A lichen of a cowl!

Cetraria Islandica is a cowl inspired by the lichen of the same name, commonly known as Icelandic moss (despite the fact that it is a lichen, not a moss). This pattern was originally published as part of my Icelandic Yarn Club 1 to which it was exclusive for a year.

Called Fjallagrös in Icelandic (literally mountains’ grass), Icelandic moss was a great source of carbohydrates and minerals and was used for dyeing. Known for its medicinal and anti-bacterial properties, it is excellent for coughs and digestive.

In her excellent book “Plants of Iceland, Traditional uses and Folklore“, botanist and dyer Guðrún Bjarnadóttir explains how the Icelandic moss was been tremendously important to Icelanders through the ages and relates all the different uses and folklore around it.

“Trips into the mountains to collect lichen had an air of great adventure about them and there are numerous folk tales of encounters with outlaws and the hidden people on such expeditions.”

The motifs in my cowl are a fantasist interpretation of a very enlarged botanic cut of the lichen.

I used typical Icelandic motifs in stranded knitting together with slip stich motifs and bobbles.

The cowl is knitted in the round and ends with a picot bind off. It’s really fun to knit!

For the main color, I used double plötulopi but you could also use Léttlopi or any Aran weight yarn.
The contrasting yarns used were Léttlopi hand dyed especially for the Club with Icelandic plants, but again, you could use any Léttlopi colors, changing colors or any variegated Aran weight yarn. 

You will find all the details about the yardage needed on the pattern page under “More information”.

The cowl can be worn in two manners: with the picot edging up, it will open up and show off the face

… or with the corrugated ribbing up, which is rigid enough to stay up, to protect the face against the elements…