Color Change Scarf

Purl Soho's most subtle yarns come from Habu Textiles. They tend to be extremely fine and very delicately colored. They also tend to leave customers scratching their heads, "I LOVE this yarn, but what can I possibly make with it?" A great answer has been Habu's all white Kusha Kusha Scarf pattern, but, for this project, I wanted to also engage with Habu's amazing spectrum of colors.

I envisioned a scarf that would shift from one color to the next, making a beautiful color journey from one end of the scarf to the other. Joelle, with her unique genius for color, picked these five Fine Merinos. While knitting, my excitement grew and grew as I introduced each new color. More like painting with watercolors than knitting with yarn, it was a fascinating process!

This simple lace ladder stitch is a perfect antidote to such fine yarn. With only two easy rows to memorize and so much open lace work, you'll be surprised how quickly you fly through this scarf. The result is a perfect accessory for fall that will inspire you every day!

The Materials

  • 5 cones of Habu Textile's Fine Merino, 100% Merino Wool. These colors, from the left, are:
    • # 3042 - In the pattern this is COLOR A.
    • # 3044 - COLOR B.
    • # 3046 - COLOR C.
    • # 3043 - COLOR D.
    • # 3055 - COLOR E.

    (These five cones are enough for two identical scarves. Or, for four or five different scarves, switch the colors around so that the lesser used colors become the greater used colors. It will be so interesting to see the changes!)

  • A US #7 circular needle, 24 inches. I used (and really recommend!) a Skacel Addi Lace needle for this project. With sharper points than the traditional Addi Turbos, these needles make knitting with fine yarn much easier. They also have a slightly stickier shaft for keeping slippery yarns in control.

The Pattern


9 stitches = 1 inch in lace pattern

Finished Size

66 inches long and 8 inches wide


Throughout this pattern you will be knitting with two yarns at the same time. One yarn will always be COLOR A and the other yarn will change from B to C to D to E, as instructed in the pattern.


Holding COLOR A and COLOR B together, cast on 72 stitches.

Rows 1-4: Knit

Row 5 (right side): K4, *k2tog, yarn over (yo) twice, ssk, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k4.

Row 6 (wrong side): K5, *(k1, p1) into the 2 yo's from the previous row, k2, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, k5.

Repeat Rows 5 and 6 until piece measures 12 inches from the cast on row (always end each color section with a wrong side row). Cut COLOR B and join COLOR C (so that you are now knitting with A and C).

Continue to repeat Rows 5 and 6 until the second section of color measures 15 inches. Cut COLOR C and join COLOR D.

Repeat Rows 5 and 6 until the third section of color measures 18 inches. Cut COLOR D and join COLOR E.

Repeat Rows 5 and 6 until the fourth and final section of color measures 20 3/4 inches, ending with a wrong side row.

Knit 3 rows.

Cast off very loosely (use a needle one or two sizes bigger if you have to).

Cut both yarns.

Weave in the ends and lightly block your scarf. It may grow a little bit, but it will be wonderfully flat and soft!

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48 Responses to Color Change Scarf

  1. Kt says:

    This is beautiful! It would be great if Joelle could put together some kits for those of us that are color challenged.


  2. tante sophie says:

    whitney … i think that habu fine merino will “spit splice” beautifully on the color changes and then only the beginning and ending tails at the bottom and top of the scarf have to be put away … it's lovely indeed!

  3. Em says:

    I may be overlooking it, but I'm not seeing Color C on the shop page? Thanks!

  4. purl bee says:

    Hi Em,
    We have more on the way, it should be here very soon! We were planning to supplement our website's inventory with our shop's inventory, but unfortunately this weekend there was a big water leak in our building and this color was damaged. If you'd like us to notify you when this color comes in, please send us an email at this link:

  5. scottlaw says:

    I would love to see other colorways suggested – perhaps using some of the blues and grays. Since the colors on the monitor may not be true, this would be very helpful.

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Scottlaw,
    We're definitely going to do this, stay tunned!

  7. Betsey says:

    i was hoping for just the same, blues and grays or greens. all of the colors are beautiful, though.

  8. Beth says:

    I love this scarf. It would be fabulous for xmas presents. I do hate weaving in the ends and they always pop out on me! What is spit splice? I think doing a scarf in pinks, greens and blues and beiges would probably work as well. The colors on the website look terrific. Is it really soft? My children don't like itchy scarfs.

