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My church often collects items on behalf of a neighboring church that runs a food pantry and thrift store, and we recently held our annual collection of coats and other winter apparel. Hubby and I had already donated all our unused winter items in previous years so I thought we wouldn’t have anything this year, until I remembered my leftover yarn.
I had odds and ends of Caron Cakes – which is 20% wool – in several colorways: Turkish Delight from my Easiest poncho pattern; Berries & Cream from my Self-striping granny square cocoon cardigan pattern; Mixed Berry from an early prototype of my Quick & easy shrug with ribbed cuffs pattern; White Truffle from an early prototype of my Cap-sleeved long cardigan pattern; and a lot of Blackberry Mousse from a cake I played around with but never actually used for anything. This gave me plenty of neutrals, brights and rich colors to mix, match and have fun with.
I wanted to produce as many winter items as possible in a short time span, and also to use up as much leftover yarn as possible. A scarf would accomplish the latter, but in the time I had I would only be able to produce one or two. Then I got the idea to work with two strands of yarn held together and a larger hook, making the stitches much bigger, and to crochet cowls, which are smaller than scarves.
Using this method, I found that I could complete a cowl in a single evening – it was a great way to feel productive while binge-watching TV with Hubby. I also discovered that whether I was using two strands from the same colorway, or deliberately mixing different but complimentary colors, the interplay of changing colors resulted in a lovely heathered effect.
In a couple of weeks I had produced five soft, thick, warm cowls, and my stash of Caron Cakes odds and ends was pretty much busted.
When I dropped off the cowls, the folks running the collection were thrilled. “Something handmade!”
Pattern: Stash-busting cowls
These cowls are worked in the round, using half-double crochet worked in back loop only for a ribbed effect. This simple pattern would be a great project for crochet beginners.
You will work with two strands of yarn held together and a size N hook, as shown in the photo below.
Since you’ll probably be working with small amounts of yarn of different lengths, you may come to the end of one strand before the other. Simply connect another strand of yarn to the one that’s ending and keep crocheting. The bulkiness of the stitch will disguise the connection points.
Some crochet techniques I found useful were:
- The Russian join to connect yarn smoothly and firmly without a knot.
- The invisible finish when crocheting in the round to finish the cowl smoothly.
- Optionally, instead of chaining to form a loop to start the cowl, you can use foundation stitches. I used foundation half-double crochet (fhdc).
If you’d like to learn any of these techniques, click the links above to go to my quick tutorials.
Materials you’ll need:
- 3 to 3.5 ounces Caron Cakes yarn (or the weight 4 yarn of your choice)
- Size N crochet hook
- Yarn needle
- Chain stitch (ch)
- Slip stitch (sl st)
- Half-double crochet (hdc)
Ch 49; join to 1st ch with sl st to form a loop.
Ch 2 (counts as first hdc); hdc in next 48 ch; join to top of ch-2 with sl st (49 st).
Ch 2 and turn (counts as first hdc); hdc in back loop only of next 48 st; join to top of ch-2 with sl st (49 st).
Repeat this round 10-12 times, until you have 11-13 rounds total (depending on yarn available and desired cowl size).
Finish off using the invisible finish when crocheting in the round. Weave in ends.
That’s all there is to it! I hope you find this pattern useful, and happy stash-busting!
If you use either of these patterns…
I would love to see any cowls made from this pattern! You can email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. (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.