Last week a knitter in one of our classes asked me for an idea for a scarf pattern. She wanted something simple with some texture. I’m going to be honest with you – there are so many ideas swirling around in my head that it’s kind of tough for me to hone in on a few on the spot like hat. I did think about her request and I came up with a bunch of scarf patterns that are interesting but relatively simple, relying on simple color work or texture. All of these patterns are pretty leisurely knits, will make great gifts for a man or a woman and many of them are free patterns! What’s not to love about all of that? You’re welcome!
The Boyfriend Set is a free hat/scarf pattern duo. This mistake rib set makes for a simple stitch pattern and a three-dimensional quality to the knitting – the latter makes for a warm scarf with a texture that feels great on your skin. The beauty of a mistake rib is that it looks like some intricate stitching has been going on, but that it’s really totally simple. No one has to know that this pattern was simple for you to knit. When you knit it up using a gorgeous hand-dyed yarn like Malabrigo Rios, Madeline Tosh Vintage or Sueno Worsted, it will match the richness of the piece as pictured. Use a straightforward but sublimely soft yarn like Pure Bliss Falkland Aran for a more traditional but textured scarf.
I love the texture that a garter rib gives to a knitted fabric. Newbie knitters should read “Garter Rib” as “crazy easy” – and it means that in your knitting, you knit all stitches on one side, while the wrong side is some combination of knits and purls. There are three great garter rib scarves that I want to mention.
Laphroaig by Thea Colman is a gorgeous and traditional garter rib scarf. I think this is a great one for the boys. It’s a nice even size, perfect to make just about any man happy. Worked with a little more than 500 yards of a worsted weight yarn, which means it’s not a ginormous scarf and you can knit it up with minimal fuss and in a reasonably short period of time. Colman wrote Laphroaig for Shelter (a favorite yarn of mine) which means that it’ll get softer the more you wear it. Some other absolutely lovely choices for a piece like this are Pure Bliss Falkland Aran, Shepherd’s Wool, Sueno Worsted, Madeline Tosh Vintage, Juniper Moon Moonshine. There’s tons of choices beyond these – something so nice when you’re picking out worsted weight yarns!
Dunaway is another garter rib pattern, this one by Julie Hoover. This one has a beautiful border on each end and a crisp border. It’s reversible, with a garter stitch on one side and a garter rib on the other. How is this possible? A clever slip stitch pattern gives this simple/mind-bending effect. Dunaway is written for two weights of yarn, giving you two sizes of scarf: fingering and worsted weight. Loft and Shelter are the yarns this was written for (glorious choices that get better and softer the more you love them) but also consider these fingering choices: Tosh Merino Light, Shibui’s Birch or Staccato, Baah’s La Jolla, Kettle Tweed or Cozette. For other worsted weight suggestions, check out all of those I mentioned above fo Laphroaig.
One more garter rib scarf worth looking at is Breckenridge by Jared Flood. This scarf is distinctive because the width of the ribs varies throughout the scarf, giving something a little unexpected to the aesthetic and giving some character to the fabric. Breckenridge is written for Arbor (my deserted island yarn), which is an absolute joy to work with. Also consider making this in Juniper Moon’s Dromedary, Criative DK, or some Crazy yarn to really have some color fun with this one.
I love using simple knits and purls to create interesting textures and motifs. The Geometric Scarf from Churchmouse is a great example of this. A simple combination of knits and purls in a four row repeat creates the geometric texture of this scarf. This is a great project for newer knitters and enhancing their ability to read their stitches. If you find yourself lost, you can look at the number of knits and purls just worked to find out where you are in your pattern. The Geometric Scarf is written for Blue Sky Fibers’ Extra – a combo of alpaca and merino that is dreamy to work with an delightful to wear. Also take a look at Queensland’s Kathmandu for a tweedy look, or Juniper Moon’s Fourteen for something soft and luxurious.
Similar is the Carpenter’s Run scarf by Jocelyn Tunney. This combination of knits and purls creates a striking chevron pattern throughout the scarf. This is worked up in a chunky yarn, meaning it knits up fast, which is another immensely satisfying trait of this project. Work up this great project in something like Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry, Cascade 128 Superwash.
Don’t forget two great projects we have at the shop, with our Simply Irresistible Wrap (knit up in Madeline Tosh Vintage) and the Ito Colorbust Scarf (made with Noro’s Ito). These are two fantastic and low-stress knitting projects!
These projects should make you think a little – but not too much. Think of it as mental calisthenics with lots of repetitive counting. I have convinced myself that this is great for your overall cognitive function. Also, don’t feel wedded to the yarn suggestions I put out there! These are scarves… and gauge isn’t essential. If you don’t mind your scarf turning out with slightly different dimensions than given (think wabi sabi knitting!) then there’s so much room for you to experiment with yarn and pattern choices! All in all, have fun with your knitting and bundle up!