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Reversible Stripes Scarf

With an itch to make a scarf, I found myself happily lost in the pages of Barbara Walker's seminal "Treasuries" of stitch patterns. Intrigued by the rhythms and possibilities of her slip stitch patterns, I think I tried them all. And then I finally combined a couple, a bit of Woven Stitch and a dash of Linen Stitch and voila, a reversible stripe!

This magical world of slip stitches has me firmly in its clutches. How else could there be a simple knit fabric with so much complexity and fascination?!? One side of this stitch pattern is smooth and flat, seemingly woven, with impeccably thin horizontal pinstripes; while the other side is textured in deep, hearty ridges, running in vertical stripes like a knotted tweed.

When wrapped, folded, and tucked around your neck, this scarf is delightfully dizzying! It achieves all I hoped for and more. No curled edges and two sides that aren't just both presentable, but whose contrast in pattern and texture actually enliven and complement one another.

In the spirit of the love and generosity of Valentine's Day, I knit up my scarf in Jade Sapphire's unparalleled Zageo 6 Ply Cashmere. An elegant yarn for a timeless scarf,  it is amazingly soft and toasty warm. If only I had the heart to actually give it away! --Laura

Update: October 2013

Pictured below, is a new version of the Reversible Stripes Scarf using a combination of Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6 Ply Cashmere and Alchemy's Kozmos, a wonderfully complex yarn that adds texture and shine.

I followed the original pattern (below) with one modification: a cast on of 55 stitches, resulting in a more generous finished dimension of 9 inches wide x 92 inches long. -Laura

Materials

You can get all the yarn you'll need for this scarf with our Yarn for Reversible Stripes Scarf kit. Each kit includes either...

Or for the new version...

  • 4 skeins of Alchemy's Kozmos for Yarn A, in the color Silver.
  • 3 skeins of Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6 Ply Cashmere for Yarn B, in the color Ivory.

For the original all-cashmere version, I used the color Pewter for Yarn A and the color Ivory for Yarn B. Pictured below are swatches of nine additional available colorways, each one available as a Yarn for Reversible Stripes Scarf kit!

  • Top Row, from left: Silver Fox (Color A) + Pewter (Color B), Silver Pearl + Cousin Coral, Pink Panther + Silver Pearl
  • Middle Row, from left: Ivory + Pink Panther, Ivory + Silver Pearl, Pewter + Silver Pearl
  • Bottom Row, from left: Ivory + Cousin Coral, Silver Pearl + Silver Fox, Cousin Coral + Pink Panther

For this project, you will also need:

Gauge

6 stitches = 1 inch in stitch pattern

Size

Original Scarf (all 6 Ply cashmere): 8 inches wide by 72 inches long

New Scarf (6 Ply Cashmere and Kozmos): 9 inches wide x 92 inches long

Swatches: 3 1/2 inches square

Notes

If you would like to adjust this pattern for a different width, simply cast on any odd number of stitches.

Slip stitches purl-wise.

Each row in this pattern starts with the instructions to either "Turn" or "Slide" the work:

  • "Turning the work" means to do what you would normally do when knitting rows with a circular needle. That is to say, put the needle in your left hand into your right and the needle in your right hand into your left, and flip the work around so the opposite side is facing you.
  • "Sliding the work" means to keep the same side of the work facing you and to push all the stitches to the right end of the circular needle. Without turning the work, start the new row as you normally would.

You will know that you're doing this right if the yarn you need to complete the next row is magically there waiting for you!

Pattern

Scarf

With Yarn A, cast on 49 stitches (or 55 stitches for the 6 Ply/ Kozmos version).

Row 1 (wrong side): Turn, and slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif). With Yarn B, *p1, slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), repeat from * to end.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slide, and with Yarn A, *p1, slip 1 wyib, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.

Row 3 (right side): Turn, and slip 1 wyib. With Yarn B, *k1, slip 1 wyif, repeat from * to end.

Row 4 (right side): Slide, and with Yarn A, *k1, slip 1 wyif, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Repeat Rows 1-4 until piece measure 71 1/4 inches.

Repeat Rows 1-3

In Yarn A, bind off in knit.

