Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ribbed Shell Cowl

Ribbed Shell Cowl
I've been in love with this yarn since the minute I saw it, which must have been a while ago considering it seems to be discontinued. Nevertheless, any similar-weight yarn with a decent drape to it should knit up in this pattern nicely. And this pattern also has a few nice features, like the fan-like drape of the corner of it, as well as the large ribs.
And another picture, this time from
the other side!

Yarn: Misti Alpaca Suri Silk (80% Baby Suri Alpaca, 20% Silk; 218 yards [200 meters]/100 grams); color #20 – one skein

Needles: Straight needles in size 6 (or a circular needle in size 6, but worked back and forth), cable needle (cn) or double-pointed needle for cabling

Notions: Tapestry needle

Gauge: 24 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette on size 6 needles

So let's get started! First, cast on 33 stitches loosely. And then we’ll begin the pattern, although we’ll need the following notation to continue:

bc (back cross): slide three stitches to cn and hold in back; knit three, knit three from cn

So let’s do this thing!

Rows 1 & 3 (right side): (k2, p1) 9 times, k6

Rows 2, 4, & 6: p6, (k1, p2) 9 times

Row 5: (k2, p1) 9 times, bc

Repeat rows 1 – 6 four times. Now we’re going to work some increases, which go as follows:

Add Row 1: (k2, pfb) 9 times, k6 (42 stitches)

Row 2: p6, (k2, p2) 9 times

Row 3: (k2, pfb twice) 8 times, k2, pfb, p1, k6 (59 stitches)

Row 4: p6, k3, p2, (k4, p2) 8 times

Row 5: (k2, p1, pfb, p2) 8 times, k2, p3, bc (67 stitches)

Row 6: p6, k3, p2, (k5, p2) 8 times

Work add rows 1 – 6 once. Now we’re moving on to the main body pattern, which goes as follows:

Main Pattern Row 1: (k2, p5) 8 times, k2, p3, k6

Row 2: p6, k1, k2tog, yo, p2, (yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, p2) 8 times

Row 3 (short row): (k2, p5) 8 times, k2, p1, w&t

Row 4 (short row): k1, p2, (yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, p2) 8 times

Row 5: (k2, p5) 8 times, k2, p3, k6

Row 6: p6, k1, k2tog, yo, p2, (yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, p2) 8 times

Row 7: (k2, p5) 8 times, k2, p3, bc

Row 8: p6, k1, k2tog, yo, p2, (yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, p2) 8 times

Knit rows 1 – 8 until piece measures 17.5” along cabled edge, and you've just finished row 2 of the pattern. Begin binding off loosely, knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches, and continue to bind off until there are 23 stitches left on your left-hand needle, and there's one stitch on your right-hand needle. Quit binding off, and knit across the final 23 stitches.

Now that we've got 24 stitches left, we're going to work a straight knit stitch, while maintaining our cable. Or in pattern notation:

Rows 1, 3, & 5 (wrong side): purl

Row 2: k18, bc

Rows 4 & 6: knit

Continue in this pattern until knit section reaches roughly 6", or desired length, and you've just completed row 5 of the pattern. Bind off. Finally, seam piece along short ends, matching the knit stitches of the cast-on side with the knit stitches of the cast-off side (and, in effect, ignoring the purl stitches from the cast-on end in your seam). Tuck in ends.


  1. Tis looks so cute! What does w&t mean? Row 3, main pattern. Can't wait to get started!

    1. Thanks Karen! And w&t means wrap & turn - it's how you prevent holes when you're knitting short rows. I haven't had the time to put much instructional stuff up on my site, but here's a link to an article about it:

      There are also plenty of videos out there if you Google the phrase. And please, let me know if you have any more questions!

  2. Gretchen, Just found your pattern, thank you so much for sharing it, will be making a few for special friends for next Christmas. It is so lovely, will try different colors and solids and hand dyes.... Kudos to you. Anne N Stoddard

    1. Thanks Anne! I'm glad to hear you like my pattern - I love coming up with them, so I'm happy I can share. And you're so ambitious - I don't usually get started on my Christmas knitting until way too late, and then I don't get half of it done!!!

  3. Lovely cowl! I think I have the perfect yarn for it in my stash...which will delight my husband, if I start a new project without buying new yarn. ;-)

    1. My husband would like that too! But I've totally convinced him to let me buy some more today anyway.... Oops!

  4. I absolutely love this pattern and just started it with this lovely colourful yarn!! I have a question though, towards the end, when i'm binding off and leaving a total of 24 stitches and seam it with the beginning, is it normal that we have less stitches than the cast on?

    1. Hi there!

      Glad to hear you like the pattern. :) And yes, you should have fewer stitches on the cast-off edge than the cast-on; when seaming, you'll basically just ignore the purled stitches from the cast-on edge, and seam the stockinette of the cast-off side to the knit stitches from the cast-on. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  5. How do you do the stitch pfb, I don't see the instructions here?

    1. Hi there! :) The pfb is the purl front and back of stitch; here's a link to a video:

  6. This is such a fun knit project and it’s so pretty when finished. Instead of stitching the two ends together, I’m going to make four button holes and buttons, I think it will be a little easier to put on and gives you an option of pulling it over the head or wrapping it around the neck and buttoning. I made this for a friend and plan to make one for myself. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. So glad to hear you liked the pattern! I'm sure your buttons will be lovely. :)