Basketweave Knit Cowl

A free knitted cowl pattern perfect for beginners or experienced knitters who just want a quick and easy project.

Basketweave knit cowl free pattern

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Sometimes if I'm let loose in a shop that sells balls of wool and yarn they call to me and I am forced to buy them and take them home. Then I have to think of something to make with them. 

Most of my purchases are made like this, I fall in love with the yarn then have to find a pattern. I think the other way round is probably easier but the yarn calls when the yarn calls.

I bought 3 balls of this beautiful multicoloured yarn a little while ago.

hayfield illusion 1.jpg

It's Illusion by Hayfield and comes in a few different colour ways with magical names like Abracadabra, Enchant and Presto. I had to buy 3 because there was an offer and it would be rude not to. I chose 3 different shades, thinking a 100g ball would be enough for a scarf, hat or other winter warmer type thing.

I used 1 ball for a child sized scarf for one of my niece's birthday present. I didn't take photos but it was a simple crochet scarf with big ol' tassels on the ends. Maybe one day I'll make another similar one and take some photos and write up a pattern, on this occasion I just needed it quickly as her birthday was looming!

Ball number 2, Abracadabra, is this lovely black, blue, green and purple mix that I used for this simple cowl in a basketweave knitted pattern. 

cowl laid out flat.jpg

Basketweave is such a simple pattern and there are lots of different versions. You only need to be able to knit and purl to do this - easy peasy!

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My basketweave is 4 knits, followed by 4 purls, kind of like doing a really wide rib, then after 4 rows you switch and the knits sit on top of the purls and visa versa. Now it's kind of like an enormous moss stitch.

What I love about this pattern is:

  • it is completely reversible, which means you can wear the cowl in loads of different ways.
  • it doesn't roll up at the sides like stocking stitch.
  • it doesn't pull in and become narrow like rib.

The finished cowl measures 26cm(10") x 76cm(30") and it joins with 3 buttons.


You could easily add additional button holes if you wanted more buttons. I used old buttons from my stash so they are all sightly different, which I kind of like. The buttons are not just a decorative feature though, joining the cowl like this makes it more versatile to wear.

I've found a few different ways to wear it but I'm sure there are loads more.

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Just pop it over your head as a simple tube.

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With just the top button done up

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 Undo the buttons, give it a twist and then do the buttons up again. This is my favourite as the twist makes it hang nicely. Here you can see how the knit is double sided - you can twist it as much as you like and it makes no difference what side is showing.

You could make your cowl longer or shorter if you like, just knit it to the length you want. You could make it wider or narrower too, just cast on more or less stitches at the beginning, as long as it's in multiples of 4 you can please yourself. 

This photo show how this length hangs round my neck, to give you an idea. (I have the 1 twist in it here too) 

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The yarn I've used is DK, which is by far the most common type in the UK. I believe it's the equivalent to a light worsted in the US. You can use any yarn that's close enough, this is definitely not an exact science type project. I used 5.5mm knitting needles which is a larger than the button band suggested for this yarn. The bigger needles make the finish knit nice and floppy.

Basketweave Knit Cowl pattern

You will need:

100g ball of DK or equivalent (you won't need the full 100g though, I had about 1/4 of the ball left)

5.5mm knitting needles

3 fairly large buttons

Cast on 44 stitches

row 1: *k4, p4 repeat from * to end

row 2: *p4, k4 repeat from * to end

row 3: repeat row 1

row 4: repeat row 2

row 5: repeat row 2

row 6: repeat row 1

row 7: repeat row 2

row 8: repeat row 1

These 8 rows form the pattern.

Work the 8 rows 20 times in total (the work should measure about 73cm (29") at this point)

Buttonhole row 1: pattern 5, cast of 2, pattern 14, cast off 2, pattern 14, cast off 2, pattern to end.

Buttonhole row 2: pattern 5, cast on 2, pattern 14, cast on 2, pattern 14, cast on 2, pattern to end.

Continue in pattern for 6 more rows then cast off in pattern.

Sew on the button, lining them up with the button holes. Sew in the ends.

cowl basket weave.jpg

8 rows seems like a lot to memorise for a pattern if you are a beginner but trust me, it's really really simple. You will see how it's building up in no time at all and won't need to refer to the pattern after a couple of repeats.

My buttons are all just under an inch in diameter, but these button holes are plenty big enough if you use buttons that are a bit larger. The knit is very floppy and loose. If your buttons are smaller then I'd recommend making your buttonholes smaller by only casting off 1 stitch instead of 2. 

Simple basketweave knit cowl free pattern

Let me know below if you have any questions, and if you do make a basketweave cowl I'd love to see it so do tag me in any Facebook, Twitter or Instagram shares. 


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