  9. tante sophie says:

    … google “spit splice yarn” and you'll get even youtube help … or read here … … happy days …

  10. Robin says:

    Whenever I try to work this out it comes out wrong. I feel like it should only be k3 at the end of the wrong side. It's a four stitch repeat going both ways, so I'm wondering how it can be four and five stitches on either end. I know I'm probably missing something here. Any advice?


  11. Katie says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Wendy says:

    This is lovely! I'm a definitely going to try this, probably in teal – darker blue for myself and a whole rainbow of colours for other people!! Thank you.

  13. Sally says:

    Will you let us know when you have these colors in stock? I don't believe any of the colors are available any longer on your site…Thanks!

  14. kelly says:

    I made this scarf for a friend and I absolutely love it! I made it in blues and greens — you can see my blog post about it right here:

  15. Blair says:

    This would be a fantastic project for spring. I hope you guys still plan on posting other colorways and soon! Thanks.

  16. Candi says:

    I am looking forward to knitting this scraf, I have never used this fine of yarn any securet that would be usefull?

  17. Lisa says:

    I'm rather new to knitting and am completely lost on one piece of the instructions on Row 5: “(k1 p1) into the 2 yo's from the previous row.” The previous row, however, was straight knitting. And if the instructions mean to knit into previous wrong side row, how do I do that? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  18. purlbee says:

    HI Lisa,

    The instructions you quote are actually from Row 6. In Row 5 you yarn over twice so that in Row 6 you can “(k1,p1) into the 2 yo's from the previous row”.

    I hope this gets you on your way and good luck!


  19. Robin says:

    I'm a novice at knitting, and do not know how to use circular needles. I love this scarf. I have tried using circular needles, and I always want to throw them across the room, and give up. Can I use ordinary knitting needles? If not, could you explain to me why I would use circular needles to make a scarf? All information is appreciated! Thank you.

  20. christina says:

    Did Purl Bee, perhaps, put together kits of this with other colors? blues/greens, purple/grey, etc? I can't wait to start this one.

  21. purl bee says:

    Hi Christina-

    We did not make kits out of these but we would be happy to help you put something together over the phone if you have some colors in mind. Our number is 800-597-PURL.

    Thank you!


  22. Liz says:

    Help….Love the color-change scarf as depicted in the picture, HOWEVER, in making a sample with fewer sts (18) did not come out. Would you be able to let
    me know what the multiples of might be…plus any additional sts. I tried and tried; did not come out. thanks!

  23. Valerie says:

    Yes, I would like to know the stitch multiple, too. I'd like to make a skinnier scarf since I have less yarn than I would like to knit this. Thanks. :)

  24. purl bee says:

    Hi Liz and Valerie-

    I'm almost positive that it''s a multiple of 12 stitches. Let me know if that doesn't work, but it should!

    Good luck and thanks for asking!

  25. Mary says:

    I love this scarf. However, I'm allergic to wool — is there anything else I could use?

  26. purl bee says:

    Hey Mary… have you checked out Purl's other lace weight yarns? ( ). I think Habu's Silk Stainless would be beautiful. As would the Linen Stainless. You could even mix and match them to get a beautiful gradient. -Laura

  27. Lydia Williams says:

    In your directions-Row 5, what does “ssk” stand for? Thank you

  28. purl bee says:

    Hi Lydia-

    SSK stands for slip, slip, knit. An explanation can be found by clicking on the red “SSK” within the pattern. That will take you to our decrease tutorial, which you can also access here:

    Thank you!


  29. Lenore says:

    I think it's a shame this yarn is no longer available. they don't have enough colors to have the right effect . Only one or two colors in a colorway.
    Is there a yarn in another brand that would work?

  30. purl bee says:

    Hi Lenore,

    A full selection of Habu Fine Merino is on order, and we're just waiting for it to come in! If you would like to be contacted as soon as it becomes available, please email

    If you'd like to get started right away, a couple of other great options would be Anzula's Wash My Lace ( or Swans Island's Lace ( And if you'd like some help putting a palette together please feel free to either call our New York store (212 420-8796) or our web site (800 597-7875) where someone would be happy to be your eyes!

    Thanks for your question and please let us know if you have more!

