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Let’s knit a scarf

June 14, 2013

Sometimes it can seem daunting to learn something new, so let’s take it one step at a time, and knit a simple scarf together. Be sure to click the links for detailed tutorials illustrating each individual technique.

First, download the Wheat scarf pattern, gather your materials, and let’s get started!

While this tutorial looks specifically at the Wheat Scarf, all of the techniques apply to our other free pattern, the Malt Blanket as well. 

The Materials ::: knit with yarn that you love

Yarn: For our scarves, we used Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in the colourway ‘spanish coin’ and Ritual Dyes Elder in the colourway ‘bone’. If you don’t know a thing about yarn check out this post for information on weights and substitutions.

Needles: We used 5mm circular needles, but there are many needles that will work for your first scarf. For more information on knitting needles, check out this post here.

Your Local Yarn Store ::: the best place to begin

If you are lucky enough to have a yarn shop near you it can be a wonderful resource. The LYS (local yarn store) often has friendly and helpful staff, classes you can take, or knit nights when you can drop in. While it is a faux pas to assume the staff can give you a knitting lesson on the spot, they can often help with smaller issues, point you in the right direction, and they can certainly help you choose your project materials. Bring your pattern with you and they can set you up with everything you need!

The Pattern ::: we are keepin’ it real simple to start

Back to our scarf. Following the pattern instructions, cast on 35 stitches and knit each row until your piece measures 3 inches from the cast-on. Once you have reached this point, your knitting will look like this:

Next we will place markers to indicate where the ribbing goes in this scarf. Both ribbing and garter stitch are reversible, so they look the same on both sides. Having both in a scarf makes for a simple design and a reversible finished project. You will place your markers by slipping them over the needles. Markers go on your needles BETWEEN the stitches. You never knit into them, simply slide them from your left-hand (LH) needle to your right-hand (RH) needle as you come to them. For more information on purling (which you will need to accomplish your ribbing), see this tutorial.

Once you have placed your 2 markers, your work will look like this:

Once you have worked a few rows with both garter and ribbing, the pattern will start to form like this:

Although you are only a 4 inches into your scarf you have already learned almost everything you need to know! You will keep going, working the ribbing between the markers and garter stitch everywhere else. The scarf will look a little wavy, but don’t worry, that will even out with blocking (more on what that means later).

Unless you have an unusually large ball of yarn, you will need to start a new ball of yarn at some point in your scarf, at least once.

Once your scarf reaches 57 inches (or 3 inches short of your desired length), you remove your markers and knit every row for 3 inches.

Bind off all stitches and cut your yarn, leaving a 4 or 5 inch tail. Voila a scarf! You will notice 2 things, the first is that there are some literal loose ends, and the second is that it seems to ‘pinch in’ where there is ribbing. There are 2 simple finishing steps to take: blocking and weaving in your ends.

Enjoying the Simple Collection?  Get our email updates and we will let you know as new free patterns and tutorials are released!  And if you like the designs, be sure to share them with friends and knitting groups.

Simple Collection Designs by Tin Can Knits:

Malt BlanketBarley Hat

34 Comments leave one →
  1. joann permalink
    December 5, 2020 9:23 am

    i took the class but got loss with too much comments. once i took everything apart i dont remember how to start again. is there a youtube how to start again before my 2 class?

  2. liz permalink
    November 30, 2020 5:21 pm

    So I started this scarf several months ago, put it down, and decided to pick it up again, but all the pictures in this excellent blog post are gone! Is there anyway to get them back?

    • December 8, 2020 6:22 am

      Hi Liz – Sorry for the inconvenience! We just updated our website, and it messed up some of our blog images (oops!) but they should be back again, you might need to hit the ‘refresh’ button on your web browser. Hope this helps! ~ Em

  3. Jane B permalink
    June 16, 2020 9:24 am

    I’ve been knitting two years. On my wheat scarf the ribbing is trying to kind of buckle vertically and the knitted sides are almost wavy – doesn’t lay flat. I’m wrapping the yarn counter clockwise. Is my tension causing my problem? I tend to knit tight.

    • June 16, 2020 12:09 pm

      Hi Jane – Garter and ribbing do behave a little differently but once you block your scarf it’ll all even out

      • Jane permalink
        June 17, 2020 9:50 am

        Thank you Alexa. I was getting discouraged – I’ve ripped out & restarted three times. The knitted portion is also going “uphill”. Will blocking fix that as well?

      • June 17, 2020 11:51 am

        I would put your knitting on waste yarn and give it a block right now, then you will know just how the finished product will come out.

  4. Patricia Zarnikow permalink
    November 25, 2019 2:11 pm

    How would I adjust this pattern for a child?

    • November 27, 2019 9:11 am

      Hi Patricia – for a child I might make it a little skinnier by casting on fewer sts, and then make it shorter.

      • Patricia permalink
        December 30, 2019 1:27 pm

        Would I then also adjust how many stitches in to begin the ribbing section?

