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Basic Knitting Stitches for a Scarf

Learn how to do the basic stitches to knit a scarf in this Howcast tutorial.


If you'd like to make a scarf, but you don't want to use a pattern or you like to come up with your own, there are a few different things that you need to keep in mind. One is that a scarf has a right side and a wrong side and so a reversible fabric would really be great. And two, you get to decide how wide your scarf is and how long. So before you cast on for your actual scarf, you should do a swatch and find out how many stitches it takes to make your pattern and how many more you'd like to cast on for the actual thing.

So I'm going to show you some examples of some reversible fabrics that are easy for beginners to do and that would make great scarves. So the first one is just a basic garter stitch, which is knitting on the front and knitting on the back. You can leave the edges plain or you could work an attached eye cord, like I show here or just a simple slip stitch edge. The next would be some ribbing. Here is a 1 x 1 knit one, purl one, which is the same on both sides and a 2 x 2, knit two, purl two which is also reversible.

Next up is seed stitch, which is just knit one, purl one and switch that on every row, totally reversible and has a great texture. Here's seed stitch with a color changing yarn, something that's variegated that adds just a little more interest to that texture. Here is double seed stitch or moss stitch, equally as beautiful with a little more depth, and here's basket weave. All of these are just examples of fabrics that are the same on the front as they are on the back.

But you don't have to limit your scarf to completely reversible fabrics. In fact, there are some stitch patterns that are meant to have a right side and a wrong side, but the wrong side looks pretty cool. For example, here we have the linen stitch knit in two colors. This is the front and this is the back, which doesn't look like a wrong side at all.

Here is herringbone, which is one of the most beautiful and complicated stitches. This is the right side and this is the wrong side, which looks completely different, but wouldn't at all be out of place showing if your scarf were to flip over in the breeze. Here's a lace stitch, which even though it has stockinette on the front and reverse stockinette on the back, if you block it out, its so cool that no one would probably guess that there was a right side and a wrong side.

But probably everyone's favorite stitch for a scarf is just that 1 x 1 ribbing in a yarn that does really cool things by itself, like this noro yarn that's striped and has no right side and no wrong side. So these are just a few suggestions of some great stitches to use for your first scarf.

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