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.
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While this tutorial looks specifically at the Wheat Scarf, all of the techniques apply to our free blanket pattern, Malt, as well.
Let’s knit a scarf in 4 easy steps
Gather your materials
Not sure how to read the materials section of a knitting pattern? Check out our pattern reading tutorial here.
Your Local Yarn Shop (LYS): 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 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!
For the Wheat scarf you will need 400 yards (366m) of worsted / aran weight yarn. For our scarves, we used two skeins of Sweet Fiber Cashmerino Worsted in Spanish Coin and two skeins of Ritual Dyes Elder in Bone. If you don’t know a thing about yarn check out our post on yarn here.
When knitting a scarf the size (this means diameter) of the needle is important, but you can use almost any style. The scarf is knit back and forth in rows so straight needles are an option, or you can use circular needles as we’ve done in the photos below.
The Wheat scarf calls for US #8 (5mm) needles, with the caveat: or as required to meet gauge. That means US #8 (5mm) is only a suggested starting point. Depending on your knitting style you might need to use a different needle size to achieve the pattern gauge. That said… if your scarf comes out a little bigger (or smaller), it’ll still fit! So don’t worry about gauge for this project.
Check out this post for more information on gauge in knitting. And for more information on needles, check out this post on knitting needles here.
Time to cast on!
We are keeping it really simple to start. Following the pattern instructions, cast on 35 stitches and knit each row until your piece measures 3″ (7.5cm) from the cast-on. We have linked to a knitted cast on tutorial, but any cast on method you prefer will work here. Once you’ve got your 3″ (7.5cm) of knitting your scarf will look like this:
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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. A reversible scarf makes a lot of sense, since scarves don’t tend to stay exactly in place, and usually both sides can be seen.
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 markers and how they work, check out our marker tutorial.
Once you have placed your two markers, your work will look like this.
After you work a few rows in garter and ribbing, the pattern will start to form.
Although you are only 4″ (10cm) into your scarf, you have already learned almost everything you need to know! 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).
Joining a new ball
Balls and skeins of yarn come in different weights and lengths, so, unless you have an unusually large ball of yarn, you will finish a ball at some point in your scarf. To keep going you will need to start a new ball of yarn, at least once. For instructions on joining a new ball of yarn check out our tutorial here.
Once your scarf reaches 57″ (145cm) (or 3″ (7.5cm) short of your desired length), you remove your markers and knit every row for 3″ (7.5cm).
Binding off and finishing
Your scarf is done! All you have to do is bind off all of your stitches, and cut your yarn, leaving about a 5″ (13cm) tail. Voilà, a scarf!
You will notice two 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 two simple finishing steps to take: weaving in your ends and blocking. It is tempting to skip that last step, but don’t! Blocking your knits evens out small changes in tension, gives your knit a wash, and evens out the ribbing and garter stitch. Trust me on this one.
More simple knits from Tin Can Knits
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