Knitting the Perfect Scarf

on Monday, December 22, 2014 11:36:00 AM

Knitting and crochet seem to be two of the fastest growing hobbies on the planet. It seems like everyone is trying their hand at yarn-craft, and each month brings new followers into the fold. Many new to knitting and crochet may be considering turning their hobby into useful, handmade gifts this holiday season. And since scarves are useful, lovely, and relatively simple to make, new knitters and crochet enthusiasts will try their hand at making their first scarf. Here are some tips to keep your scarves looking just as great as you imagined they would and your recipients as happy as you dreamed they would be. 

Stitch Tension

It’s very easy and common for new knitters to have difficulty with stitch tension. You might find yourself working one row a bit tighter than the rest, or one section with a looser hand. This can create a scarf that looks more like an inchworm than a finished scarf. Be careful when stitching to keep an even tension. Stop every few rows to compare so that your scarf has an even width and not the ins and outs of the aforementioned creepy-crawly.


There is nothing more disappointing than creating a 10-inch-wide scarf that curls into a 3-inch round tube. This is typically caused by using a plain stitch such as stockinette. The easiest way to avoid this is to use a reversible pattern. They typically do not curl because they evenly distribute the stitches used. Ribbing and cable patterns often make lovely scarves that hold their shape and lie flat, too.


What’s the use of spending the time and energy to produce a scarf that won’t keep your wearer warm? Choose wool and wool blended yarns, as they are naturally the warmest. Acrylic yarns and blends aren’t as warm or waterproof but can make lovely choices. Warmth is another area where pattern can play a big part. You want a heavy, thick pattern to hold in the heat. Pleated and ribbed patterns create air pockets that do just that, and with style and beauty.


The only thing more disappointing than a scarf that curls into a tube is a scarf that’s too long or short for the wearer. Avoid this by aiming to make the scarf at least as long as it needs to be to reach from elbow to elbow, although some say from wrist to wrist. Try to guess the length or sneak a measurement using a jacket or sweater. Having a scarf that will reach from one elbow, around the neck, and down to the other elbow will provide enough scarf to wrap around their neck and tuck over a shoulder to help keep it in place. Going longer, to the wrists, gives enough material to tie the ends under the chin and still have tails left over to tuck into the front of a coat.

Creating a scarf can be a lovely and thoughtful handmade gift, and by following our tips you’ll be able to create a present your loved ones will enjoy for many holiday seasons to come.

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