At last! I can now show you the BMC (Betty Mouat Cowl).

You may remember my cockleshell lace obsession , which resulted in the soon-to-be released Betty Mouat Sweater? One can never have too many cockleshells, I reckon, and this design is a veritable showcase of ’em.

Cockleshell lace is traditionally knit back-and-forth in garter stitch. When used on a stole (which is how you’ll most often find the pattern used in Shetland) the lace pattern is generally worked across the fabric, so that the shells and scallops lie horizontally, like this:

(Cockleshell stole in the Shetland Museum)

The BMC does a couple of things differently: first, it is knit in the round (using Susan Stevens’ innovative no-purl garter stitch method) and second, the lace pattern is worked along the fabric, so that the shells and scallops frame the full length of the cowl.

The BMC is worked in two pieces, using a colour scheme which is mirrored along the centre. The two pieces are then grafted together, and the end result is a cowl/ wrap / snood / infinity scarf / [insert your preferred garment moniker here] that is both dramatic and versatile!

I don’t know about you, but I am very tired of Winter’s browns and greys. I had a strong hankering for bright colours that POP in the Spring sunshine. The shades I chose for the BMC (in Shetland lambswool Albayarn) certainly do that!

I thought of beach huts and deck chairs; seaside rock and pistachio ice-cream.

The BMC is an infinitely adjustable garment. You could make it longer, or shorter; you can wear it many different ways.

I am sporting it here on the beach at North Berwick – a logical choice to photograph this most nautical of designs on a lovely, sunny day!

The BMC now has its own Ravelry pattern page and will be released, together with the Betty Mouat Sweater, on Wednesday 21st March as part of Textisles, issue 2, where you can also read my newly- researched piece about the namesake of these designs . . .


41 thoughts on “The BMC (Betty Mouat Cowl)

  1. I love this pattern and the finished scarf. I am currently in Victoria, Australia visiting my daughter and have purchased wool here at the fabulous Bendigo woollen Mills. I live near North Berwick in Scotland where your photos have been shot and It makes me homesick for the beach. I’ll have a go at knitting this when I get home.


  2. Your BMC pattern is beautiful! I love the pattern and the colours you chose, and the yarn looks so soft even in the photos, so it must be even softer in the flesh. Beautiful!!


  3. Lovely, lovely colours (phew – I love the naturals but I need something a bit more zingy and cheerful too), plus great pattern – looking forward to Textisles tomorrow!


  4. There is something so very intriguing about this traditional Shetland lace knitting, and I am afraid I am getting hopelessly drawn in, to the point of having to make my first order with Jamieson & Smith very, very soon. In the museum piece, the combination of dull hues of primary colors and secondary and then brown and grey… all together… remind me so much of the Amish Quilts I am in love with. Beautiful is your choice of colors for Betty Mouat Cowl, very bright and ready-for-spring and summer ! I’ll guess that you’l never make a trip to the beach without it .


  5. Kate! You never cease to amaze me with the lovely patterns that you create and the interesting info that you share….I can picture my 8 year old dancing in the cowl….thank you for inspiring me!


  6. What a lovely cowl, and you look as though you had a beautiful day on the beach for the photos, but you have given me a big dilemma………………… I knit the Sweater or the Cowl first??????!!

    Happy Knitting
    Fleur xx


  7. Your new design is stunning, and the colors coordinate wonderfully with the sea and sky! Looking forward to Textisles, and the Betty Mouat patterns. Thank you!


  8. A very jolly design indeed! I too am heartily sick of winter’s browns and greys, and your pistachio-ice-cream’n’beach-huts colourway here is extremely cheering. I love those wavy lines of cockle-shells and am agog to see the new edition of TEXTISLES – it is sure to be a triumph. I just read the piece on Susan’s blog and have been inspired to dig out the vintage swimsuit pattern I got last year after Mark implored me to make him a knitted swimsuit for the world bellyboarding championships… huzzah for Betty Mouat!


  9. comment that has nothing to do with the BMC : “oh my god ! is it really spring over there where you are, that allows you to wear short leaves ?!!!…”
    If the answer is “yes”, I AM jealous !
    have a nice Sunday evening


  10. Very beautiful! And such an elegant outfit to go with it. I love North Berwick beach, but alack, have been there only once, and the sun wasnae shining. My friend and I ate huge warm homemade scones in a great cafe that seemed to be much-loved as tables were scarce.


  11. Oh Kate,….what a beautiful cowl,…….your work is beautiful! I love it,…..and let me also tell you how much I admire you. My uncle had a stroke almost identical to yours in his early 40’s… you he re-created himself,…..not without many hardships and bumps,…and you are right,….he is now in his 70s and there still are challenges but he has had a very worthwhile,purpose filled happy and incredible life,…….keep on keeping on,….you are an inspiration!


  12. Stunning, stunning, stunning. A veritable spring fling.
    I just purchased a copy of Kaffe Fassetts new book Knitting with the Color Guys and I realize your cowl would sit nicely on any page of this book.


  13. Ingenious design and excellent color choice. I love the picture of you flinging it to the breeze – the blues shades of the sea are beautiful.


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