energy they've stored up during the summer months.

Inspired by this fleeting glory, I wanted to make something that was bright and bold, yet delicate and perhaps a little magical. Dragon's Breath is the result, named for the last fierce blaze of heat before the sun flies away to warmer climes.

This cowl is knit in the round with patterning on every second row, and is simple enough to make a good first lace or bead project. It uses a light weight merino lace suitable for changeable weather and optional beading to suggest the warmth of embers, or the translucent color of leaves lit by lingering sunlight.

The lace design makes the fabric zigzag after a few rows, and creates a fun effect with gradient, variegated or striping yarns. Gauge is not critical, and interchangeable or fixed cable needles can be used.

It can be worn round the shoulders like a wrap, draped down like a scarf, or doubled up for warmth at the neck and to ward off any over-friendly vampire mosquitoes.


spacer model: Elizabeth Emanuele
spacer photos: Nim Teasdale

shown in size S

Circumference: 32[46] inches
Length: 15 inches



spacer Apple Tree Knits Pure Lace Mini [100% merino; 438m per 57g skein]; color: Koi Gradient; 1 skein

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 24-inch US 6/4mm circular needle
spacer 1 24-inch US 8/5mm circular needle

spacer stitch marker
spacer 170[238] 6/0 beads
spacer crochet hook fine enough to suit beads (1mm or finer)
spacer yarn needle



20 sts/26 rounds = 4 ins in pattern stitch, after blocking
24 sts/32 rounds = 4 ins in st st

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

Circumference can be adjusted by casting on more or fewer repeats of the lace pattern, in multiples of 16 sts. Each repeat adds approx 4 inches to the length of the cowl, and requires about 30yds of yarn. The small size (pictured) uses 300yds, and the large uses 420yds.

Casting on and binding off with larger needles allows the edging to form points, and helps prevent rolling.

Sk2po: Slip the next st, knitwise, k2tog, then pass the slipped stitch over the stitch just worked.
Place bead: Beads are placed with a crochet hook prior to knitting the stitch. Place bead on crochet hook, use hook to lift stitch off needle, slide bead onto stitch, then replace on left needle and knit as usual. If not beading, substitute instructions for "place bead" with "k1".

Lace Pattern
Work from Chart or Written instructions as you prefer.
Rnd 1: Place bead, yo, k3, ssk, k1, yo, sk2po, yo, k1, k2tog, k3, yo.
Rnds 2, 4, 6: Knit.
Rnd 3: K2, yo, k3, ssk, k3, k2tog, k3, yo, k1.
Rnd 5: K3, yo, k3, ssk, k1, k2tog, k3, yo, k2.


Using larger needle, cast on 160[224] sts. Place marker and join for working in the round.

Change to smaller needles.

Rnd 1, set up pattern: Work Lace pattern 10[14] times around.

Work as set until you have complete 16 full repeats of the Lace pattern, and work 5 rounds of a 17th repeat. You can adjust for preferred length, ending on Pattern Round 5.

Using larger needle to work stitches, BO purlwise.


Block enthusiastically, laying flat so the waves are lined up, and pinning out the points of both layers at once.


Nim is a laceaholic and can generally be found huddled over some graph paper muttering distractedly, or up to her elbows in yarn and points sticks, trying to pretend that the house is tidy and the kids aren't running amok.

Find her on Ravelry as NimbleNim.