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The following is the pattern description from the first part of the pattern, and a set of photos of the finished cowl.

I originally named this design the Solstice Cowl, because I designed and knit the first version of this cowl on the last summer solstice, June 21, 2007. However, the main stitch pattern is an adaptation of Porcupine Stitch from Barbara Walker’s A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns (page 282), and after looking it up on the Internet, I wound up getting thoroughly engrossed in the Wikipedia page about porcupines: you know that the collective noun for a group of porcupines (or hedgehogs) is a “prickle”? I found this fact so charming that I had to change the name of the design to reflect the spiraling rounds and rounds of spiky little lace porcupines (or porcupine paws, as I like to think of them). It’s a little silly, since the yarn I knit the prototype in, Malabrigo Merino Worsted, is kitteny soft and just about the least prickly thing you could possibly put around your neck, but perhaps I can make it the first of a whole line of ironically named super-soft designs–cashmere scarves in the “razor shell” lace pattern, baby alpaca in the traditional Shetland “broken glass and hypodermic needles” lace pattern, etc.Anyway, some other fun facts I learned about porcupines while working on this project:
• Porcupines are the third-largest rodent, coming in after capybaras and beavers
• Porcupines are nicknamed “quill pigs,” baby porcupines are called “porcupettes,” and the name “porcupine” comes from the Middle French “porc d’épine,” or “thorny pork”
• Porcupines are divided into Old World and New World porcupines; Old World porcupines have quills growing in clusters, while New World porcupines have single quills scattered throughout their fur
• Porcupines love eating salt! Me too.
• Porcupines are the new “don’t tread on me” symbol (updated from the snake) for the Free State project, a movement of Libertarians trying to move en masse to New Hampshire in order to take over its political system (I wonder what non-Libertarian New Hampshire residents think of this plan?)
• Porcupines have adorable names in other languages: puercoespín in Spanish, porc-épic in French, porcospino in Italian, Stachelschwein in GermanPrickle is a moebius cowl knit in Porcupine Stitch, with a sideways edging knit onto the live stitches at the end. I have provided two edging options: Option 1 uses a plain garter-stitch edging (shown in red Malabrigo and Silk Garden) and Option 2 uses a reversible, garter stitch-based lace edging (shown in pink Malabrigo and Berroco Ultra Alpaca).The cowl is knit in the form of a fully reversible moebius strip (a flat strip with a half-twist in it, meaning the knitting has only one side, rather than the usual right side and wrong side), worked using the Moebius Cast-On (MCO) and moebius knitting techniques made famous by Cat Bordhi ( Visit the Wikipedia page about moebius strips for more information about the fascinating topological properties of the moebius strip.
( Moebius Cast-On is essentially a provisional cast-on using the cable of the same long circular needle rather than a piece of waste yarn. The cast-on is at the “equator” of the piece, and the cowl is worked outwards, north and south from the cast-on, in the round, in a long, continuous spiral. Due to the construction of this cowl, stripes worked in, either manually or by using a self-striping yarn, will form a lovely mirror image color pattern reflecting around the equator of the cowl, followed by an interesting effect in the garter stitch border as the stripes make a 90-degree turn and the color runs lengthen.The Porcupine Stitch used in the pattern is an unusual reversible lace pattern (thus particularly suitable for a moebius strip) from Barbara Walker’s A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, page 282. I have charted it and adapted it for working in the round—unexpectedly complicated, since the original pattern was 9 rows long, so when worked flat, the stockinette and reverse stockinette sections of the lace would naturally cycle as you worked through the pattern and the RS and WS reversed themselves due to the odd number of rows.

The edges scallop naturally, and due to the construction of the cowl, the gentle scallops at the bind-off edge form a lacy frame for your face—subtle scallops if you choose the garter stitch edging, or a more pronounced, feminine frilliness if you choose the lace edging option (Edging #16, “Alternating Scallops,” from Barbara Abbey’s Knitting Lace.)

In order to learn the moebius cast-on, I suggest either getting a copy of one of Cat Bordhi’s A Treasury of Magical Knitting books or using one of these free web resources:,,DIY_14142_4894528,00.html

Bordhi’s moebius cast-on is the same as the one described in the last three links as “from the inside out, no scrap yarn/no waste.” I’ll provide a “cheat sheet” of brief instructions for the cast-on here, in case you’re away from the computer and need a reminder about how to get started, but the terms will not be described in detail or illustrated, so if you’re trying the cast-on for the first time, please refer to one of the more detailed references listed above. The cast-on will definitely be challenging the first few times you try it, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it will be a valuable technique in your knitting toolkit.

roughly 18 inches
Height: Option 1: roughly 14 inches
Option 2: roughly 17 inches


100 g of a worsted or aran-weight yarn. The yarns used in the versions shown are listed below:
Red cowl (option 1): Malabrigo Merino Worsted [100% merino wool; 216 yd/198 m per 100 g skein]; color: Red Mahogany; 1 skein (sample shown used approximately 85 grams)

White cowl (option 1): Noro Silk Garden [45% silk, 45% mohair, 10% lambswool; 122 yd/112 m per 50 g skein]; color: 269; 2 skeins (sample shown used approximately 90 grams). There is also a stripe of white Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush worked into the cowl (this is the fluffy, pure white stripe visible in the photos).

Purple cowl (option 2): Berroco Ultra Alpaca [50% alpaca, 50% wool; 215 yd/198 m per 100 g skein]; color: 6283 Lavender Mix; 1 skein (sample shown used the entire skein). Note: This cowl is actually somewhat longer than what the pattern as written will produce. I worked the second repeat of Porcupine Stitch to round 9 rather than round 5 before working the lace edging, but ran out of yarn; however, since I wanted the pattern to use less than 100 g of yarn, I reduced the number of repeats, and the pink cowl shows the results of Option 2 as written.

Pink cowl (option 2): Malabrigo Merino Worsted [100% merino wool; 216 yd/198 m per 100 g skein]; color: Fucsia; 1 skein (sample shown used almost the entire skein)

1 40-inch or 47-inch US #10/6 mm circular needle with a flexible cable, such as Knit Picks Options, Knit Picks Harmony, or Addi Turbo needles

Stitch marker to mark end of round
Tapestry needle

16 sts/20 rows = 4″ in stockinette stitch (lace can be blocked to varying degrees of openness)