Winter is Here – The Arya Cowl

Winters in the Pacific Northwest are relatively mild. We see far more rain than snow, but the temperatures do still drop below freezing on occasion. And I never seem to be ready for it.

Just last week, as it was snowing outside, I remembered that last year I told myself to buy or make more warm sweaters and pants. 

That didn’t happen.

Thankfully, I do have an abundance of scarves and this year I’ve added three more hand knit neck-warmers to my collection.

After more than a year of being on the needles, this lightweight wool infinity cowl is complete. The pattern designer named this cowl after Arya Stark of Game of Thrones, one of my favorite characters, but I’m not quite sure the significance of that name choice in relation to the pattern. The lace pattern does look like a pointed arrow, so maybe there is a “stick them with the pointy end” sword joke in there? Or maybe she just likes Arya.

I found the pattern when I was searching for my annual knitting project for the Game of Thrones seasons – something to hold my focus when people are being beheaded and brutalized.

Beyond the appropriate name, I liked the simple geometric lace pattern. It is not too busy, yet it still adds a great deal of depth and interest to the cowl. 

The wool is from my grandma’s stash. It is a fingering weight wool. I had about ten 50g skeins, and used about a 3rd of that. The wool is old and some sections were frayed, causing frustration early in the process to the point that I planned to frog it and throw out the yarn. 

But I never did. I forgot about the bin of craft supplies that were intended for goodwill, this knitting project stayed buried in the yarn drawer while I worked on a number of different sewing projects. I picked up the project again a month ago, with a fresh perspective and more patience. 

I love seeing a knitting pattern come together. After a couple repetitions of the pattern, I almost had the whole thing memorized and could knit this pretty quickly on the bus ride to work. I have worn it a couple times and am shocked at how warm such a delicate scarf is. On the first day of winter, I am cozy. 

New techniques I learned

Provisional Cast On (and picking up live stitches) – You might have noticed the purple edging in the WIP photos, this is my waste yarn for the provisional cast on. YouTube was very helpful. 

ssk – or slip one stitch as to knit, slip the next stitch as if to knit, then insert left needle in front of these 2 stitches and knit them together – I was familiar with k2tog (or knit two stitches together at once) and ssk is its mirror image.

Knitting a tube – I loved knowing that any pesky knot I had to make to repair the fraying yarn would be concealed on the inside of the tube scarf. 

Kitchener Stitch – this is how I brought the tube together into an infinity scarf. This seaming technique vanished into the cowl, um, seamlessly. Craftsy has a great tutorial. I was not sure how to weave the ends in on the right side of the cowl – I usually weave ends in on the wrong side as it is easier to follow the loops of each row. That said, I think i concealed it fairly well.

*I also learned that when working with old yarn, one should always roll the skein into a ball and check that there are no frayed or moth-eaten sections.

My knitting is at a level where I feel confident that I can get through nearly any pattern (as long as I have internet access), but I have trouble improvising, going rogue, or creating something from scratch. In this regard, I am a better seamstress. I understand the apparel construction process in sewing, whereas in knitting I really just understand how to do specific stitches, not the bigger picture.

I like pairing this delicate cowl with garments that are a little rugged, a little casual, a little industrial. It is also a nice accent for a more softer dresses and tops.  


Blocking this twisted cowl befuddled me at first. 

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3 thoughts on “Winter is Here – The Arya Cowl

  1. Very nice! I love a white/cream scarf – brightens up the face even on the greyest of days! 😉 And extra special to make it from your Grandma’s stash!

  2. It has been cold! Like you, I forgot how numb my fingers and toes get during winter and don’t have much warm clothing. Hence, I’m knitting some socks as I type… 🙂 Your cowl is a lovely way to stay warm!

  3. I find with knitting, “necessity is the mother..” of trying new techniques. Because I can rarely use the intended yarn for any given project, I often have to adjust things. After doing that by force often enough, it got easier to do it by choice. Also repetition helped me learn to create my own. I made the Fetchings pattern for fingerless mittens so many times that I stopped following the pattern and started making my own designs.

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