      • January 2, 2020 7:51 pm

        Hi Patricia – I probably wouldn’t, but if you prefer you could do 2-4 sts less in the ribbing section

  5. Dolores Cutshall permalink
    October 29, 2019 10:21 am

    how can I teach left-handed person to knit?

    • October 29, 2019 3:16 pm

      Hi Dolores – Knitting is a 2 handed endeavor (like playing the piano), so I usually suggest lefties try holding the yarn in their left hand and picking rather than throwing (although if they try both and prefer throwing, that’s fine too, righties and lefties knit all different ways). I haven’t come across any lefties who have had trouble with this method yet.

  6. Marinella crosta gadda permalink
    December 15, 2017 2:56 am

    Fantastica semplice ma d’effetto

  7. Kyrstin permalink
    November 20, 2017 9:01 pm

    I am wondering if you slip stitch at the beginning of each row? And if so, knitwise or purlwose? No matter what I try I have been unsuccessful in achieving a clean edge on the sides like you’ve shown. I’ve restarted this pattern more times than I’d care to admit! Thanks :)

    • November 22, 2017 9:29 am

      Hi Kyrstin – I acutally didn’t slip any sts for this scarf, but slipping the first st purl-wise does give a nice edge!

  8. October 8, 2017 9:43 am

    I’m a complete beginner, and I had the same question as two other commenters: if the rib section is k1p1 going from right to left, as shown in the photo, does that mean the next row should be p1k1 (because it’s going from left to right relative to your photo)? Does the order of everything flip, or just the order of the sections?

    Your responses didn’t clear it up, so I did some experimenting and figured out for myself that the order should be k1p1 no matter which direction you’re going in. It would be really great if the instructions were more clear about this, especially since it’s targeted at beginners!

    Thanks for putting this tutorial together!

  9. Mer permalink
    August 3, 2017 12:33 am

    How do you suggest adding a new ball of yarn? The instructions state “Unless you have an unusually large ball of yarn, you will need to start a new ball of yarn at some point in your scarf, at least once.” It seems the link was intended to be there but wasn’t added.

  10. Ginny permalink
    May 2, 2016 8:12 am

    I’ve been knitting a couple years but haven’t been able to knit very often, so consider my self an advanced beginner. I saw this scarf as a sample in my LYS and chose it as a pattern for a 3-day road trip both because I love the design and also it will be easy to pick up and put down when my turn to drive. Thanks for all the tutorials. They are great refreshers for me!

  11. Samantha permalink
    April 10, 2016 12:58 am

    Really loving these patterns so far! Quick question though – when you get to the ribbing section, does the pattern reverse when it’s flipped? For example, the first row is k 5, k1 p1 (7 times), k 16. When you flip it and finish the k 16, are you still doing k1 p1 for the ribbing pattern or should it be flipped (p1 k1) since the material is flipped? Without flipping it, it seems like you’re knitting onto a purl stitch, so I wasn’t sure which way was right. Thank you!

    • April 13, 2016 10:21 am

      Hi Samantha – because the ribbing is in a multiple of 2 you don’t need to flip it. If you started with a knit and ended with a knit in the ribbing section you would need to reverse it (p1,k1) on the back side. But not for the wheat scarf!

  12. Betsy McGinn permalink
    January 9, 2016 2:46 pm

    I think your directions are unclear when:
    “from right to left” you knit 16 then k1p1 (x7) and then knit 5, BUT when I am headed “from left to right” do you knit 5, then…p1k1 (x7) and then knit 16 or knit 5, then still k1p1 (x7) and then knit 16?

    I am sorry, but I really don’t understand.

    • January 9, 2016 9:09 pm

      Hi Betsy – I’m not sure I understand the question. For this scarf you are placing markers, so you can knit to the marker, work your ribbing and knit to the end. You are correct though, on the right side of the scarf you are working k16, rib 14, k5 and on the wrong side you are working k5, rib 14, k16

  13. February 18, 2015 12:42 pm

    The link at the beginning “Download the Wheat scarf pattern” actually goes to the Malt blanket. Just wanted to let you know. :)

    • February 18, 2015 11:58 pm

      Oh thanks so much! We’ll get that changed right away… thanks for letting us know!

  14. January 18, 2015 10:13 am

    Thank you for sharing such beautiful patterns – I do have a question though “) how did you “tie” your wheat scarf – hoping this doesn’t sound silly

    • January 19, 2015 5:56 pm

      It’s pretty versatile, you can just loop it around your neck, or fold it in half and put it around your neck threading the ends through the loop, or just tie it loosely around your neck.

      • June 21, 2016 1:43 am

        I think she may mean how DID you tie the scarf, in the photograph. I was wondering the same thing. ;-)

      • June 21, 2016 9:32 am

        Hi – I think you are correct! We just folded it in half put the folded scarf around your neck, then put the 2 ends through the loop.

  15. asterix permalink
    March 8, 2014 6:57 pm

    I’m doing this as my first knitting project and I really like the way you’ve written the article! The explanations and linked-to tutorials are great, but I think you missed one: “start a new ball of yarn at some point”. I’m having a lot of fun with this so far! :)


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