One of my favorite cowl "patterns" is to take some fairly short (16" or so) circular needles and cast on enough stitches to go around your neck easily (knit a swatch to get number of sts per inch, then measure how many inches you want around your neck for your cowl to be - then multiply it out).
Then cast on that number of stitches. Work a garter/seed type of stitch... and DELIBERATELY twist the first row so that it comes out with a turn-around in it.
The more you knit on your cowl, the more the twist shows and the neater it looks!
My words sell the Magic of a Dream