The NAMU cable cowl is such a lovely pattern, and yes folks, it’s FREE! The directions are well-written, and there is also a chart. Designer Knitboop has graciously given the knitting world this interesting project, which can be knit up quite quickly.
Get the NAMU pattern at Ravelry
Tips For Knitting NAMU
Namu is Korean for “tree” and Knitboop goes on to include more info and even a poem on the last page of the download.
The short version of the cowl is small and will fit snuggly around the neck, but it can be knit longer with the correct pattern repeats. I chose to use my new skeins of Anzula For Better or Worsted yarn in “Rootbeer” (Find Anzula yarn at Jimmy Beans or Webs). Choose a soft yarn for this type of garment which will be close to the skin.
The pattern is easy to follow, but a beginner may find it difficult. You must cable and know how to do Yarn Overs with knits and purls.
After knitting the ribbing I noticed some pooling of color, which is difficult to see in my photo below, so I began alternating skeins for the cables. I may use one skein for the next repeat of the pattern just to see how it looks.
I snapped this photo below once I finished the first cable repeat of 23 rows. I will do these rows once more to finish the cowl, so I’m halfway there!
I wanted to mention the pooling of color, which you can see once again as I dropped one ball of yarn to finish off the top portion of the cowl. There was some striping there as compared to the center cable portion of the cowl.
Now about the bind off. It calls for a stretchy bind off which makes sense because it will be pulled over your head. I began with Jeny’s stretchy bind off and it was looking too floppy. So I did regular bind off stitches between Jeny’s. Jeny’s is basically done by adding a yarn-over making 2 stitches to bind off. I used it on the Polliwog Popover for the first time. It still ended up being too wide but wearing that top bind off at the bottom of the cowl – around the neck / shoulder area works well.
I’m actually wearing the cowl upside down, but it really doesn’t matter with this pattern.
Anzula and Other Soft Cowl Yarn Ideas
I used Anzula, but there are other soft yarns to consider when cowl knitting. Here are a few I have used or have researched for softness. Some can be machine washed, but why would you? Cowls are small, and can easily be hand-washed and dried flat.
For such a pretty cable pattern, use a slightly variegated yarn, solid color or ombre color yarn. Too many color variations would take away from the cabling. Also a lighter color will help show off the pattern.
Yardage needed is 220 yards in Worsted Weight yarn. You will need more if you make the longer version.
- Madeline Tosh “Vintage” – this link goes to Wool and Company, who ships for free (US only) and will wind skeins at no charge!
- Malabrigo Yarn (Rios, or any worsted weight)
- Shibui Drift I haven’t used this yarn, but comments at Ravelry say it is super soft (has some cashmere), but pills – which shouldn’t be a problem for a cowl.
- Mrs. Crosby Steamer Trunk -lots of colors to choose from, but you’ll need 2 skeins.
The Anzula is so soft and I love this golden-bronze color. I fell in love with Anzula yarn when I knit the Quince Wrap and used gray Anzula (fingering weight) for the edges. I bought it on a whim when the Four Purls yarn truck came to town. Anzula offers a wide array of yarn types.
When I found this Rootbeer color on sale, I snatched it up. I was finishing up a hat in gray with brown specks so I decided to add a matching bronze-brown star to the top.
Read how I made this hat here.