Swatch

With Yarn A, cast on 23 stitches.

Repeat Rows 1-4 until piece measures 2 3/4 inches.

Repeat Rows 1-3

In Yarn A, bind off in knit.

reversible-stripes-scarf-banner-600-2

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96 Responses to Reversible Stripes Scarf


  1. chrissie says:

    Why would you use a circular needle on a narrow piece of work? Why not just use straights?

  2. purl bee says:

    Hi Chrissie-

    Circular needles are needed for this project because you slide the work from one side to another. Please see the “Sliding the Work” section of the pattern notes for an in-depth explanation.

    Thanks for your question!

    Molly

  3. Catherine says:

    Simply must make this despite a few projects patiently waiting for me to start them. If you made this as a cowl, would you make it any wider? I would only need one skein each if made as a cowl, wouldn't you agree? Thanks!

  4. Knitting with Olof says:

    What a great scarf. I wonder how it would turn out in a cowl?

  5. Hazard says:

    This is just fantastic, I must add it to my list of projects! (Whether or not I'll ever get to it is up in the air…) I'm in love with the look of that yarn too, but I don't think I could ever justify spending so much. Nearly two hundred dollars just to make a scarf? That's an entire month of groceries!

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Catherine,
    I would make it a bit wider, yes. And yes, I would assume you'd only need one skein of each color.
    Let us know how it goes!
    Laura

  7. chrissie says:

    I did read 'sliding the work' but didn't 'see it' until you had me read it again. In my excitement to knit, I wasn't paying attention. I'm starting it now.
    Thanks so much!!

  8. Eli says:

    A stupid question — but I assume you don't join the stitches in the round, correct? Just want to make sure I understand. :)

  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Eli-

    You are correct. You don't join the stitches in the round.

    Thank you for your question!

    Molly

  10. Dorin says:

    What would suggest as a alternate yarn choice. Love the cashmere but a bit over my budget.

  11. Ina says:

    … isn't the 12″ circular needle terribly fiddly to work with when using them for this … just wondering if you might not have meant a 24″ circular instead …

  12. purl bee says:

    Hi Dorin and Hazard-

    We are happy to offer some alternatives! Any DK weight yarn that isn't too fuzzy will work. You will need 300 yards of each color. (You can buy a bit less if want to make it shorter- it's very long!) Here is a link to all of our DK weight yarn:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/3-knitting-crochet-yarn?filters=5

    Specifically Koigu Kersti would be a nice alternative: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/870-Koigu-Wool-Designs-Kersti-Merino-Crepe-Solids

    As would Manos Silk Blend Semi Solids:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/8640-Madelinetosh-Tosh-Merino-DK

    Thank you both for writing in!

    Molly

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Ina!
    So great to hear from you!
    I used the 16 inch (it's my favorite length needle and tend to use it whenever possible). I know some people prefer to work on shorter needles, especially when doing single row stipes. I do find the 12 inch a bit cumbersome. A 24 inch would most definitely work well. I will add it to the materials list.
    Thanks for asking Ina.
    Hope all is well.
    Laura

  14. Marjorie says:

    I've been thinking about making my boss a tie for next Christmas and this looks like the perfect fabric, perhaps knit on smaller needles in a lace weight. Do you have any suggestions?

  15. quinn says:

    That is so elegant! The photographs blew me away before I even started reading. Thank you so much for making the instructions available. Saved for the perfect yarn :)

  16. flavia says:

    il punto che hai fatto è bellissimo!
    ma non riesco a tradurlo in italiano perchè le parole si storpiano.
    si potrebbe avere una traduzione migliore o un video???
    ti ringrazio moltissimo se riesci ad accontentarmi.
    ciaooooo

  17. purl bee says:

    Hi Flavia-

    We don't have the resources to make this into a video at the moment but thank you for your enthusiasm for the project!

    Molly

  18. purl bee says:

    Hi Marjorie,
    This would be a PERFECT stitch for a tie. Great suggestion! What a lucky boss you have.

