Cowls are very popular here this winter. I made one for myself at the start of fall, and then two others as winter came on, both gifts. Soon after Yule, Ben kept asking for one of his own, which I finished last week. As soon as his was done, Nate wanted one as well. Each boy now has his own cowl in the color of his choice and has been wearing it proudly.
I didn't use a pattern for either of these, just estimated size and went for it. That's another nice thing about simple cowls, they are stretchy when completed and very forgiving. I cast on about 80 stitches for Ben's and 65 for Nate's. I used worsted weight yarn and size 10.5 16" circulars for both.
Cowls are so easy to make and a lot of fun. There are tons of patterns out there for a variety of styles and skill levels. My latest favorites include the Fan & Feather Cowl, Aspen Neck Cowl, and the Twisted Cowl. Definitely head over to Ravelry and throw Cowl in the search engine - it's a good way to spend a few hours.