Cowl Beach, An Oversized Cowl, Inspired By The Soupy Fog And Crashing Waves Of Cowell Beach In Santa Cruz

The pattern is for sale for $4.00 (USD) on
The pattern is also for sale for $4.20 (USD) on

Believe it or not, developing this pattern took the better part of a year. I started on it when I was pregnant, and in the “no-knit-zone” meaning that every time I would sit down to knit, I would feel sick, give up, and start watching something like the Vampire Diaries to otherwise keep myself entertained. Inspired by one of my favorite places, I started off with the basic texture, which resembles the crashing waves of Cowell Beach in Santa Cruz, where I grew up. Ramon and I have taken, and will take many more walks along the paved 34 mile trail between the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz and Natural Bridges. Cowell Beach is the beautiful beach just below the cliffs, just north of the lighthouse. When I was a teenager I tried to learn to surf here. The day after Ramon and I got married, we took a 2 mile walk, enjoying our entire stroll between bursts of rain. Just after our little Buckaroo was born, one of his first outings was also for a walk along this famed point. Born in June, we needed to escape to the cool summer fog of Santa Cruz from the blistering heat of our home. A surfer walked by us with his board and said, “Congratulations on your new baby.” I thought it was very sweet that this fellow even noticed our little sleepy-head.

The basic texture was a little tricky to learn. I started off with two repeating rows, but all of the “waves” came out stacked one directly on top of the next. The fabric felt like it had holes, and it didn’t resemble the crashing waves which inspired me. So next I figured out how to stack the waves, to make them crashing. Countless gauge swatches.

Once I figured that out, then I had to find just the right yarn for the project. It turns out that the yarn that I thought was perfect, wasn’t. I started this project 4 times with my first yarn choice, and even made it through 206 yards of it before realizing that it just didn’t feel right. Months passed, and then I found the perfect color and the perfect weight, Spud & Chloë Sweater in Beluga, a beautiful silvery grey. After acquiring 5 hanks (I estimated 4, but would hate to run out) I knit up the entire cowl just after the baby was born. When I was done I was happy, until I looked at the seam, or the join.

Because this cowl is worked in the round, and with a textured stitch there were big, big holes where the seam was. I knew that I couldn’t publish the pattern as it was. The seam/join haunted me, and it needed to be fixed.

It is painful to frog that much work, but as I have said to my mother many times, I have never regretted frogging something to fix it. I always learn something. I frogged the entire 4 hanks, and started over.

After a lot of trial and error, I developed my own technique for making this piece truly seamless, without any noticeable difference in the texture in the seam/join. The beauty in this pattern is not only the crashing cool grey waves, gracefully double looped around the neck, but in the seamless repetition of those waves. Finally I felt that the pattern had integrity, and was of true quality; something I can publish.

While this pattern took so long to develop it was worth all of the effort, as this is now one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and it is truly a go-to. Every time I wear it I receive compliments, even more meaningful after spending so many months getting this pattern just right.

A special thank you to Blue Sky Alpacas. I love, love, love this yarn, super soft, durable, great colors, and it is unbelievably machine washable, perfect when you have a little Buckaroo, like I do.

I have included photo tutorials in my pattern for how to create the waves, and how to make the piece with an invisible seam/join.

The pattern is for sale for $4.00 (USD) on
The pattern is also for sale for $4.20 (USD) on

©2012 Julie LeFrancois. All Rights Reserved.
Please respect copyright law and Do Not Reproduce in any form. Duplication & distribution of this pattern in any form without express permission of the author is a violation of copyright law: You may not make multiple copies of this pattern, reformat it for commercial use or resale, or sell items made from this pattern. Your respect for copyright law allows me to keep bringing you new and interesting designs. Write with feedback or errata via my contact page.


3 thoughts on “Cowl Beach, An Oversized Cowl, Inspired By The Soupy Fog And Crashing Waves Of Cowell Beach In Santa Cruz

  1. The cowl is lovely. Your story is sweet, inspirational, and honest. Often the simplest of designs are the ones we struggle with the most. Your design is thought out, and it shows.


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