Although a cowl in ye olde times would be a slouchy hooded cape, in the knitting world it has come to mean something more like a circular scarf or neck warmer. Usually a knitted tube that sits around your neck, or a rectangle that buttons at the neck.
A taller cowl can be worn as a hood, and a longer cowl can be wrapped more than once around the neck. Sometimes called a snood if it can be worn as a hood. Also called an infinity scarf if it’s long enough to wrap.
A cowl is a great knitting project; it is small, so doesn’t take long or use much yarn. It is one size fits all, making it a good one to knit for other people. It can be unisex, so once you’ve added cowls to your knitting repertoire, you’ve got something for him and for her. And another great thing about knitting cowls is the selection of cowl knitting patterns available, many of them free.
A cowl is also a great project for the beginner knitter who wants to learn how to knit in the round.
Where to find free knitting patterns for cowls?
Knitty. Knitty is a great site. Designers get paid for their work, and then Knitty gives the patterns away for free. The Eleanor Cowl and the Abby Cowl are just a couple of free cowl patterns you can find there.