The Yarnologue

Outlander Ideas: Cowls!

Sorry if you stopped by earlier in the week looking for my ideas from episode three. I was out of town for the weekend and only watched the episode last night. Thank goodness for DVR technology, right?

Episode 103 “The Way Out” was good for character development, but thin on knitwear inspiration, if you ask me.

Claire’s brown arm warmers make another appearance, but I still haven’t seen a good view of them to twig the pattern.

The knitwear stand outs were the two fabulous cowl Claire wears for much of the episode.

One is a lush fur cowl that might actually be a capelet. I read online somewhere that it is mink(!), but I don’t know for sure whether or not that is accurate.

In any event, it’s a dense, short fur that might be hard to replicate through knitting. That is the cowl that led me to knit the Vera Collar from the Louisa Harding Luzia book.

IMG_4952Another option for imitating the fur cowl would be the Painted Fur 3-in-1 Design from our KFI Luxury Collection line.

Painted fur 3As you can see, it’s quite lush and cuddly. It takes 2 skeins of our Painted Fur yarn, which is a soft, 90% Polyamide, 10% Polyester blend available in 10 colors.

Download the free pattern.

For something a little more wild, check out the Faux Fur Shawl (free pattern).

Faux Fur shawlThis pattern uses two skeins of Faux Fur from Euro Yarns. This yarn is super soft and cuddly! Last year I made a pillow cover using one skein and size 19 needles. My husband has commandeered it for his couch pillow.

If you want to tone down the fur, check out the Painted Fur Cowl (free pattern) instead, which just has a fur trim.

Painted Fur CowlThe main yarn for this cowl is Juniper Moon Farm Marlowe, which is a smooshy, 50% Merino Wool 50% Silk blend available in over 15 colors.

The other cowl featured was that voluminous, chunky, chocolate colored garter stitch one Claire wears for the half of the episode.

The big, visible stitches give me the impression that cowl was knit using US50 needles. They might have even held two strands of yarn together to get that large size.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t own US50 needles. I just don’t knit projects at that scale so I haven’t invested in a pair. I also have to wonder how heavy it is when you’re wearing it.

Instead, I’ve focused on more practical cowls using super bulky and chunky yarns.

Paloma snoodThis garter stitch snood in the new Debbie Bliss Roma book seems this a perfect, practical substitute for Claire’s cowl. It takes just one skein of the new yarn Roma, a 70% Wool, 30% Alpaca blend with a suggested gauge of 2.25 sts/inch on US17 needles.

You would totally finish knitting the cowl in a weekend.

Roma is available in 16 colors, including a lovely chocolate brown! Not big enough? Use two skeins instead.

Mirasol TatuAlong the same lines is the Tatu cowl from Mirasol book 27. This is an older book, but you should still be able to find it in stores.

The Tatu cowl takes one skein of Mirasol Ushya yarn, a yummy 98% Merino Wool, 2% Nylon blend with a suggested gauge of 2.5 sts/inch on US15 needles.

The book has a garter stitch and a seed stitch version of the cowl. I knit the seed stitch version two years ago (gasp!) as a thank you gift for a friend. It worked up quickly and I didn’t really want to send it away (but I did).

Ushya is available in over 25 colors. New for this season is Ushya Suya, which features tonal, variegated colors. The two yarns should be interchangeable in patterns.

Superstar cowlFor an option with a bit of bling, check out the new, lacy Superstar cowl. Queensland Collection Superstar yarn is a 63% Polyester, 15% Acrylic, 11% Wool, 11% Nylon blend with a suggested gauge of 4 sts/inch on a US10 needle. Although this yarn has no animal fiber, it has a mohair-like halo. It’s really fun and works up into fast projects.

In December I knit a one skein cowl (with cables!) in 2 1/2 hours using Superstar.

Ranging even further from my garter stitch inspiration, I found this great Long Snood pattern on the Debbie Bliss website.

White-Scarf-_1-2It’s knit using her Paloma yarn, a delicious 60% Baby Alpaca, 40% Merino Wool blend with a suggested gauge of 3 sts/inch on US15 needles. If cables aren’t your thing, you could always use Paloma to replicate Claire’s garter stitch cowl.

The last pattern I’ll highlight is the Mega Garter Stitch Shrug (free) from Ella Rae.

Ella Rae Mega ShrugAlthough this is a great project that works up quickly using just one skein of Mega yarn, I think the yarn is getting harder to find. But you never know! Ask at your local yarn store and you might be pleasantly surprised.

I will leave you with this great Tartan Cowl from the Fine Donegal book from Debbie Bliss. It’s totally unrelated to the two simple, brown cowls Claire wore during episode 103, but it’s still pretty fabulous!

Debbie Bliss Tartan cowl


  1. I do own size 50 needles! They are like knitting with branches from a tree, but the project goes super fast! They really are fun to knit with, give it a try!

  2. a Snood is a headband, not a cowl

  3. Actually a snood is neither a cowl nor a headband; rather it is more like a small hairnet in which to contain a chignon. Don’t know where that headband idea came from!

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