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Learn a Stitch, Make a Fair Isle Crochet Cowl

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Welcome to the tenth entry in our ongoing series Learn a Stitch, Make a Cowl! Each month in 2015 we will teach you a new crochet or knit stitch. You can then use the stitch when you make the featured cowl. This month our stitch is Fair Isle crochet, and the cowl is the Fair Isle Crochet Cowl in Soft. Use the hashtag #learnstitches to talk about the series.

Download the Fair Isle Crochet Cowl!

LW4757 Fair Isle Crochet Cowl


The cowl is worked in rounds, but for the tutorial we worked in rows always starting from the same side. The swatch in the tutorial has many more ends than the actual cowl will, so you can disregard them.

General Notes

  • This picture tutorial is meant to be done along with the pattern. It is not a substitute for the pattern.
  • The cowl has four colors, but each round has only one or two colors. You can ignore the colors you're not using.
  • It is normal for the yarn between the project and the balls to twist around the other colors when you're working this cowl. You can simply pause in your crocheting and untwist them.
  • After the first round , you'll work each single crochet into just the back loops.


To start, chain 80 or 100, depending on the size you are making, then slip stitch in the first chain to form a ring. Work single crochet (sc) in each chain, then slip stitch to join again. You'll have 80 or 100 single crochets.

Now on Round 2, we'll start following the chart.

Hints on using a chart

  • On the chart, each square is one single crochet stitch.
  • Since we're working in the round, always read the chart from right to left, just like you crochet.
  • The color of the square is the color of the yarn you'll use. If you decide to change colors -- which is completely fine -- you may find it helpful to cross out the color names in the key and substitute your own. For example, in this tutorial we would have kept Wheat and crossed out Deep Sea and replaced it with Lilac.
  • You may find it helpful to use a sticky note to cover up the rows you've already worked. In this picture, the sticky note is covering up Round 1, since we've already stitched it.
  • The chart has a 20-stitch repeat. Once you reach the end of the row you're on, go back to the start and repeat that row 3 more times if you're making the 80-stitch cowl and 4 more times if you're making the 100-stitch cowl.

Looking at the chart, we can see that Round 2 starts with 3 stitches of Wheat. Work first 2 steps of the thrid stitch: yarn over, pull through the two loops on the hook. Then we'll change colors in the last using the new color to finish the single crochet (Lilac used in our swatch). You can see how changing the color on the last step provides a neat color change. You'll need to change the color on the last step for every color change.


When you change to a different color, drop the color you used before -- don't fasten off. You'll be picking it up again soon.

Here's the second stitch in Lilac, ready for the last step and the color change. We'll be picking up the Wheat again.lways pick up the new color from underneath the current color, as shown. Always picking up the new color from underneath the current color will twist the colors together and prevent holes.


Continue following the chart for Round 2. When you reach the end of the row, go back to the beginning and repeat. Since we're just doing a swatch, we only worked the chart once. Here is what one repeat of the chart for Rounds 1 and 2 looks like from the right side.


If you turn it over on the wrong side, you can see the ""floats"" between color changes. You will want to make sure that you carry the yarn loosely along the wrong side, so that it doesn't pull in.


After you've completed Round 2, go to Round 3 and follow the chart. If you're using a sticky note to help keep your place, move it up so row 3 is the lowest row showing.


When you're working this round, continue working into the back loops only of the stitches.s you work, also work around the floats on the wrong side. By working around the floats you will keep everything neat and make the cowl sturdier. When you've finished this round , the floats from Round 3 will still be visible, but the ones from Round 2 will no longer be visible.


Round 4 is done the same way as Round 3, only following Round 4 on the chart. You can see the completed pattern from this section now.


And again, on the wrong side only the latest floats will be visible.


For Round 5, you will only work one color all the way around.


You'll cover the floats, and not make any more.


Continue following the chart in this same manner until you have worked all the rounds.fter you finish Round 32, repeat Rounds 1-5 once more to create the other border round, then fasten off all of the colors and weave in the ends.