HELP! how to shrink an overgrown cowl!

Hi, I am a beginning knitter. I have a cowl that was in perfect size right after knitting, but now overgrown…The yarn was patons classic wool which is 100% wool and I handwashed with woolite and added a little bit of softener afterwards. I dried it for 2 days just laying it down. I knew that wool could crow after washing, but this was just not expected. Much larger than my neck, the cowl isn’t doing its job as a neckwarmer. How whould I resize this if possible? Any ideas?

p.s. the pattern suggested that 124 st will give 21" circumference in the middle but my 120 st garment is now 22". Is it because I am a loose knitter?

Yes, it may be that you knit loose, but it may be that the softener relaxed the sts a bit. Wet it again and kind of scrunch it up to see if you get the 21" you want.

Or throw it in the washer for a bit to full it down…

Unfortunately, washing to remove the softener didn’t do much. I guess it’s not the softener, but the yarn itself. But thanks for your advice!

Wouldn’t the fabric felt? That’s one thing I’m concerned about… the cowl has a beautiful pattern that I’m afraid to ruin.

Lay it flat on a towel, sort of pushing the sides in till it is 10-1/2 inches, but still flat and straight, pin it to the towel, then spritz it with water and let it dry “bone dry” as artlady says…it should block it 21 inches. Spraying instead of “dunking” keeps it from starting out all stretched out.
Artlady is the Queen of Blocking … she may have an even better way to size it.
I think putting it in the washer would be too risky, I love Patons Classic … it is my “go to” yarn for felting … so if all else fails, I would just sort of felt it by hand. That way you would have control over how much it shrinks.

Yeah, spray blocking is better with some yarn, though this one should have been okay with soaking. You may have to reknit it with smaller needles or less stitches, but don’t try to shrink it, it’ll felt and that might make it too small.