On knitting a random scarf, including a pattern to make your own!

apricot knitted scarf on bricks

This is another instance of impulse buying yarn. I’d popped into Loop, killing some time on the way to my sister-in-law’s-es flat I think, and I’d felt the sort of engulfing craft-stress one gets when there’s so much awesome stuff around that even if you quit your job and gave up sleep you couldn’t make even a fraction of the things you’d like to. Lucy was hanging out in the nice little seating area which serves as a man-crèche, popular in yarn shops everywhere, and not wanting to out-stay her patience I was more decisive than I probably would’ve been on my own! I’d picked up a skein of Malabrigo lace in apricot, which I was finding it hard to part with, plus I couldn’t step away from the carousel of Madeline Tosh’s Unicorn Tails; so I took one of each of those, with a soft grey to bring them together and figured I’d come up with a plan later.

striped knit shawl free pattern

I quickly decided I wanted a scarf, specifically a triangular shawl which I could wear wrapped around front-to-back for the autumn. I wanted a sort of make-it-up-as-you-go-along pattern, which wouldn’t matter how big it was or what tension it was or any silly things like that, which I could just start and trot along with until I ran out of yarn / couldn’t be bothered any more. I cast on at the centre of the top edge and  just increased at the centre and edge of every right-side row hoping for the best. The colour and stitch was striped at random, while keeping faintly aware of spacing everything out in way that I personally liked. The main section is just knit and pearl rows, forming a kind of irregular garter stitch, with rows of eyelet holes thrown in every now and then to give a lacy texture. The edge has chevrons to finish, but this is optional and the results have mixed success; although I like the look I do find that it pulls the shape in and actually makes the length a little shorter than it would be otherwise.

knitted lace merino scarf free pattern

Below is a basic instruction for making this scarf, or at least one fairly similar because it genuinely does progress at random. I hope someone has a go and has fun with this! I am planning to develop it into a comprehensive, step-by-step pattern for real beginners. It will introduce the basic pattern, stitch stripes and then colour stripes one by one to teach these different ideas slowly, ending with the more complicated chevron stitch when your confidence has grown. If you think this might be better for you than winging it – stick around :)



Fairly vague directions for knitting a random scarf:



Whatever you like!

My scarf uses Madeline Tosh Unicorn Tails (x1 in ‘dirty panther’, 47m), Malabrigo Lace (x1 in ‘072 apricot’, 50g) and BC Garn Semilla Organic Lace (x1 in ‘light grey’, 50g). All 100% merino, in various weights.

I would recommend choosing yarns which have slightly different weights or textures, perhaps one which is fluffier than the others, or finer, or maybe with an uneven or slubby texture.



Who cares!

I used 4mm needles as this gave a fairly loose tension for the yarns I’d chosen.

I would recommend doing a little tension swatch using your different yarns. You’re looking for a looser, more open knit than you might usually, so try using needles 1mm bigger than the ones suggested on your ball band.

tension swatch chevron knit with ball bands



yo:          yarn over needle, to make a new stitch

k2tog:   knit 2 stitches together, to decrease a stitch

tbl:        knit through the back of the loop

sl1:        slip one stitch from left to right needle without knitting

psso:     pass the slipped stitch over, to decrease a stitch


To make: (basic pattern in garter stitch)

Cast-on 8 stitches, knit one row for foundation

Row 1:  K3, (yo, k1, yo, k3) x2

Row 2 (and all even rows): knit all sts

R3:          K3, (yo, k3, yo, k3) x2

R5:          K3, (yo, k5, yo, k3) x2

R7:          K3, (yo, k7, yo, k3) x2

R9:          K3, (yo, k9, yo, k3) x2

Continue in this way, with 3 stitches at each side and centre bordered by yo’s. Each pair of rows will increase the total number of stitches by 4.

Continue until centre length is at least 40cm, on a right side row cast off all stitches (see below for chevron edge option).


To make the scarf with stitch stripes:

Every row can be either knit or pearl, try doing a few rows as a block of stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch, and experiment with different combinations of rows.

Add in an eyelet row every now and then following this pattern:

R1:          K3, yo, k1, (k2tog, yo) repeat until 1 or 2 stitches are left before the central set of 3 sts, k these 1 or 2 sts, yo ,k3 , yo, k1, (k2tog, yo) repeat until 1 or 2 stitches are left before the final set of 3 sts, k these 1 or 2 sts, yo ,k3.

R2:          K all sts

knit random colour and stitch stripes




To make the scarf with colour stripes:

Colour blocks should be a multiple or 2 rows, this will mean that all of the yarn ends are at one edge of the scarf and the yarns not being used can be carried up the side edge. Bear in mind that you may not have equal amounts of each of your colours and will need to spread the smaller amounts through the scarf. If you would like to make sure you will have enough to make every colour reach the end of the scarf you might like to weigh each ball at the beginning and at intervals throughout the work to keep knitting them in the same proportions.

For example, my scarf starts like this:

Rows1-7: light grey (A)

R8-11:      apricot (B)

R12-13:   dark grey (C)

R14-15:   B

R16-19:   A

R20-25:  B

R26-27:  C

R28-33:  A

Remember: wrap the yarn you are using around the other two before the first stitch of each right side row, this will keep them neat and safe running along one edge of your scarf. (You could cut the yarn every time you finish a colour stripe and sew the ends in, and if you’ve got time for that good luck to you.)

colour change edge


To make the scarf with a chevron edge:

You will need a multiple of 23sts +3 in between the yo’s on each side. For example, 337sts in total means you have 143sts inbetween the yo’s*. Follow the chart below for 16 rows to make the edge. Please note that the chart shows the chevrons in a basic garter stitch, but you can change this to stripes of stocking stitch or whatever you fancy to fit in with the rest of your scarf.

knitting chart for chevron edge

knitted chevrom edge centre

Unfinished scarf


Just unearthed this sad forgotten thing. It’s a very thin scarf. Do I carry on and finish it? I’m enjoying the burgundy thing, will definitely be wearing a lot of that in the coming months, but when the bloody hell do you wear a thin scarf?! Plus, I feel like wearing small things just makes the wearer look bigger. Nothing makes me feel fatter than a tiny handbag.

Maybe I’ll just put this back in the box.