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What are the Best Tips for Making a Knitted Scarf?

By Soo Owens
Updated May 17, 2024
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A knitted scarf is a versatile accessory that can be worn year-round, depending on the type of scarf it is. Some of the best tips for making a knitted scarf are to determine beforehand the scarf's primary function, the desired pattern, yarn quality and thickness, and needle size. Other tips can aid knitters during and after the knitting stage to ensure an attractive final product.

Before starting a scarf knitting project, a knitter should establish the scarf's overall purpose and design. He or she can personally create the design for a one-of-a-kind scarf or search for an existing pattern with an appealing design. While we often assume that a knitted scarf is for winter, the scarf can also be worn during summer, spring, and fall if constructed out of lightweight fabric. A scarf knitted for warmer temperatures should be based on a design that calls for lightweight yarns such as super fine, fine, and light. Scarves that are knitted to provide warmth during cold seasons can be made of medium, bulky, or super bulky yarn.

Gauging needle size based on yarn weight is an important tip that will determine the finished look of the knitted scarf. The general rule of thumb is the heavier the yarn, the larger the needle size. Exceptions include techniques that employ larger-sized needles with lightweight yarns. This yarn and needle combination creates larger stitches that form interesting designs such as lacy patterns, which are useful for spring scarves.

The pattern should be assessed prior to knitting. Depending on the knitter's level of experience, the pattern may be an easy knit or a project with a high level of difficulty. A knitted scarf that is irregular in shape, uses different colored balls of yarn, or incorporates complicated designs such as stripes or distinct images may require more time and knitting knowledge than a beginner has. If an individual is new to knitting, he or she should identify techniques that deviate from simple combinations of knits and purls and practice them before attempting the knitted scarf.

With any knitting project, occasional missteps are possible. Knowing how to correct a mistake in knitting is one of the most useful tips for preventing a redo of the entire project. Knitting mistakes that can be fixed without unraveling include dropped stitches and twisted stitches. If a mistake cannot be corrected without undoing a portion of the scarf, weaving a thread or thin yarn, known as a lifeline, through the stitches of an occasional row will prevent the knitted scarf from unraveling completely.

Once the knitted scarf has reached the desired length, neatly bind off the last row. An important tip for creating a final product that looks both professional and attractive is to block the knitted item. Different yarn types require different methods of blocking, but blocking a knitted scarf will relax the yarn fibers and smooth out the scarf for extra length and better display of any intricate designs or patterns.

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Discussion Comments

By MrsPramm — On Aug 09, 2014

@bythewell - Knitting a scarf with knitting needles isn't that difficult anyway. Knitting a plain scarf is what most people start with when they want to learn and it's actually a good way of judging whether or not you are going to be able to stick with knitting in general.

I would recommend not being too ambitious with your first scarf, because if you really care about it, you'll tend to want to start over every time you make a mistake and you'll make a lot of mistakes if it's complicated.

But don't just make a flat piece of material and call it a scarf either. You want to make something that is finished and recognizable, so that you can feel the thrill of making a piece of clothing out of yarn and thin air.

By bythewell — On Aug 08, 2014

@Fa5t3r - I find the problem with knitting looms is that they are easier in the beginning, but much less versatile than ordinary knitting needles when it comes to more complex patterns. And if you want to make a scarf with different textures or colors it's much more difficult to find patterns for a knitting loom than it is to find them for knitting needles.

By Fa5t3r — On Aug 07, 2014

If you don't know how to knit with needles and you don't want to knit anything except scarves and hats, I would recommend learning to use a knitting loom instead of knitting needles. A circle loom is just about as cheap to buy from a hobby or sewing shop and it's easier to handle and use for a beginner. Plus, it means you'll be able to make tube scarves, flat scarves or hats without needing to get fancy with patterns.

I can basically make a nice hand knit scarf using my knitting loom in about a couple of afternoons, depending on how fancy I want to make it. There are plenty of tutorials for knitting looms online as well.

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