How to Knit a Chunky Cowl Scarf

Cowls are a perfect cold weather accessory. They're not only adorable, but they also keep you nice and toasty on blustery days. Let's get knitting!

What You'll Be Creating

Cowls are a perfect cold weather accessory. They're not only adorable, but they also keep you nice and toasty on blustery days. With all of the cowls I've owned, I've found that my favorites are the ones that come with a fair amount of versatility. I like to be able to wear them loose during the slightly warmer winter afternoons, but I want to be able to change things up and pull my cowl close to me as the sun sets and the temperatures drop.

So, I designed this chunky two-toned colour-blocked cowl to do just that. Sound like something you would enjoy wearing or making? Let's get knitting!


  • Two pairs of 9mm circular knitting needles (US size 13)
  • Two skeins of bulky yarn in complementary shades (I used Lion Brand's Jiffy yarn in 'Apple Green' and 'Avocado')
  • Scissors

1. Cast On

This project is going to be knitted flat, but will be turned into a tube at the end by combining a provisional cast-on with a three needle bind off. So, the first step in the project will be to complete a provisional cast-on.


Many times, provisional cast-ons are done using a piece of scrap yarn. However, because we will be doing a three needle bind off at the end of the project, we are going to use the cable of a set of circular needles instead of a piece of scrap yarn.

Check out this video to learn how to do a provisional cast-on with the cable of a set of circular needles:

2. Work Row One

Now that you've casted on, you can start working in the pattern. The pattern for this scarf is extremely simple, in that it stays the same on every row. However, one important thing to keep in mind when you come to the end of row one is that the last stitch on your left-hand needle is actually your slip knot, which you should take out instead of knitting.

Take a look at this video to learn how to work row one:

The pattern you will be using is as follows:

Row 1: Purl, (*Yarn over, Purl two together*), Repeat ** until you have reached the last stitch, Purl the last stitch.

Row 2 and all following rows: Same as row one.

After 100 rows, change colours and continue to knit 100 more rows in your new colour with the same pattern that you used for row one.

After knitting 200 rows in this pattern, bind off using the three needle bind off technique.

3. Work Row Two

At the beginning of row two, you will notice that both your tail and working yarn will be pretty loose, so make sure to hold them tight while you work your first few stitches. Also, remember that your first stitch will be a purl, so you need to bring your working yarn around to the front of your work before you begin knitting.

The following video will help you work your second row of knitting:

4. Work Row Three and Continue Knitting

Now that you've completed the first two rows of this project, you have no more loose tails or slip knots to worry about, so you can just proceed with knitting in the pattern until you have completed a total of 100 rows in your first yarn colour.

5. Change Colours and Continue Knitting

There are many different ways to change colours while you knit. For this scarf, I like to use one that doesn't require much (if any) end weaving after the fact. My reasoning is that because the scarf is an open knit, it can be difficult to hide weaved in-ends in it.

The method I use requires you to lay out your old yarn and your new yarn, and then use your new yarn to tie a knot around your old yarn. After this, you use your old yarn to tie a knot around your new yarn. Then, you pull on the ends of both the new and old yarn, bringing the two knots together. At this point, you've created an extra-strong double knot, and you can clip off the extra tails at the end.


Once you've successfully changed colours, you can continue to knit in the pattern as normal, until you've completed 100 rows in your new colour.

6. Bind Off

Once you've finished knitting 200 rows (100 in your first colour and another 100 in your second colour) it is time to bind off. If you remember, at the start of this tutorial I told you that we would be finishing with a three needle bind off in order to bring the cowl together and form a tube. A three needle bind off is very similar to a normal bind off, except you hold two needles in your left hand at once. You then use a third needle to knit the stitches off of those two left hand needles.

Check out this video for a three needle bind off demonstration:

To do this, grab your needle that has the working yarn hanging off it and put it in your left hand. Now, also with your left hand, grab the corresponding needle from your cast-on edge. With a third needle in your right hand, go into the first stitch on both of your left-hand needles as if to knit. Then, wrap the working yarn around your right-hand needle, and knit both of these stitches together at once. Slip the old stitches off your left-hand needles and continue until you have two stitches on your right-hand needle.


When you have two stitches on your right-hand needle, slip the back one over the front one and off the needle. Continue knitting and slipping stitches off the right-hand needle in this same manner, all the way down the row.


After you've slipped the last stitch off your right-hand needle, cut a 15.25cm (6in) tail, pull it through the last stitch, and tighten the knot.

7. Weave In and Trim Ends

You've now completed a chunky two-tone colour-blocked cowl! All that's left is to weave in and/or trim any free yarn ends that may be remaining in your work. Then get out there and show off your stunning new cold weather accessory!


How Do You Like Your Cowls?

This cowl scarf can be worn super loose, wrapped twice for a more layered look, or wrapped around your neck up to three times if you're feeling extra chilly.


How do you prefer to wear yours? Let us know in the comment section below.