brightly coloured stranded colourwork cowl


A new shop sample to show what you can make with Wee County Yarn's Pic & Mix Cowl kit. Each kit contains 15 MiniBalls of Scottish yarn spun in Scotland by JC Rennie.

There are 6 shade collections to choose from. Each shade collection has a range of lights and darks and  printed pattern for a simple stranded colourwork motif that you repeat over and over again. 

I've made our shop one using the Brights box.


 Pic & Mix Cowl kit in Brights


Although it's the same motif over and over its always different as you get to choose the colours and how to use them. The pattern gives you ideas on how to place the colours but really it's up to you.

I did different colour combos:

  • one foreground colour and one background colour
  • one foreground colour and two background colours
  • two foreground colours and two background colours
  • two foreground colours and three background colours

This cowl is knitted in the round which means the right side is always facing you and you don't need to purl, making the stranded colourwork easier.


brightly coloured stranded colourwork tube


    As you are knitting a tube all the ends are hidden inside so there's no need to weave your ends in. Just tie the ends together and trim. I did have a couple of wonky stitches at the beginning so I used the ends to neaten them before tying a knot.

    To make a cowl you join the cast on and cast off ends together.

    There are different ways to do this. The pattern suggests a provisional cast on which will keep the cast on stitches 'live' so you can graft it to the live stitches on your needle at the end. You can see this in action on our Moonwake cowl. 

    I did not do a provisional cast on with this cowl. The thought of grafting over 100 tiny stitches (its 4ply) of a sticky woolly wool did not appeal to me. So I just cast on and cast off as normal then used mattress stitch to join the ends.

    If you do this then I would recommend using a light/bright colour for the first and last sections so you can see the stitches more easily and knit an extra round after casting on and before casting off to give a plain section to sew up. I also carefully tightened my stitches as I went, the MiniBall yarn can snap if you pull too tightly.


    One thing you MUST do is wash your cowl after you've knitted it and joined the edges.

    Wee County Yarn MiniBalls use unscoured wool which means anything you make with it needs a bit of extra washing to clean it, add softness and bloom.


    cowl in washing bowl

    The first stage is hot water and washing liquid. The second I did with Eucalan wool wash.

    The difference in softness and stitch definition is amazing!

    There’s detailed washing instructions included with the kit to make your cowl look it’s absolute best.

    Some before and after photos.👇


    before and after washing

    before and after washing

    before and after washing


    There are 6 Pic & Mix colour ways to choose from. Each box has 15 Miniballs from Wee County Yarns and a printed pattern for Clare Hutchinson’s Pic & Mix Cowl where you pick how you want to use the colours. All you need to add is a 3.25mm 40cm long circular needle (or however you like to knit in the round).

    These kits are lots of fun and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. You could even throw in some simple striped rows if you wanted a super easy section.

    The pattern has ideas and tips on how to combine colours but you're free to experiment however you like. 

    Don't worry about making the 'wrong' choice. There's so much going on that any colours you ultimately find jarring together, or any mistakes you make in the pattern, will be hidden in the magnificence of it all.

    They are great for a beginner colourworker. Although not the simplest motif you are repeating it over and over so it does become very familiar. It's a great opportunity to try out different techniques.

    These online tutorials may be helpful.



    I have 60g of yarn leftover from my kit which is plenty for a pair of stripey fingerless mitts... or you could make your cowl even longer by making more repeats of the motif.

    And, lovely as the cowl is, you could use the yarn for an entirely different project.

    Although the kit does just come with the cowl pattern, each MiniBall has roughly 50m of yarn. 15 balls gives you 675m of 4ply which will make you a decent scarf/shawl, three beanie hats or a baby jumper or you could buy several boxes for a adult slipover. 


    brightly coloured stranded colourwork cowl

    Fiona Wright
    Tagged: colourwork neck

    make your own Pic & Mix Cowl

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    What do you think of our Pic & Mix Cowl. Will you make one?

    Let us know if you need any more info.👇