Mistake Rib Cowl

Cowls are stylish and warm but do not take as much time or yarn to make as a scarf.  This cowl, suitable for beginner through advanced knitters, is knit flat, making it a great way to use up every inch of a precious yarn, such as handspun.  A cowl also places your special yarn near your face where you can enjoy it and show it off all day long.  Mistake rib is a dense, textural stitch pattern that is easy to execute but interesting to knit and will mask inconsistencies in spinning or dyeing.


SKILL LEVEL: Beginner through advanced



Width: 5 inch (7 inch)

Length: Customizable before sewing the ends together:

An 18 inch cowl will fit closely around the neck;

A 30 inch cowl will drape along the collar bone;

A 50 inch cowl will loop once around the neck.




18” length: 100 yards bulky or super bulky weight (100 g/3.5 oz)

30” length: 150 yards bulky or super bulky weight (150 g/5.3 oz)

50” length: 200 yards bulky or super bulky weight (200 g/7 oz)

Needles & Notions:

US 10.5 (6.5 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge

Tapestry needle


GAUGE: 3 sts and 4.5 rows = 1” in mistake rib

PATTERN NOTES: A cowl is perfect for kids who have trouble keeping their scarves on. If you would like to make this cowl for a child, knit the small size (5”) to a length of 18 inches. Not suitable for children under the age of 5.



CO 19 (31) sts

Work in Mistake Rib, as follows:

Sl1, K1, P2, *K2, P2, rep from * to last 3 sts, K3

Repeat pattern on every row until you reach desired length.

BO all sts in pattern.

Sew two ends together to make a circle.

Moebius Version: Knit per the basic directions through the bind off.  When you are ready to sew the ends together, lay the cowl out flat, twist it once, then sew the two ends together.  The twist in the moebius will help the cowl bulk up around your neck.


FINISHING: Weave in ends using tapestry needle.


Many thanks to the test knitters: Dennay Bedard, Abbey Buckley, Alison Denomme, Charlotte Mayhew, and Terry Ullmann!


Copyright © 2011 by Carol Ullmann for Entangled Designs.

This pattern is intended for private, non-commercial use only. It is expressly forbidden to sell or distribute the pattern, its photographs, or items made from this pattern without the written consent of the designer.

18 Replies to “Mistake Rib Cowl”

  1. I just came across this cowl pattern, and have gone out to buy my yarn, Gonna start knitting tonite really looking forward to this, thanks for the pattern.

    1. Thanks, Charlotte! You can print it using your Internet browser (for example, Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox). Up at the top of the screen there should be a File menu. Click on that, choose Print, and go to town.

  2. Could I make this a hooded cowl by making it wider in a worsted. I’m 68 been knitting about 60 years and I’m just not sure. I’ve looked all over and can’t work in the round. Please help. Diane

    1. Diane, yes, you can substitute a lighter weight yarn. You are the second person to ask me this question about this pattern today — what a coincidence! You will need to double the number of stitches to get a similar width (5″ or 7″). To get the mistake rib pattern to work if you alter the number of cast on stitches, a good rule of thumb is to pick a number divisible by four and add one. That accounts for the 2×2 rib and the plus one makes it a mistake rib. So doubling my pattern CO for worsted weight yarn would be 37 or 61. I haven’t tested those numbers, so no guarantee, but you could use that as a starting point. Good luck and keep warm this winter!

  3. I started this pattern last night with a super bulky yarn I bought on a whim (on sale and it was pretty) when I have never done a project with bulky yarn before. I am loving how it is turning out! I have bought 4 skeins of the yarn and I can’t wait to use this pattern to make 4 cowls. I was planning to using all of them as gifts, but I think I HAVE to keep one for myself! 🙂 Thanks!

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