I designed this cowl because I wanted a chance to try double knitting. I figured that a cowl, just being a tube of fabric, would be an easy way to start double-knitting and also an easy way to show off both sides of a reversible fabric. I pretty immediately had visions of a bold and bright background on one side with the design in a subtle solid and the reverse being a subtle background and bold and bright design. I chose a floral motif because I love flowers and love love love bright floral fabrics!
The design process was as smooth as could be expected (I know to expect a few bumps along the way!). I used Illustrator to draw a repeating chart for the floral motif and picked out my yarns based on their color palette and how delicious I knew they would feel around my neck. When I started knitting a swatch, I quickly discovered that my gauge in double knitting is very different than my gauge in stranded knitting (something I am already comfortable with). In retrospect, it's not much of a surprise, but it did mean that I changed the number of pattern repeats from what I had originally planned.
I learned two important lessons while working this cowl. 1 - double knitting isn't hard but it sure is slow! I was very surprised to find that it took me 40 hours of knitting to finish the cowl - I can knit a sweater in that amount of time! 2 - I love a challenge. I find that any time I push myself to learn a new technique or push against the limits of what feels safe and easy, I am rewarded with bursts of creativity and pride in the finished project. This cowl was a solid reminder of this fact.
To knit the cowl, I used 6 skeins of Cashmere-Merino-Silk DK by Sublime, three in latte (my neutral background color) and one each in raddichio, very cherry, and spicy. I used size 5 US circular needles for a gauge of 5 sts and 7.5 rows per inch. Since this is a simple cowl, you can easily change yarn, yarn weight, and needle size and still have a wearable project.
Assuming you know how to double knit:
To knit the cowl, cast on 318 sts.
Work 3 horizontal repeats and one vertical repeat of the floral chart available for free at http://seamstresserin.com/product/floral-knitting-chart/.
The chart shows how the finished knitting will look on one side of the cowl, so for every color 1 stitch you K, P the next stitch in color 2. Likewise, for every color 2 stitch you K, P the next stitch in color 1. If you desire stripes, as the pictured cowl, change color 2 every 14 rows for 5 stripes.
If double knitting doesn't interest you, you can use the same chart for stranded knitting instead!