Snoods – or cowls if you prefer – have been in the fashion spotlight for a while; they're e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. And with good reason. They're very warm, they can double up as headgear (just pull a loop of the snood up over the back of your head), and versatile: wear one in a long loop like a giant necklace, or twist round and round your neck for maximum heat retention. And once your snood is on, it stays put, no constantly flipping the ends back over your shoulder.
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Choose your look
A snood or cowl is endlessly variable depending on the yarn weight, stitch and length you go for. Chunky wool knitted on big needles gives a weighty look, and means you’ll finish faster, while fine, fuzzy yarn made with mohair or angora gives an airy, lacy finish. You’ll only need a couple of balls at most, depending on your chosen length.
A lightweight yarn such as laceweight mohair and silk Rowan Kidsilk Haze (£8.95 a ball, Love Knitting) knitted up long enough to go once around your neck tucks neatly under a coat, and looks delicate, while a heavyweight yarn such as Rowan Big Wool (£9.29 a ball, Deramores) or 100% acrylic King Cole Big Value Super Chunky (£2.70 a ball, Love Knitting) in a double length gives a more contemporary look, is seriously cosy, and you can pull up one loop to keep your head warm.
And, of course, you can go for yarns with added texture: eyelash yarn, bobbly yarn, yarn with pompoms and more. Just make sure it doesn’t feel too tickly or scratchy under your chin!
Suit your stitch to your knitting skills. Even basic garter stitch looks completely different in a gossamer-light yarn or rope-like weight. You can successfully knit the whole thing in garter stitch, relying on the yarn for a stylishly interesting finish, or try knit and purl alternate rows, for stocking stitch. You can also try 'knit one, purl one' for a ribbed effect, or 'knit two, purl two' for a more defined rib. In fact, almost any stitch pattern works well: think moss, blackberry, cable… A snood could be the ideal way to experiment and learn a new stitch as you don’t need to think about any complicated pattern instructions.
Cast on enough stitches for your desired snood width; 26cm is enough to wrap pleasingly. Having decided whether you want a single-loop or a double, keep knitting until the piece is long enough to wrap loosely around your neck once, around 80cm, or twice, around 140cm. (Once knitted, your snood will stretch a bit.) Cast off, leaving a long length of yarn, and use this to sew the ends of the work together to form a loop. Secure the end of the yarn with a knot, and cut off remaining yarn.
See our list of the best free knitting patterns for baby clothes and accessories
Save time: try a shortcut
A snood-knitting kit means you don’t have to find the right-sized needles, and the correct yarn. Wool and the Gang sells several snood/cowl kits, from £25.50. Or Stitch & Story, from Notonthehighstreet comes with 100% merino wool, plus bamboo knitting needles and a craft box.
Alternatively, turn a knitted or crocheted scarf into a snood. Simply join the ends together to form a loop. You'll need some yarn in the same colour (or contrasting colour if you prefer). Remove any tassels or fringing first, then use a large-eyed needle to stitch the two ends of the scarf together.