The Easy Luxury of the Breton Cowl

What are your tips and tricks on this pattern? How’s the welt working for you?


For those looking for a little visual guidance on the welt-flapping procedure, here’s a reenactment that I did on MDK.

Let me know how it goes for you.


Breton Cowl goes well, and photos cannot capture the absolute beautiful luxury of the Shibui Drift.

My mohair behaved quite a bit better after I put it in a ziploc baggie to keep it from tangling while not in use. For the welts, I just knit into the row right above the little dotted line that Kay mentioned. It worked well, and even though I got off track a time or two, it was easy enough to correct. Or not.

Pattern isn’t exactly clear on whether to cut the mohair when not in use. In one place it says to keep it attached, and in another it says to cut. I left it attached.

I expect this cowl will be well-worn!


Loving this project! It was terrific airplane knitting (I put the yarn in little ziploc bags with a corner cut off to protect it from airplane schmutz). I’m using Kay’s brilliant method for the welts.

Now that I’m back home I am torn between the yummy cowl and an equally delectable Relax.


I just wound the first skein for my next Relax…need to weave in ends on just-finished cowl (Hap Cowl) first, but I’m tempted.

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Has anybody turned this into a skirt yet? Please?


My welt is large and somewhat flabby, unlike the pattern photos. Seven rows, using Kay’s method of picking up stitches. Should I frog? Go down a needle size for the welt?

Yes I could use a cashmere/silk/mohair cover for my tuchus right now JM!

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I’m not sure you need to frog. Get a little further into the next garter section before you decide. The welt kind of gets schootched into there and doesn’t look so flappy. Your picture doesn’t look any different from what I saw when mine was on the needles.

Steady on!

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I cut and wove and am a happier person for it. I didn’t like the idea of a line of yarn up the back of the cowl.

My first welt was also a bit floppy. When I looked carefully, I saw that this was because the stitches in the attaching row were loose. After i knit for a while the first welt started to look just fine, and for subsequent welts I tried to tighten up while knitting the stitches in the attaching row. It’s a lot to keep in mind-- find the right stitch, find the right row, knit with the right tension. Luckily, you only need to knit this row 4 times, and the results are so worth it…

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Thanks so much, Kay, for the advice. I will carry on.

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Thanks so much. Very helpful!

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I just shared the term “knitting reenactment” with my DH who chuckled a bit but I think he was laughing at me instead of with me, as in “you are crazy to think that is funny”…he’s not a knitter, but is knit-worthy, usually.


I was well pleased with myself when I wrote that, harrumph!


I so want to knit one of these. I’m knitting the “Rise” cowl in Drift and it is delicious yarn. However, having finally faced the near-hoarder status of my WIPs and stash (way, way beyond SABLE) I have a new rule that I have to finish 3 of one type of thing before I can purchase another of that type of thing. The Breton Cowl is a great motivator!

What a fun knit, but of course I love everything Antonia Shankland designs! This was my first welt where you pick up stitches below. I found it very helpful to use a dpn to pick up about 10 stitches at a time below, then knit them together. I may just have to knit another one!


I read this as “wet-flapping” and thought you had invented a bold new way to avoid blocking! The time between ordering reading glasses and actually having them on your face is a whacky-fun time!


I do this all the time Quinn (and I do have glasses on my face at all times), and I marvel at how the brain always tries to make sense out of these misreadings. Sometimes they’re quite brilliant, unintentional poetry.

Wet-flapping is what hens do in the rain?


My first welt was loose, too. But Welt No. 2 was when I found religion on how to pick up the welt-making stitches that happen in Row 7 of the Silk Cloud. I’m kind of stoked about this, and if I get organized, I’ll make a video.

Here’s what I did:

The problem for me with Welt No. 1 was that I was looking over at the wrong side of the work to find and pick up the correct purl bump. I had no way of being sure that the stitch I was picking up was in fact the correct stitch, six rows directly under the stitch on my needle that it would be knitted with. If you pick up the wrong stitch, you can end up with a slanted welt. OH MAH GAH THE HORROR.

My solution: stop looking at the wrong side of my cowl to pick up that stitch. Instead, I keep right side facing. I look at the stitch on the left needle, eyeball down six rows, then—without looking at the wrong side—I stick my right needle from the wrong side into that stitch six rows down. I catch the top of that stitch with my right needle, pulling it back and upward, and place it on the left needle. Then I knit the two stitches together.

With this method, I can confirm that I’ve got the correct stitch picked out before I knit anything. And it’s faster for me, too. Maybe you guys are already doing this. But I was so happy to not be looking at the wrong side anymore.