  31. Kaye says:

    I guess I'm an “advanced beginner,” so I expected some snafus along the way. Well, color me happy — I sailed through this darling scarf! Of course, cheating was involved as I only worked with one strand of yarn rather than two. I used a varigated worsted bamboo in fuschia, teal, purple and orange, very saturated and bright colors. And the sheen of the bamboo really made it come alive. Thanks bunches for this pattern.

  32. Joyce says:

    Beautiful Question: Is there a way that you can knit this scarf on straight needles? I can't seem to use circular needles. How would you adjust the pattern for straight needles.?

  33. purl bee says:

    Hi Joyce-

    Yes, you can use straight needles. No adjustment is needed.

    Thank you!


  34. lina says:

    hi there i like to knit the color change scarf .were can ifind the yarn and the right colors .thankyou ,lina, from woodbridge ontario canada.

  35. lina says:

    i like to make the color change scarf where do i buy the wool .thankyou .lina .from woodbridge ontario canada .

  36. purl bee says:

    Hi Lina-

    If you email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com our website will be happy to help you with this!

    Thank you!


  37. Sarah says:

    This is a beautiful pattern. Would you, by any chance, know the approximate yardage of yarn needed? I was thinking of knitting it in a solid color or with pooling.
    Thank you!

  38. Lynn says:

    I can't find a link that says to print the pattern, so when I try to print it the whole thing is printed including the comments. The print is so small and light that I can't see it and I have a new cartridge of ink.

  39. purl bee says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Sorry for the delay in answering you; we had to track down the original scarf and weigh it! Anyway, turns out, you'll need about 800 yards of laceweight yarn to make this scarf.

    Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!

  40. Olivia says:

    Hi! Beautiful scarf!

    I have attempted starting this project but my cast on does not seem to look as tidy as yours. I have been using the long tail cast on. Could you tell me, when casting on, were your stitches fairly tight or more on the loose side? I've tried both – tighter seems to be difficult to knit and looser looks sloppy with such fine yarn. Maybe I just need to keep going a few inches for the shape to form? Thank you!

  41. Olivia says:

    Hi! Beautiful scarf!

    I have attempted starting this project but my cast on does not seem to look as tidy as yours. I have been using the long tail cast on. Could you tell me, when casting on, were your stitches fairly tight or more on the loose side? I've tried both – tighter seems to be difficult to knit and looser looks sloppy with such fine yarn. Maybe I just need to keep going a few inches for the shape to form? Thank you!

  42. purl bee says:

    Hi Olivia,

    I almost always use a long tail cast on and cast on pretty loosely, regardless of the yarn. By "pretty loosely", I mean that I always make sure that my stitches can slide easily across the needle and that I can effortlessly fit the point of the other needle under each stitch.

    I do think you should give your cast on a chance by knitting a few rows, because as you suggest, things can tidy up as you go!

    Please let us know if you're still unhappy with your start and we'll try to get it right! Thanks for your question and good luck!


  43. Peg Thornhill says:

    What weight of yarn could be substitued instead of using this very thin lacy with t colors, I just wondered what would be the alternative?

  44. purl bee says:

    Hi Peg,

    I'm not sure I totally understand your question, but if you're asking what other yarns you could use to make this scarf, the answer would be absolutely any! Since a scarf doesn't have to fit exactly, you can use whatever weight or fiber yarn you'd like. If you're asking something about colors or if I didn't answer your question about weights, please write back and let us know. I'd be happy to try again!


  45. JaneCalif says:

    This scarf is absolutely beautiful!! I noticed in the directions that you say it will be 8 inches wide. I am a beginner at knitting but it seems like if you cast on 72 stitches, that the scarf would be quite wide. The size of 8 in. wide would be perfect for what I want . Can you help me with understanding this measurement?

  46. purl bee says:

    HI JaneCalif-

    The gauge for this project is 9 stitches per inch, meaning that using this (very thin) yarn and the appropriate needles in the stitch pattern you should be getting 9 stitches per inch. So 72 stitches will yield an 8 inch scarf. (72 divided by 9= 8)

    If you're a beginner this probably isn't the best scarf to start with since it's so thin and lacy. You might want to look at all of our scarves to find something in a bigger gauge.

    Thanks for getting in touch!


  47. Ellen Breedon says:

    When you say k1,p1 in the 2 yos, do you mean k1,p1in each yo or one of the two in each yo? I absolutely love the scarf.

  48. purl bee says:

    Hi Ellen,

    Good question! You knit the first yarn over and purl the second. I hope this helps you get started, Please let us know if you have any other questions along the way!


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