Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

I came to the surprising realization last winter that I am someone who prefers a cowl to a scarf. Perhaps it’s because I live in a drafty old house and always want something toasty around my neck, something that stays put, something chic and easy, something that doesn’t find its way into the soup I’m making or the dog food I’m pouring!

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

So I decided to make a cowl that is as simple to knit as it is to wear. I love the idea of a vertically ribbed cowl that gently hugs your neck like your favorite turtleneck sweater. However, one thing I definitely didn’t want was a whiplash collar, so this cowl is knit in a relaxed gauge that creates soft, billowing ripples. With a very loose bind off, it subtly widens at the bottom for an easy and totally comfy fit. Beginners will love the do-able challenge, and old pros will appreciate the late-night-movie no-brainer!

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

The simplicity of this pattern serves as a great platform for gorgeous yarn. I spent a lot of time talking through the options with all of our wonderful knitters at Purl Soho. Yarn aficionado, Faye, suggested one of our all time favorites, Blue Sky’s Suri Merino. With its wonderful drape, soft halo and palette of lovely vintage colors, everything about Suri Merino is perfect for this Lovely Ribbed Cowl! Be cozy! -Page

Update: September 2013

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

Here’s another idea! Try the Lovely Ribbed Cowl in Purl Soho’s very own Worsted Twist, a gorgeous 100% merino wool that knits up with crisp definition and classic simplicity. Plus, it’s incredibly soft and cozy, just what you need in a cold autumn breeze!

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

Pick up two skeins of Worsted Twist right here, and use the same easy-as-pie pattern as the original Suri Merino version!

Update: February 2018

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

This Cowl’s newest sibling, our Lovely Ribbed Scarf, is also a 2 x 2 rib, and so, you see, that to us, the simplicity is the beauty. There are no quirks or genius behind these patterns, nor video tutorial for clarifying the instructions. And that ease is why we also chose this pattern to be the first to represent our brand new Good Wool.

Update: March 2018

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

Lovely Ribbed Hat to match! Our Hat retains the soul of the ones worn on docks and decks since who-knows-when, but it has certainly dispensed with the itch. Knit up in our incredibly soft Season Alpaca, this simple hat is sumptuous and warm and wonderful on the head!


Suri Merino Version

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho

Worsted Twist Version

Lovely Ribbed Cowl | Purl Soho


8 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in 2 x 2 rib (unstretched)


16 inches high and 18 inches in circumference (unstretched)


With the smaller circular needle, cast on 156 stitches.

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

Round 1: *K2, p2, repeat from * to end of round.

Repeat Round 1 until piece measures 16 inches from the cast on edge.

Using the larger needle, bind off loosley in rib pattern. (Using a bigger needle for the bind off causes that edge to flare out slightly, giving your cowl some pretty, subtle shaping. Make sure to wear your cowl with the bind off edge at the bottom and the cast on edge at the top.)

Weave in the ends and you’re done!