I originally wrote about this cowl here. I made this version for my sister-in-law, Emily, for Christmas. Here, it is wonderfully modeled by my friend Brigid. (Thanks, B!)
This buttoned cowl is knit flat using a combination of seed stitch and stockinette stitch. I like it because it's incredibly soft and warm, and because the simple shape makes it quick and easy to knit up and really showcases great buttons. The buttons here are wood buttons made by JHB, available at Hancock fabrics or directly from JHB through their website. I used Ariosa yarn, which is a merino cashmere blend (aahhh) but I've previously done it with larger needles using Lion Brand Thick & Quick (photos here).
Yarn: 2 skeins of Ariosa by Classic Elite (Color #4857).
Needles: Size 7 with Ariosa (Size 10 with Thick & Quick)
Buttons: 3 1-1/8 inch buttons
Thread to match yarn
Gauge: 4 stitches per inch **Note, I intentionally knit tight on this pattern using small needles so that the finished item would be warm and toasty.
-Cast on 35 stitches.
-Row 1 (right side): 4 stitches seed stitch (K1, P1, K1, P1), K27, 4 stitches seed stitch (P1, K1, P1, K1)
-Row 2 (wrong side): 4 stitches seed stitch (K1, P1, K1, P1), P27, 4 stitches seed stitch (P1, K1, P1, K1)
-Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until cowl measures 21 inches.
-Next right side row, make button holes by casting off stitches: 4 stitches seed stitch (K1, P1, K1, P1), K3, COF4, K5, COF4, K5, COF4, K3, 4 stitches seed stitch (P1, K1, P1, K1).
-Next wrong side row, close button holes by casting on stitches: 4 stitches seed stitch (K1, P1, K1, P1), P3, CON4, P5, CON4, P5, CON4, P3, 4 stitches seed stitch (P1, K1, P1, K1).
-Continue repeating rows 1 and 2 until cowl measures 23 inches.
-Sew on buttons.
-If you're unsure about casting on and off mid-row to form the buttonhole, there is a great video by verypinkknits here. You can add or subtract stitches to change the size of the buttonholes, if you're using a different size button or if your gauge is different.
-Blocking will make the cowl a little more soft and slouchy and will also make the pattern clearer. If you want your cowl to be stiffer and stand on its own, you can skip the blocking. If you want more information about blocking, check out this post.
-If you've done much sewing, putting the buttons on probably comes naturally. If not, here's a technique for getting the buttons where you want them. After blocking, fold the cowl with buttonholes on top and position so you know where you want to put your buttons. Pin the top layer in place. Place safety pins on bottom layer in button holes. This is where your buttons will go. Undo pins to separate layers and sew buttons in place, using the safety pins to guide button placement. After you get a couple stitches in the button, you can remove the safety pin.
Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions.
Abbreviations: K=knit, P=purl, COF=cast off, CON=cast on