    I would try Anzula's Cloud or Wash My Lace or even their Mermaid or Sebastian. I just love their lightweight yarns: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/search/?search_keywords=anzula

    You could pair one of those with Swan's Island's lace weight: http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/3-knitting-crochet-yarn?filters=2

    Laura

  19. Petra says:

    the link for the manos silk blend leads to the madelinetosh yarn. I think both would be lovely for this scarf, especially because both have really cool color choices.

  20. Michelle says:

    Just a question about the cast-on … I usually “knit on” the cast on, but since the first row is a “slide”, should I use a long-tail cast-on? Does it make any difference at all, or do you recommend one or the other for this project? Thanks!

  21. McDuff1 says:

    If I were to make a cowl from this, could it be knit in the round or would it need to be knit flat and joined? I haven't quite figured out how the stitch would work in the round.

  22. Lucie says:

    This reminds me of Shibui's Array cowl, I made two of them recently. It's available on Ravelry for anyone wanting to make a similar pattern in a cowl format.

  23. helen says:

    thanks so much for the details about the pattern swatches. I'm looking for patterns for afghan squares and so it's really helpful to know how to adapt stitches I like to that purpose!

  24. HRH Sarah says:

    This is the scarf I've been looking for all my (knitting) life! One that truly looks woven, but that I can make with my needles. It is just gorgeous, can't wait to cast on.

  25. purl bee says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I did a long tail cast on, but you can definitely knit on the cast on as well. It will change the bottom edge of the scarf ever so slightly, but would not be a drastic difference. The more finished side of the cast on will be on the opposite side as the bind off. I treated the horizontally striped side as the “right side”, but as this scarf is named, it is reversible.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.
    Thanks,
    Laura

  26. purl bee says:

    Hi McDuff1,
    The pattern is written for knitting it flat. Following this pattern in the round would create something very different. To get the same effect, in the round, the pattern would need some re-working. It could very easily be knit flat and joined though, as you said.

    Let us know how it turns out, or if you have any other questions!
    Laura

  27. Larissa says:

    I am not a regular knitter, but this pattern got me excited! What level would you say this is? I am familiar with the slip stitch, but I never tried working with 2 yarns. Also, I knit very slowly, which sometimes causes me to loose motivation. Would this scarf be very time consuming?

  28. KT says:

    Even though I'm relatively new to knitting, this fabric is so elegant that I had to try knitting up a swatch. Both sides of my fabric look right, but my edges (especially the left one) look kind of bumpy in a very systematic way, every four rows or so. This hasn't been a problem when I knit in garter stitch or on a ribbed project. Any advice for keeping my edges nice and neat, or cleaning them up after the fact?

    Thanks for posting such inspiring patterns and being so generous with your advice!

  29. purl bee says:

    Larissa…
    You got this! It is definitely not super, super easy, but it's not quite intermediate either. As long as you mind the slip stitches and get used to sliding versus turning, you'll be fine.

    I am not a fast knitter either, but I found this project to be quicker than expected. Also, 72-inches is a generous length. You could make it shorter.

    Definitely give it a shot. And let me know if you have any questions at all.
    Laura

  30. purl bee says:

    Hi KT,
    The slipping of the first stitch in this project on the Rows 1 and 3 can give people a bit of trouble. I am actually happy to hear the lumps are systematic, because I know you are getting the pattern right. On Rows 2 and 4, try to make sure that first stitch is taut and not loose from having neen slipped in the previous Rows. Blocking should ease the lumps a bit, but a consistency of hand is best.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.
    So glad you like the project.
    Laura

  31. Marianhuet says:

    Hola! Perdón por mi idioma,pero no me explico bien en inglés. Como no entiendo bien su idioma,y me encanta este punto,me podría enseñar algunos dibujos con los pasos a seguir? Me encanta su página!! Saludos!!

  32. Andrea Alexander says:

    Hi Laura,

    I love the scarf! I am familiar with the stich pattern, but never have knitted with 2 colors. I searched for a 2 color tutorial, but came up with so many different methods. Which did you use for your scarf?

    Thanks!

  33. Karen says:

    This looks amazing! Can't wait to try it.

  34. Helen says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderfully sophisticated scarf's pattern. I love it and may have to cast on right away.

