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Basic Scarf Pattern




The main body of this scarf is worked in stockinette stitch, the most common of all stitch patterns, which is formed by alternating knit rows and purl rows. The scarf's border is worked in garter stitch, made by working every row in a knit stitch.

Since its edges do not curl, garter stitch is often used for borders. Before you begin the scarf, follow our basic knitting instructions to knit a gauge swatch in stockinette stitch using size-9 needles and Aran-weight yarn. 4 stitches and 6 rows equal 1 inch. Finished size of scarf: 8 by 60 inches

For this craft we use the abbreviations: k (knit), p (purl), sts (stitches).


  • Aran-weight yarn, approximately 600 yards, or three 100-gram balls
  • Size-9 knitting needles
  • Safety pin
  • Notebook
  • Tape measure


  1. Step 1

    Work this series of stitches when directed to in the pattern. Row 1: (right side) k32 Row 2: (wrong side) k32 Row 3: k32 Row 4: k4, p24, k4 Row 5: k32 Row 6: k32

  2. Step 2

    Loosely cast on 32 stitches.

  3. Step 3

    k32: Knit each stitch across the row for 8 rows. Tally the rows in your notebook. There should be 4 ridges on each side of the work.

  4. Step 4

    k4, p24, k4: Knit the first 4 sts. Purl the next 24 sts, remembering to bring the yarn in front of the project. Move the yarn to the back again, and knit the last 4 sts.

  5. Step 5

    k32: Mark this side by placing a safety pin in the middle of the knitting so you always know when you are working a right-hand-side row. This side should be facing you when the knitting is in your left hand ready for you to knit a right-side row.

  6. Step 6

    Repeat rows 9 and 10 until the knitting measures 3 inches from the cast-on edge. End after working a row 9. To measure, place the knitting on a flat surface, place the measuring tape under the needle, and measure down to the cast-on edge.

  7. Step 7

    Work the 6 rows of the pattern stitch. These are the rows that form the ridges at each end of the scarf. Repeat rows 9 and 10 until the knitting measures 6 inches from the cast-on edge. End after working a row 9.

  8. Step 8

    Work the 6 rows of the Pattern Stitch. Repeat rows 9 and 10 until scarf measures 53 inches from the cast-on row. End after working row 9. Rows 9 and 10 can be repeated for as long as you like. Any adjustments to length should be made while working these rows. If you’re adjusting the scarf to a certain length, keep in mind that 7 inches will be added after this point.

  9. Step 9

    Work the 6 rows of the pattern stitch. Repeat rows 9 and 10 until scarf measures 56 inches from the cast-on row. End after working a row 9.

  10. Step 10

    Work the 6 rows of the pattern stitch. Repeat Rows 9 and 10 until the scarf is 59 inches.

  11. Step 11

    Knit next 8 rows. Cast off. Weave in yarn ends.

  12. Step 12

    Block the scarf by spraying with water and smoothing it with your hands. If necessary, pin the scarf to a towel to keep the edges from rolling, and allow it to dry flat overnight; or place a damp towel over the scarf, and press flat with a steam iron.

Martha Stewart Living, November 1997



Reviews (18)

  • i kafrouni 2 Apr, 2014

    I am a knitter and a crafter. The instructions that are given for your projects need to be improved. I understand the pattern by looking at the picture of the scarf, however I couldn't make heads or tails of the instructions given. This problem happens often; too often with all of your DYI projects. While I can decipher the knitting, I can't with any other type of project. Please help us ....

  • Nancyknitt 27 Mar, 2013

    I've had to unravel twice. There is definitely a mistake in the pattern. I followed it exactly & what happens is after the 6" & it has you ending on a row 9-----you will discover that your lovely stockinette stitch will be showing up on the WRONG side. This can be remedied by ignoring the directions & making sure you start with row 10. Nurse Betty was exactly right.

  • Solaces 5 Feb, 2013

    Nurse Betty & TDB13

    I'm about 30 inches into this scarf now and what I did was knit after I finished the pattern stitch and ended up on the right side.

    I think that's what the instructions meant when they say to go back to repeating 9&10, the status quo for most of this pattern--go back to purling on the wrong side and knitting on the right.

