Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

Working at Purl Soho, I have a front row seat to the parade of effortlessly chic people that give our neighborhood its renowned style. From here I can report that, for men and women alike, this season’s prevailing trend in neckwear is the bandana. Jauntily tiedaround the neck, it tops off everything from Sunday’s T-shirt and jeans to Friday’s night-on-the-town dress! The bandana is a sassy, casual touch that suggests that the wearer possesses an innate stylishness. It’s the perfect accessory  for those cool mornings when you’ve hit snooze a few too many times and need to turn “throwntogetherinarush” into “casually glamourous”!

Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

My Bandana Cowl is inspired by my desire to make “effortlessly chic” even more effortless. I was so excited to create something with the same freshness as the tied bandana but without the fiddly aspect of actually having to tie anything!

I chose to make my Cowl out of Swan’s Island Bulky, a brand new yarn made from a beautiful blend of undyed merino and alpaca that feels wonderfully soft against the skin. The yarn creates a dense, rich fabric that’s cuddly perfection for the chilly days of fall!


OCTOBER 14, 2012

Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

Our original Bandana Cowl is a Purl Bee favorite, knit up in Swans Island beautiful merino Bulky. We love it too! But we couldn’t resist the temptation to get even cozier with the help of Jade Sapphire’s extraordinary 8 Ply 100% Mongolian Cashmere. Carefully selected, gorgeously spun and lovingly hand dyed, it doesn’t really get any better than Jade Sapphire’s cashmere!


MARCH 6, 2022

Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

We revisited this favorite pattern to give it the very special Plenty treatment. As un-scratchy as wool gets, this 100% extra fine merino is soft and squishy with a distinctive spin and very lively bounce. Oh, and it only takes one skein of Plenty to whip up a Bandana Cowl… Casting on now!



Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

Plenty has so many beautiful colors, we whipped up Bandana Cowls in every one, plus four new colorplay versions, too: Breton Stripes, Transitional Stripes, Colorblock, and even a duplicate stitch Monogram, so you can bring your A game to this knit! (Or your B game!) Cast on to find out why the Bandana Cowl is still one of our most popular knits! Share your progress and connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, and #PurlSohoBandanaCowl. We can’t wait to see what you make!


Bandana Cowl | Purl Soho

  • 1 skein Swans Island Bulky, naturally dyed colors are 100% Organic Merino and undyed colors (Natural, Oatmeal and Seasmoke) are 85% Organic Merino and 15% Alpaca. Each skein is 130 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 130 yards required of Swans Island Bulky or another worsted weight yarn. We used the color Oatmeal.
  • A US 10 (6 mm), 16-inch circular needle
  • Jumbo Locking Stitch Markers, 3 total (optional)

For a truly cozy cowl, here is another beautiful option:

  • 2 skeins of Jade Sapphire’s 8 Ply Cashmere, 100% Mongolian cashmere. Each skein is 100 yards/ 55 grams; approximately 130 yards required.


16 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


Finished Neck Opening: 17¼ inches circumference, comfortably stretching up to 5 inches

Finished Height From Point: 13½ inches




Slip 2 stitches together knitwise with yarn in back, knit 1, pass the 2 slipped stitches over the knit stitch. [2 stitches decreased]

For more help with this technique, please visit our Slip Slip Knit Pass tutorial.


On the right side: Keeping yarn in back, slip next stitch purlwise from left needle to right needle. Bring yarn to front. Return slipped stitch to left needle. Bring yarn to back. Turn work so wrong side is facing you.

On the wrong side: Keeping yarn in front, slip next stitch purlwise from left needle to right needle. Bring yarn to back. Return slipped stitch to left needle. Bring yarn to front. Turn work so right side is facing you.

For a step-by-step video and photo tutorial of how to work this technique, including how to work wrapped stitches with their wraps, please visit our Short Rows: Wrap + Turn Tutorial tutorial.


Cast on 89 stitches. We used a basic Long Tail Cast On.

Place a marker and join for working in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches.

Set-up Round: Purl all stitches.

Round 1: K43, S2KP (see Notes, above), knit to end of round. (87 stitches)

Round 2: P42, S2KP, purl to end of round(85 stitches) 

Round 3: K41, S2KP, knit to end of round(83 stitches) 

Round 4: P40, S2KP, purl to end of round(81 stitches) 

The next section is worked back and forth in short rows, building from the point of the bandana to the back of the neck. You’ll be turning the work between each row instead of continuing around the needle. For a great Short Row Tutorial, click here!

Row 5: K42, wrap and turn. 

Row 6: P3, wrap and turn.

Row 7: Knit to the wrapped stitch, knit the wrapped stitch making sure to pick up the wrap, k1, wrap and turn.

Row 8: Purl to the wrapped stitch, purl the wrapped stitch making sure to pick up the wrap, p1, wrap and turn

Repeat Rows 7 and 8 eighteen more times. Don’t worry if you lose count; you’ll know you’re done when you wrap and turn the stitches right next to the marker!

You’ve finished the short rows! 

Next Round: With the knit side facing you, knit to the marker, making sure to pick up the wrapped stitch.

Continue with the knit side facing you, working again in the round. Knit 2 rounds, picking up the wrap of the first stitch.

Set-up Round: K18, place marker, k45, place marker, knit to end of round.

*Decrease Round: Knit to two stitches before the first marker, k2tog, slip marker, knit to the next marker, slip marker, ssk, knit to end of round. (2 stitches decreased)

Knit 3 rounds (or for 1/2 inch).

Repeat from * five more times. (69 stitches)

Next Round: Purl

Next Round: Knit

Repeat the last 2 rounds once more. 

Bind off very loosely in purl. (I like to go up several needle sizes to bind off. In this case, I bound off with a US #15 needle.)

Weave in your ends and block as desired. 

Enjoy your Bandana Cowl on all the brisk fall days to come! -Erin