Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf

I've written several books with the words "Last-Minute" in the title, so you can imagine that I occasionally relish the exact opposite! Especially in the depths of winter, I love to sink my teeth into a project whose gratification may not be immediate but whose pleasure is deeply satisfying. My Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf is just that!

Not only does this scarf represent a month or two of on-again-off-again knitting, but its pinstripes actually serve as a record of my production. I wanted the stripes to be syncopated and unexpected, but have you ever tried to be intentionally random? It's hard! So instead, I devised a rule that would ensure arbitrary line-placement: If I put the project down for more than eight hours I would start the next knitting session with a stripe. I figured my available knitting time was the most random thing I could chronicle!

For a three-season decandently soft scarf, I used our very own Line Weight. It creates such luminosity with its fine halo of downy merino, and in Heirloom White with fine lines of Dark Loam, the effect is like a graphite drawing on cotton rag paper, loose and mysterious.

For long-term knitting, I almost always choose garter stitch. I love its rhythmic certainty, its simplicity and lofty warmth. And knit on the bias, garter stitch has a fresh, graphic impact that satisfies my inner aesthete! I hope you enjoy the mesmerizing cadence of my Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf as much as I did! -Joelle


  • Purl Soho's Line Weight, 100% merino wool.
    • Main Color: 3 skeins; I used Heirloom White.
    • Stripe Color: 1 skein; I used Dark Loam.
  • US size #3, 24-inch circular needles, or size required to achieve gauge (Note: I used a circular needle in order to have enough length to accommodate all 120 stitches; this project is NOT knit in the round).


7 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch


Finished Dimensions: Approximately 11-inches wide x 74-inches long


Do all slip stitches knitwise with the yarn in back.


Increase Section

NOTE: There are no stripes in the increase or decrease sections of the scarf.

With Main Color, cast on 3 stitches.

Set-up Row: Slip 1, knit into front and back (kfb), k1. (4 stitches)

Increase Row: Slip 1, knit to last 2 stitches, kfb, k1. (1 stitch increased)

Repeat Increase Row until there are 120 stitches.

Main Stitch Pattern

Row 1 (right side): Slip 1, k2tog, knit to last 2 stitches, kfb, k1.

NOTE: If you want, place a removable stitch marker (or safety pin or scrap of yarn) on the right side of the work to help you keep track of where you are in the pattern.

Row 2 (wrong side): Slip 1, knit to end of row.

Stripe Pattern

At the end of a wrong side row, cut Main Color yarn.

Stripe Row 1 (right side): Switching to Stripe Color, slip 1, k2tog, pick up tail end of Stripe Color and k9 using both working yarn and tail, drop tail, knit to last 2 stitches, kfb, k1.

Cut the Stripe Color yarn.

NOTE: When working each of the next 2 rows be sure to knit the nine double stranded stitches as only one stitch each.

Stripe Row 2 (wrong side): Switching to Main Color, slip 1, k1, pick up tail end of Main Color and k9 using both working yarn and tail, drop tail, knit to end of row.

Stripe Row 3: Slip 1, k2tog, pick up tail end of Main Color from 2 rows below and k9 using both working yarn and tail, drop tail, knit to last 2 stitches, kfb, k1.

Stripe Row 4: Slip 1, knit to end.

Trim tail ends that have been knit in. Carefully weave in tail of Stripe Color from the end of Stripe Row 1 through the stripe stitches. For the most invisible results use Duplicate Stitch for garter stitch. Trim tail end.

Continue with Rows 1 and 2 of the Main Stitch Pattern, working the Main Stitch Pattern and Stripe Row as desired, until work measures approximately 74 inches from the cast on to the top left corner (with right side facing you).

Decrease Section

Decrease Row: Slip 1, k2tog, knit to end of row. (1 stitch decreased)

Repeat Decrease Row until 2 stitches remain. Cut yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches.

Weave in beginning and end tails.

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72 Responses to Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf

  1. purl bee says:

    Hi Caludia-

    No, you always knit just one row of the stripe color. You do the stripe section at random intervals. So mostly you will just be knitting with the main color. Then whenever you want to place a stripe you do the stripe section. Then back to the main color until you want another stripe.

    Please let us know if you have any more questions!


  2. Willow says:

    Hi there,
    This is so beautiful. I have also been admiring the whit's knits cotton striped cowl, but wanting something lighter/thinner. I am wondering if you think this yarn and diagonal stitch might work well with working in the thread like the striped cowl? would it be really hard to knit in cotton thread with a wool yarn because the cotton wouldn't stretch and give like the wool does? Also, are you currently out of this white yarn in the diagonal scarf pattern? I was thinking of randomly knitting in a few rows with the colored thread here and there, and not using the white thread like was done in the cowl pattern.
    Any advice would be appreciated. I love this blog and am so inspired!
    Thanks, Willow

  3. purl bee says:

    Hi Willow-

    I think that would be lovely! We are currently sold out of the white used in this project but are expecting more soon. If you'd like to be informed when we get it back in stock please email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com

    Thank you!