    I love the Purl Bee, and really appreciate all the great patterns.

  35. AnnaR says:

    Hallo!
    thank you for sharing this wonderful scarf! It likes like a handwoven cloth, but it's knitted!
    I like it a lot, so I grabbed one of your photos and shared the link.
    I also translated in italian the stitch explanation, hope it could be useful for italian-speaking readers!
    You can find it on my blog:
    annaerre.blogspot.it

  36. purl bee says:

    Hello Andrea,
    If you click on the link below it will take you to the full pattern which explains how I made the scarf.

    Thank you so much for writing in; I am thrilled you love the scarf!
    Laura
    http://www.purlbee.com/reversible-stripes-scarf/

  37. Noe says:

    I've been searching for the right baby blanket pattern for my niece – this is perfect. I knit up a swatch with some Tosh DK and it looks and feels great. I'm planning to use four colors instead of two, though…things could get interesting…

  38. iddocdan says:

    Does one work the slip with the next stitch like in brioche pattern, or work each stitch separately – it quintupled the number of the stitches – am I complete idiot? It looks bizarre…

  39. Chris says:

    Dear Laura,

    Thank you for this beautiful pattern. Do you think it would work with Louet's Euroflax? If so, would you suggest changing the needle size?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  40. Tryntsje says:

    That's a beautiful pattern. I've been looking for a scarf pattern and trying some different things in vain, but this is it. I'll start knitting tonight on straight double pointed needles and I'm very much looking forward to see the result. Thank you.

  41. purl bee says:

    Hi Iddocdan,
    You work each stitch separately. I think you might be doing yarn overs by mistake. After you slip the stitch, are you bringing the yarn back to the appropriate side before working the following stitch or carrying it over the needle (which would create extra stitches)?
    Laura

  42. purl bee says:

    Hi Chris,
    The Euroflax would have a drastically different effect than the cashmere. You would definitely have to go down in needle size, but which size I cannot tell you. Swatch it up in a 4 or 5, perhaps. This sure would be beautifully drapey. Would love to hear how it goes!
    Laura

  43. quasinonnaroma says:

    When slipping the stitches, does one slip as if to purl on rows 1 and 2 and slip as if to knit on rows 3 and 4? Or always as if to knit? Does it change the effect?

  44. purl bee says:

    Hi Quasinonnaroma,
    Great question. I put a note about this under Pattern Notes…
    All slipped stitches are slipped purl-wise.
    The major difference between slipping purl vs knit-wise is that slipping knit-wise, twists the stitch.
    Thanks for writing in.
    Laura

  45. Jpot says:

    I'm not getting the lovely contrast color side edges on the right side. Mine are solid color A.
    Is color B pulled around the edge and acrossnthe first slipped stitch for rows one and three?

  46. purl bee says:

    Hi Jpot,

    Color B is pulled around the edge and across the first slipped stitch. That is exactly right. You'll start seeing that dash of contrast yarn if you do that.

    Hope you are liking the pattern.
    Let me know if you have any other questions.
    Laura

  47. Sabine says:

    This is really beautiful! Just wanted to tell you that I linked to this post on my blog: http://nocreationwithoutchaos.wordpress.com/. It will be online tomorrow morning. Happy knitting!

  48. Kristyn says:

    Hi! Love this, but I'm doing something wrong. My front side comes out as a knit pattern (vertical striping.) The back side looks like yours. What am I doing wrong? I'm still working the swatches – didn't want to kill my good yarn!
    I am following the pattern you listed. But I am just having an issue with the front!

    Thanks!

  49. purl bee says:

    Hi Kristyn,
    The front (or right side) should have very thin, flat, horizontal stripes and the back (or wrong side) should have larger, bumpy, vertical stripes. I am not sure where things have gone awry for you. Can you describe to me what you are doing?

    Thanks,
    Laura

  50. Angela says:

    I'm knitting this lovely pattern now. I needed help with the cast on section and it took a little while to get the hang of the pattern but now I'm just loving it. I've been knitting it while in a campervan travelling around New Zealand, it has all of my memories in those stitches… can't wait to finish it and show it off! Thanks Angela

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