Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
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Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

This pattern includes instructions to crochet this easy bandana cowl using either #4 or #5 weight yarns.

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I’ve recently posted patterns for a triangle shawl scarf in both a lightweight version and a heavier version, but I’ll let you in on a secret: while I absolutely love the look, I realized I don’t like to wear them myself, because I feel like they need to be adjusted all the time. I just don’t like accessories I have to fuss with – I want to be able to put them on and then forget about them while I go about my day.

That’s why I got excited the first time I saw a photo of a bandana cowl. That was the triangle scarf for me! However, the one pictured was done in a chunky granny stitch. It was lovely, but I wanted something different.

I looked at some patterns, but everything I saw either involved making the cowl and bandana separately and then stitching them together, or else the triangle was only in the front, and thus too narrow for my taste. Having just designed a poncho pattern that was crocheted top-down from the neckline, I didn’t see why the same thing couldn’t be done for a bandana cowl.

After a couple of false starts and some frogging, I figured out how to make exactly what I wanted. My version is worked in one piece, in the round, from the top of the cowl down to the bottom edge of the bandana. Like all my patterns so far, it uses only the most elementary of crochet stitches.

The cowl is basically a tube with a diameter slightly smaller than your head, so that it goes over your head with gentle stretching, and a length that allows it to drape around your neck in graceful folds.

Transitioning from the cowl portion to the bandana portion couldn’t be easier. Once you’ve completed the cowl, you simply continue working in the round, but add an increase at the midway point of each round – what will be the center front of your bandana cowl. This forms the point, and allows the front to widen into a triangle.

I provide instructions below to make this in both #4 and #5 weight yarns. For the #4 weight bandana cowl shown below, I used Caron Simply Soft Tweeds yarn in Off White.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

For the #5 weight bandana cowl shown below, I used Lion Brand Scarfie yarn in Oxford/Claret. It turned out wonderfully soft and warm.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

About the stitch

For both these bandana cowls, I opted not to use a pattern stitch but instead stuck with plain half-double crochet, which creates a subtle ribbed texture that showcases the unique colors and textures of each of these yarns. They also worked up super fast – I made both, start to finish, on the same day. However, the simplicity of the piece lends itself to experimenting with pattern stitches and colors, so play with it! Have fun! Personally, I plan to use up some of the remnants of my various Caron Cakes to make one in colorful stripes, and maybe throw in some bobbles.

About sizing

The patterns given here should fit most adults and older teens. If you need to adjust the size up or down, simply increase or decrease the number of stitches in increments of two, taking care to always start with an even number of stitches, counting the turning chain. If you wish to adjust the number of rows, to maintain the proportions I recommend adding or subtracting rows in twos, with one row being in the cowl portion and one in the bandana portion.

Yarns and individual tensions vary and the sizing does not need to be absolutely precise, but if you find the size you’re getting is very different from the finished sizes listed below for each pattern, try using a different size hook.

Also, remember that the cowl should go over the head with only gentle stretching, so if possible have the intended wearer try it on after you’ve completed the first few rounds to make sure it’s neither too loose nor too tight. This is especially important if you’re changing the number of stitches, for example, to make a child’s size.

Important notes

This garment is worked all in one piece, from the top of the cowl down to the bottom of the bandana.

Always start with an even number of stitches.

The turning chain always counts as one stitch in the round.

The increase at the point of the bandana portion is worked exactly opposite the turning chain in the loop. This puts the turning chain in the center back, where it’s least noticeable.

Pattern 1: Two-in-one bandana cowl, #4 weight yarn

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowlMaterials you’ll need:

  • 1 skein Caron Simply Soft Tweeds yarn, or 200 yards of a #4 weight yarn of your choice
  • Size I crochet hook (or the size that works with your yarn)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn needle
  • Stitch markers (optional; useful if working picots in border)

Stitches used:

  • Chain stitch (ch)
  • Slip stitch (sl st)
  • Double crochet (dc)
  • Single crochet (sc), or optionally foundation single crochet (fsc) as an alternative way to make your initial loop

Finished size:

The cowl portion should be close to 18″ in diameter and 6″ tall. The diameter of the bottom of the bandana should be about 34″, and the height of the overall piece should be about 11.5″, excluding picot border.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

Round 1: Form a loop of 50 sc. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Chaining/single crochet:
    Ch 50 and join with sl st to form loop (taking care not to twist the chain);
    ch 1, starting in next st work 49 sc, join with sl st in ch 1.
  • Foundation single crochet:
    Work 49 fsc, join with sl st in top of starting ch 2.

Note: Either method is fine for this project, but I personally prefer starting projects with foundation stitches whenever possible. If you’d like to learn how to do foundation stitches (it’s surprisingly easy), see my brief video tutorial.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
This is a starting loop of foundation single crochet. Once completed, it’s indistinguishable from a loop made by chaining and then working single crochet, but I find it quicker and easier.

Rounds 2-12 (cowl): ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in each st around, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (50 st).

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
This is the completed cowl portion. For both this pattern and the one below for #5 weight yarn, the cowl should be close to 6″ tall and 18″ in diameter.

Round 13 (transition to bandana): ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in next 24 st, (1 hdc, ch2, 1 hdc) in 25th st, work 1 hdc in next 24 st, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (51 st and 1 ch2 space).