  • TDB13 22 Jan, 2013

    Help. I have the same problem as Nurse Betty. Just started knitting the beautiful scarf and after completing the first pattern I am ready for a right side row, but the pattern says to knit row 9 which is supposed to be a wrong side row. Is there a mistake in the pattern? Please help!

  • Nurse Betty 21 Jan, 2013

    Does anyone have an answer to my question from yesterday.
    See below. Thank you.

  • Nurse Betty 20 Jan, 2013

    I just started this pattern today, and I have the same dilemma noted in the comment made by squirrelbait on 6 jul 2010. Your reply to her is still confusing to me and after completing the pattern stitch then going on to repeating row 9 and 10, I also end up on a right side instead of a wrong side that starts with row 9. Would you please clarify this section is better detail. Something still does not work out. Thanks.

  • LittleCrafter96 2 Oct, 2010

    @Squirrelbait: I think I know what you're doing wrong. You always do row 10 on the right side. But, I think what you have confused is that you start row 9 on the right side and do the next 24 stitches on the wrong side and finish on the right side. Don't worry! It's much simpler than that. Think of it this way: row 10 is always the right side and row 9 is always the wrong side. For row 9, you knit and purl on the wrong side. I hope this helps and happy knitting!

  • LittleCrafter96 10 Jul, 2010

    Oh, one more thing: you can buy that multi-colored yarn, so it creates stripes on its own. It's pretty cool!!!

  • LittleCrafter96 10 Jul, 2010

    It doesn't sound so basic to me! A really basic scarf that I learned when I first started knitting was to cast on 20-25 stitches, then knit every row (garter stitch) until the scarf is 4 or 5 feet (or however long you want it. Now that's basic!!! Even though it doesn't have a border, it still looks cute with some fringe or stripes!

  • squirrelbait 6 Jul, 2010

    How did you all get this pattern to work? Something seems amiss with the instructions. The 6-stitch pattern begins on the right side and ends after working on the wrong side. How am I supposed to then do a repeat of rows 9 and 10, when row 9 is supposed to be worked on the wrong side??

    Before I ruin another ball of 100% wool, could somebody tell me what I'm doing wrong? (Working the repeats of rows 9 and 10 by starting on the right side doesn't work, by the way. I tried.)

  • neonlovespetti 30 Jan, 2009

    I recently took a knitting class at a local craft store. I decided to use this pattern as my first! The pattern is easy to follow and the scarf turned out very well! Great pattern for anyone - beginner or experienced! I tend to knit tightly, so I did use size 11 needles in place of size 9 and it was perfect. Thanks for a great pattern!

  • dollysgirl1 7 Aug, 2008

    What's fun, if you are an uneven tension knitter as some describe, as I can be and caused me to avoid knitting, is to use Bernat boa "yarn" and it makes a forgiving "furry" scarf. Excellent weight management tool because to keep it clean it keeps my hands busy and out of the snacks!

  • glacy1 6 Jun, 2008

    Greenandpink, I wonder if you are knitting overly tight? Perhaps a larger size needle? Can you repurpose the yarn and make a slightly wider border of garter stitch or use a larger size needle? Frankly, I have never had this problem when using a garterstitch border, but then I am a relatively loose knitter, so perhaps it's too tight?

  • glacy1 6 Jun, 2008

    The garter stitch on the sides is definitely supposed to prevent rolling. I use that method all the time. If you have tried everything else so far, how about crocheting a border all the way around. That has, in my experience, prevented curling. That is one of the hazards of stockingnette stitch, but with a border it is not supposed to do it

  • Andi07 20 Mar, 2008

    I thought you weren't supposed to use stockinette for scarves because they do tend to roll up. How does the garter border prevent the main body from rolling?

  • greenandpink 13 Feb, 2008

    This is NOT a good pattern! I wasted $40 of merino wool yarn on this. Even though it has a border of garter stitch, it still curled. It is now an unwearable dreaded tube scarf that I gave my sweetheart for Christmas, It was knit beautifully and look awesome lying flat, but after trying every available blocking method and brining it to my local knitting shop, there is no hope.

  • lauraks555 16 Jan, 2008

    Cute pattern that'll make a very warm scarf. I'll have to make this one.

  • valeriemiller 30 Nov, 2007

    I am really enjoying making this scarf. It is a simple pattern, but it has some panash.