Scarves with a pattern

Do you really need a pattern to create a scarf?  We have some, if you want to use them, but no, you really don’t need a pattern.

This is how you can create a scarf without using a pattern.

(A crocheted scarf would use the same thought process, of course, so use whatever craft you are most comfortable with.   Keep in mind that a scarf is all about drape, and many crochet stitches don’t allow much drape, so they might not be appropriate for a scarf, and would work better on a hat which doesn’t need drape.)

Step One – Choose a Stitch

In order to decide what  stitch you want to use on the scarf ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the stitch two sided?   (you see both sides of a scarf)
  2. Is it knit/purl balanced? (so it won’t curl)
  3. Is this a comfortable stitch to use for the whole length of a scarf? (if it’s too hard, or you don’t enjoy knitting it, then you won’t want to make a 48 inch long scarf with it!!)

If you don’t own your own dictionary of stitch patterns you can find them at your local book store or library.  Here are a few on-line dictionaries that you might enjoy using.

Step Two – Practice

Before you start a scarf using the new stitch pattern you have chosen you need to figure out two things:  1. Is this a fun stitch to use on a scarf  and 2.  How big will the stitch be in my yarn (so I know how many to stitches to cast on).

The easiest way to answer both of those questions at the same time is to use the pattern and create a swatch.  It doesn’t need to be huge, just a couple of repeats of the pattern is usually enough to see how it works, and how wide a repeat is.

Take for example this pattern stitch, called Chevron Stripes.


This looks like a fun pattern, it’s not hard to do, it will look the same on both sides, and it won’t curl much.  The pattern is a repeat of 18 stitches over 30 rows.  So for a swatch one could cast on 22 stitches (18 for the stitch and two stitches for a border worked in grater at the edge)  then work about 15 rows –  just enough to see how it works, and how big it will be.  This will tell you how many repeats you will need (including a border) to create a scarf of the width you want.

For example: if you knit a swatch and find that the Chevron Stripe pattern is 4 inches wide, and you want a scarf that is at least 8 inches wide, then two repeats of the pattern will work for you scarf.  So that would be 18 x 2 = 36 stitches.

But you don’t want to forget the edging!  If you add five stitches of garter stitch on each side of the scarf then you need to cast on 46 stitches.

Don’t get too bogged down in the numbers, swatches will lie to you given half a chance, so it’s a “guesstimate” at the best of times. Go with it, and don’t be afraid to rip it out and start again if you don’t like it.

 Step Three – Start your scarf

Cast on the stitches you think you need.  Don’t forget that if you have added a border on the edges you will want a border to start with, too.  In our example we used garter, so for our scarf we would cast on 46 stitches and work in garter stitch for an inch or so, and then begin the Chevron stripe pattern.  After about 3 inches of the pattern you should be able to tell if it is what you want:

  • Is it curling?
  • Is it fun to knit?
  • Is it wide enough?
  • Does it look like you want it to?
  • Are you happy?

There is no shame in starting over!  If there is something you think would make it better then rip it out and start again.  One of the joys of a scarf is that you can test out new stitch patterns, play with needle sizes or widths,  and it doesn’t take long to know if you are happy with it.

Step Four (OPTIONAL)

Write it down!  If you write a pattern that works for you and you like the way it looks write it down and send it to us.  We will test it and if we like it too, then we will put it up on the website for others to share!

We already know that you are a caring and generous person or you wouldn’t be knitting for Adele’s Legacy to begin with, so please, don’t hesitate to share your pattern with us – knitters and crocheters will thank you!!

About Dorothea

Dorothea is the daughter of one of the prolific knitters. She donates time to creating the website, so she can spend her knitting time knitting for HERSELF!! She’s greedy, but in a good way!

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