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Lady Bertilak Cowl

from KarenDawn Designs
(6) Name: 'Knitting : Lady Bertilak Cowl
Lady Bertilak Cowl Lady Bertilak Cowl Detail
Lady Bertilak Cowl Lady Bertilak Cowl
Lady Bertilak Cowl Lady Bertilak Cowl
Lady Bertilak Cowl Lady Bertilak Cowl

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • knitting in the round
  • yarn overs
  • decreases

Pattern Description:

This cowl features a lace pattern and has instructions for both a short cowl worn close to the neck and a long cowl that can hang down or be wrapped twice around the neck. It is knit in the round on circular needles in a fingering weight yarn. Pattern includes both written directions as well as a chart for the lace section.

About the Name:
The Middle English text Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is my favorite medieval story. It takes place in King Arthur's court where celebrations for the holiday season are underway. In the middle of the celebration, a strange knight rides into the court: both he and his horse are green. Not just wearing green but skin and hair actually green. He challenges Arthur's court to a "game." Any of the knights there can give him a blow with his axe, but in a year and a day, this Green Knight gets to return the favor. After some hesitation, Gawain steps forth to accept the challenge. Under advice from Arthur, Gawain uses the axe to strike the head off the Green Knight--because if the Green Knight is dead, how could he return the blow next year? Poor Gawain. The Green Knight is not dead--he proceeds to pick up his head and tell Gawain that he'll see him in a year.

Nearly a year passes and Gawain sets forth on a journey to find the Green Knight at the Green Chapel. Along the way, he find the castle of Lord and Lady Bertilak, who welcome him for the holidays and also promise that they know the way to the Green Chapel which is not far from their castle. Gawain gratefully takes them up on their offer and spends a delightful few days with them. Once the rest of the celebrants leave, Gawain stays and Lord Bertilak tells him to rest and take it easy while Bertilak goes out hunting each day. But he proposes that they exchange their "winnings" at the end of the three days. Gawain agrees and each evening, Bertilak gives him his kills from his hunting. But what has Gawain "won" each day? While Gawain lies abed relaxing, Lady Bertilak steals into his room and tries to seduce him. The first two days, she succeeds in kisses (one for the first day and two for the second). On the third day, she gives him three kisses as well as a magical belt that will protect the wearer from harm. A magical belt that could protect Gawain from the blow he is to receive from the Green Knight. But Gawain has promised to give all his winnings to Lord Bertilak each evening, which means he cannot keep the magical belt but must give it to his host. What does Gawain decide to do? What happens when he finally arrives at the Green Chapel?


24 sts and 32 rows over 4" in stockinette

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • Short: 19" (48 cm) circumference x 7" (18 cm) wide
  • Long: 50" (127 cm) circumference x 7" (18 cm) wide


  • 200-405 yards of fingering weight yarn
  • US 6 / 4.0 mm circular needles, 16" (40 cm) for short version
  • US 6 / 4.0 mm circular needles, 32" (80 cm) for long version

You Will Also Need:

  • Stitch marker

Suggested yarn:

400 yards of Fingering weight

Preferred Brand/Yarn:

madelinetosh 80/10/10 Fingering


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About the designer

I’ve been knitting since 2005, when I taught myself how to knit as a break from the rigors of graduate school. After graduate school (PhD in medieval literature), I decided to stay home with my son ...

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