Note: This is the only round in which the increase is (1 hdc, ch2, 1 hdc).

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
After round 13 is complete. Note the (1 hdc, ch2, 1 hdc) increase in the center front.

Round 14: ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in next 25 st, (2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc) in ch2 space, work 1 hdc in next 25 st, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (55 st and 1 ch2 space).

Note: In this and all following rounds, the increase is (2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc).

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
After round 14. From this tiny kernel, the bandana portion will grow wider with each successive row, until it encompasses the entire front of the piece.

Rounds 15-25: Continue as for round 14, always working (2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc) in the ch2 space. Note that the number of stitches in each round increases by 4 – 2 on each side of the point – so that in round 25 you will work 47 stitches on each side, for a total of 99 stitches when you count the increase and the turning chain.

Optional round 26 (sc border with picots): ch 1 and, without turning the work, work sc in each st around, with 3 sc in the ch2 space at the point; at each st where a picot is desired, sc, ch3 and then sl st in top front loop of same sc to form a picot, then continue with sc in next st.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
At each stitch where a picot is desired, work a single crochet and then chain 3…
Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
…then complete the picot by working a slip stitch in the top front loop of that same single crochet.

Note: You want your picots to be spaced out evenly from the front point of the bandana, so I recommend that before starting this round, you count back from the point on each side and mark where to place the picots.

Stitch markers are very useful for marking picots; you can also use bobby pins or safety pins.

Finishing:

For this piece, I opted to go back and work a border of sc around the top of the cowl to neaten it up. Like the picot border, this is entirely optional.

When completing the last round, and if adding a border to the top of the cowl, instead of joining to the turning chain in the regular way (which leaves an awkward knot), use the “invisible finish.” Here’s my quick tutorial video:

Weave in all ends.

Pattern 2: Two-in-one bandana cowl, #5 weight yarn

The basic concepts of this pattern are identical to those of the pattern above, except that you’re using a thicker yarn and a correspondingly larger hook. You still work the same number of rounds, but need fewer stitches in each round. Because of the heavier yarn and slightly chunkier look, I opted not to add any borders to this piece.

Note: Because this pattern is a variation of pattern 1, you can refer back to pattern 1 for most photo illustrations.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowlMaterials you’ll need:

  • 1 skein Lion Brand Scarfie yarn, or 200 yards of a #5 weight yarn of your choice
    Note: If using Scarfie, you should have about 2 oz left over from the skein – enough to make a matching beanie!
  • Size K crochet hook
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Yarn needle

Stitches used:

  • Chain stitch (ch)
  • Slip stitch (sl st)
  • Half-double crochet (hdc)
  • Optionally, foundation half-double crochet (fhdc) as an alternative way to make your initial loop

Finished size:

Because #5 weight yarn is a little thicker, the overall size will be a little bigger. The cowl portion should still be close to 18″ in diameter and 6″ tall, but the diameter of the bottom of the bandana should be about 38″, and the height of the whole piece should be about 12″.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

Round 1: Form a loop of 46 hdc. You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Chaining/single crochet:
    Ch 46 and join with sl st to form loop (taking care not to twist the chain);
    ch 2, starting in next st work 45 hdc, join with sl st in top of ch 2.
  • Foundation half-double crochet:
    Work 45 fhdc, join with sl st in top of starting ch 2.

Rounds 2-12 (cowl): ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in each st around, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (46 st).

Round 13 (transition to bandana): ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in next 22 st, (1 hdc, ch2, 1 hdc) in 23rd st, work 1 hdc in next 22 st, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (47 st and 1 ch2 space).

Note: This is the only round in which the increase is 1 hdc, ch2, 1 hdc.

Round 14: ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in next 23 st, (2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc) in ch2 space, work 1 hdc in next 23 st, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (51 st and 1 ch2 space).

Note: In this and all following rounds, the increase is 2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc.

Rounds 15-24: Continue as for round 14, always working (2 hdc, ch2, 2 hdc) in the ch2 space. Note that the number of stitches in each round increases by 4 – 2 on each side of the point – so that in round 24 you will work 43 stitches on each side, for a total of 91 stitches when you count the increase and the turning chain.

Round 25: ch2 and turn, work 1 hdc in next 45 st, work 5 hdc in ch2 space (thereby closing up ch2 space), work 1 hdc in next 45 st, join with sl st top top of ch 2 (96 st).

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl
Because I didn’t add a border to this version, on the 25th and final row I worked 5 half-double crochet in the chain 2 space, to close it up for a more finished look.

Finishing:

Weave in ends.

If you use either of these patterns…

I would love to see any bandana cowls made from this pattern! You can email photos to spoonsandhooks@gmail.com. (Note: I’ll assume that sending me photos gives me permission to share them on the Spoons & Hooks site and social media — crediting you, of course — unless you specifically instruct me otherwise.)

Do you have any questions about this pattern? If so, ask them in the comments section, and I’ll do my best to respond promptly.

You are free to gift, donate or sell for profit any items you make from this pattern. I ask only that if you sell items made from any of my patterns, as a courtesy you reference spoonsandhooks.com as the pattern’s source.

Free crochet pattern: Two-in-one bandana cowl

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