The original linen stitch cowl has always been one of my favourite designs. I love the very different front and back of the work – either could easily be in the right side. In a double length cowl which twists round your neck both sides can be seen.

linen stitch coel knitted in rainbow mini skeins and silver contrast shown flat on a black background

Although it’s knitted this design looks more like weaving. That’s achieved very simply. Every alternate stitch is slipped with the yarn at the front of the work. So this is far from a quick knit. It’s worth it though, and I’ve found it very soothing to pick this up over the last couple of weeks.

close up of texture of linen stitch cown showing bands of silverstitches and rainbow stripes

close up of side two of the linen stitch cowl showing bands of silver and mini skein colours.

The original pattern calls for a set of 12 x 10 gram mini skeins and a 100 gram skein of Britsock. Alternating colours on each round the original design has you work a set number of rounds in colour 1 before moving to colour 2.

Doing that meant a fair bit of leftover yarn – especially when you factor in the extra yarn that it’s traditional to allow in patterns in case someone’s tension is a little off.

set of rainbow mini skeins and a large skein of silver yarn on top of a linen stitch cowl.

For the reworked version I wanted to use a set of eight mini skeins and not 12. If you wanted to make this with leftovers that would work too – you’ll need around 320 meters of 4ply yarn.

As there are 400 meters of yarn in each skein of Britsock I cast on and worked 10 rounds in that colour before starting to alternate it with rounds from the mini skeins. I didn’t worry about where the start of rounds fell – instead as one mini skein finished I joined the next one in.

The only time I worried about stopping at the end of a round was with the last mini skein – and that’s because I wanted to be in the right place to pick up the main skein again.

I had enough yarn left to work another 10 rounds from the main skein and cast off – but if you were a round short it wouldn’t matter at all.

This is a great pattern for using up scraps of yarn – but if you’d like everything in one easy kit you can choose a set of mini skeins and silver or coal contrast here.