Fading Memories Cowl 2023

I designed this tapered cowl for the 2023 Longest Day campaign sponsored by Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org)—an annual fundraiser that takes place on the summer solstice. For every pattern sold through August 31, 2023, $5 will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.

The stitch pattern of an expanding zigzag lace motif punctuated with eyelets represents the convoluted and chaotic memories of those afflicted with the disease. The dark-to-light gradient to represent how those memories fade over time.

The top-down cowl widens from the cast-on edge to the bind-off edge, and requires just 255 yards (233 meters) of yarn.

Both row-by-row and charted instructions are provided.

Finished Size: About 17″ (43 cm) circumference at top, 25″ (63.5 cm) circumference at bottom, and 81/2″ (21.5 cm) tall with edges allowed to roll.

Yarn: Fingering weight (#1 Fine). Fiber Optic Yarns Split Unified Gradient Kashmir (80% superwash Merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon; 255 yd [233 meters]/2.3 ounces [65 grams]): Smoke on the Water, 1 skein.

Needles: Size U.S. 4 (3.5 mm): 16″ (40 cm) circular.

Notions: Stitch markers (m); tapestry needle.

Gauge: 121/2 stitches = 13/4″ (4.5 cm) in zigzag lace pattern at start of cowl (12-stitch repeat), worked in rounds. 18 stitches = 21/2″ (6.5 cm) in zigzag lace pattern at end of cowl (18-stitch repeat), worked in rounds. 18 rounds = 2″ (5 cm) averaged over the length of the cowl, worked in rounds. Exact gauge isn’t crucial but will affect the size and drape of the cowl.


• The yarn for this project comes in two skein sizes—a short skein of 255 yards and a long skein of 470 yards. One short skein is enough to make one cowl.

• The cowl shown used nearly the entire skein of yarn. Plan to purchase more yarn if a longer or wider cowl is desired.

• A marker is placed after each of the 10 pattern repeats to help minimize errors.

• To adjust the circumference, add or remove stitches from the cast-on in groups of 12 (one pattern repeat). Every 12 stitches added or removed in the cast on will increase or decrease the circumference by about 13/4″ (4.5 cm) around the top and 21/2″ (6.5 cm) around the bottom.

• To add to the length, repeat Rounds 49–72. Every 24-round repeat added will lengthen the cowl by about 21/2″ (6.5 cm). In Round 49 of any additional repeats, omit the M1L increase and work the round as follows to maintain the 18-stitch pattern: *K1, p2, work k1 in yo of previous rnd, k10, k2tog, yo, p2; rep from *.