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Brynhild Cowl knitting pattern

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This cowl uses a lace stitch pattern that creates a design that looks like a ring of shields around your neck (see About the Name below for the connection). Worked in the round on circular needles in a DK weight yarn, this cowl is fairly tall so you can wear it scrunched around your neck for extra warmth or even pull it up on the back of your head or in front of your face. The suggested yarn is a blend of merino and silk which provides softness and a lovely drape. Pattern includes both written directions as well as a chart for the lace pattern (which is also written out).


Malabrigo Silky Merino (51% Silk, 49% Merino, 150 yds/137 m per 50 g skein); 3 skeins; sample uses colorway London Sky

or 400 yds (366 m) of another DK weight yarn, such as Round Table Yarns Avalon


US 5 (3.75 mm) 16" (40 cm) circular needles, or one size smaller than larger needles
US 6 (4.0 mm) 16" (40 cm) circular needles, or size needed to obtain gauge
Stitch marker


20 sts and 40 rows over 4" (10 cm) in pattern on larger needle

Finished Measurements

26" (66 cm) circumference x 11.5" (29.2 cm) tall

Printing Details

The pattern has been professionally printed on 80# cover stock and uses a half-fold binding (created by folding a single sheet that is twice the size of the finished product in half, creating a 4-page publication). The size of the pattern is letter size (8 1/2" x 11").

Electronic PDF Version Included

On the print copy of the pattern, you'll find a sticker with a coupon code. Enter that coupon code on Ravelry and a PDF version of the pattern will be added to your Ravelry library. That way if you ever lose the print copy, the pattern will still be available to you. If you just want the electronic version of the pattern, you can purchase it on Ravelry here.

The Story Behind the Pattern Name

Brynhild is a character in the Völsunga saga, which is an Icelandic story from the thirteenth century. The story is probably most well known by the character Sigurd, who famously slays a dragon and eats its heart.

Brynhild is known as a shieldmaiden, a female warrior (also known as a Valkyrie). She is supposed to decide upon a battle between two kings, and instead of picking the king Odin favored, she chooses the other, angering Odin. She is punished by being made mortal and is placed in a castle that is surrounded by a wall of shields (which is much like the cowl—the stitch pattern forms a wall of shields), and she is surrounded by a ring of fire.

Sigurd rescues her (along with getting through the walls of shields and flames, he has to cut the extremely tight armor off of her), and the two seem to fall in love, but Sigurd ends up marrying someone else. Brynhild also marries and she and Sigurd’s wife argue over whose husband is braver, a conflict that reveals jealousies and betrayals. This situation leads to the murder of Sigurd. Brynhild, who is still in love with Sigurd, throws herself onto the funeral pyre.

Photos copyright Karen Robinson. Pattern layout by Elizabeth Green of Stitch Definition.

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