  4. Judy says:

    I will try again to get my question answered before I have to scrap this beautiful scarf. How do you slip the first stitch when adding the new color for the stripe? Mine does not look right. I really, really want to knit this scarf for my son. What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks for any info you can impart!!!!

  5. purl bee says:

    Hi Judy-

    I'm so sorry I missed your question before! You just slip the first stitch in the stripe section as you would for the rest of the work, meaning that you slip it knit wise onto the right needle. You then start using the stripe yarn. I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any more questions!


  6. Judy says:

    Thanks for your answer, Molly, but when I do this, I do not get a straight line edge; it juts out to the right. And I still do not understand how you slip a "stitch" that is not yet on your needle (the stripe color yarn). Would it work to do the last stitch in the row before in the stripe color and then I would have a "stttch" to slip?

  7. purl bee says:

    Hi Judy-

    The first slip stitch at the beginning of the stripe section is done exactly the same way as the slipped stitches in the rest of the pattern. You simply slip the first stitch on your left needle (which will be in the main color yarn) to the right needle, knitwise. Then you start using the Stripe yarn to do the k2tog and onward. Make sure you are slipping the stitches gently and not pulling them out of shape.

    Any unevenness on the edge is caused by loose stitches when you join a new color but in the end they pretty much even out.

    If the slipping is really messing you up you can also simply knit the first stitch with the stripe color if it looks better to you, the pattern will still work.

    I hope this helps!


  8. Josephine says:

    If I wanted to make this in PS Worsted Twist, how many skeins would I need for the MC and the stripe? What size needle would you recommend?



  9. purl bee says:

    Hi Josephine-

    This is just an estimate but we think you'll need 3 skeins of the Heirloom White (or whatever main color you choose) and 1 skein of the Loam. We'd recommend trying a size 8 needle.

    Thank you, and please let us know how it comes out!



  10. Judy says:

    Thank you, Molly! I will give this a go :-)

  11. Hello Molly,

    The way you randomly placed the dark lines as a time record of your knitting activity is lovely. I am totally obsessed with this scarf since I saw it yesterday!

    A dear friend pointed out that the idea reminds her of the Sunday stone calendar found in a mine in the North of England.

    I am posting this link because I thought you may find that of interest!

    Many thanks for sharing all your lovely ideas on the Purl Bee website!

  12. Susan says:

    I'm about 7 rows into the Main Stitch Pattern and have developed what can only be described as a corner on one side of my work. Is this intended? None of your pictures seem to show that section.

  13. purl bee says:

    Hi Susan-

    Yes, you should have the first corner, which was created when you did the increase section, and then the second corner, which should be opposite of the first one. The length between these two corners is the bottom edge of the scarf.

    It sounds like you're doing it correctly so if this isn't making sense just keep going and I think you'll soon see what I mean.

    Thank you for writing in!


  14. purl bee says:

    Hi Sacha-

    Joelle estimates that she had approximately 370 yards left over of the stripe color.



  15. Remi says:

    I'm obviously doing something wrong because when, in the set-up row, I slip the stitch knitwise with the yarn in back and then kfb, I keep dropping the slipped stitch. Help, please!

  16. purl bee says:

    Hi Remi-

    I'm so sorry to hear you're having this problem! The slipped stitch shouldn't be involved in the kfb. In other words, you are doing the kfb into the second stitch, not the slipped stitch. You might want to review our kfb video here:

    You might also be knitting too tightly which could pull the slip stitched off. If that's the case you should to try using a needle in a larger size and knitting a bit looser.

    I hope this helps! Thanks for writing in!


  17. Sarah says:

    I'm almost finished with this scarf in ballet pink with a gray stripe and have really enjoyed this project. I think I need block it to even out the stitching, but I'm afraid of stretching out the garter stitch. How do you recommend blocking this scarf? Thanks!

  18. Barbara says:

    First thank you for sharing this beautiful pattern. Can you clarify the decrease section for me.

    Do I start the decrease section on the wrong side i.e. the longest will be the start of rhe row, and I can't picture decreasing each row. To me I would not get a square edge as the begining,

  19. purl bee says:

    Hi Barbara-

    It doesn't matter if you are on the right or wrong side when you begin the decrease section. Since you are decreasing at the beginning of every row both wrong-side and right-side rows will decrease at an equal rate and form a 90-degree angle to mirror the increase section. It may be hard to visualize but once you get going I think you'll see the shape taking form and it should all make sense.

    Thanks so much for your question!


  20. Maggie says:

    Is this especially feminine when it's complete? Do you think that it would work for a man if I picked darker colors like blues and greens?

  21. purl bee says:

    Hi Magiie-

    It's hard to say since every man (and woman!) has different taste. But the fact that it is garter stitch, on the bias, and fairly wide do put it more into traditional women's wear territory. You might want to check out our men's project gallery for more inspiration!

    Thank you!


  22. Kim says:

    Is there a printer friendly version of this pattern? I know your last website setup had that as an option. I’m just not finding it on this one. When you have a chance, please direct me on where to look. Thank you!


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