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« Molly's Sketchbook: Giving Holiday Cookies | Main | Super Easy Snowflake Stocking »

Whit's Knits: The Eleventh Hour Scarf

I wanted to come up with an idea that would answer the pressing need of the last minute gift without sacrificing quality, a gift that we can give without sheepishness or apologies. In fact, one that will be given with pride and received with gratitude, and one that, not insignificantly, you can start at the beginning of a movie and finish before the final credits roll! -Whitney


  • 3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas Bulky, 50% alpaca and 50% wool. This color is "Grasshopper" #1212. (Alternatively, you can use 1 skein of Cascade's Magnum, 100% wool.)
  • Skacel's US size 36 knitting needles, either 32 inch circular or 14 inch straight


The Pattern


3/4 stitch = 1 inch in seed stitch

Finished Size

5 inches x 70 inches


The yarn is doubled throughout this pattern. For the first two balls, just pull one strand from each ball. For the third ball, you have a couple of options. One is to pull one strand from the center of the ball and one strand from the outside of the ball (my preferred method). The other is to wind the one ball into two balls as evenly as possible.

The How To

Cast on 7 stitches.

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * two times.

Repeat Row 1 for every row.

Bind off loosely in pattern.

Weave in the ends. (It's neater to weave each strand in separately rather than keeping the ends doubled.)

Reader Comments (52)

That is adorable! I don't even have any last-minute gifts to make and I am still going to make one tonight! I have just the yarn... :-)
December 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Can it be crocheted? I'm not too good with knitting... :S
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTami
I LOVE the hat, too. Will you post the pattern for it as well? Pretty please?!
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
You've totally saved me from insanity. (VBG)
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGisela
For dividing one skein of yarn into two an easy way, if you have a kitchen scale, is put the skein on the scale and wind away until the yarn on the skein weighs 1/2 of its weight before winding.
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah
Yikes! What does "slip one knitwise" mean? I get the rest, but I've never seen that! Gracias!
December 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Slip one knitwise was new to me too! I found a helpful site that shows video. It's under SL1K.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeghann
Love the scarf! Will be making it for sure...and do you carry the needles? How about the hat does it have a pattern? The combo together is quite something.
December 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCN
Wow, I got this email this morning... printed it... went to the yarn store and bought the Twinkle Soft Chunky yarn and made *two* of these between 5 and 9pm. Amazing. And they are beautiful! Thanks so much. Btw, with the Twinkle, I only used two skeins to get the required length! Whoo hoo!
December 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Ooh! Where'd you get the sparkly needles? Does Purl Soho sell them??
December 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercatherine
Hi Catherine,
The US size 36 needles from Skacel (circulars and straights too) are sparkly, and yes, we sell them! You can find them at this link:,16
December 26, 2008 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This just became my new idiot knitting project for when I am tired but still need to knit. I just love it. Your site is amazing. Thank you. Valli
December 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValli
I just knitted this last night. Mine seems to be a more "open" weave, but I stll like it. I would love a simple hat pattern to complement this scarf! Thanks so much!!! Beth
December 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
Gorgeous! I would love love love the pattern for the hat too!
January 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle
Yikes! I'm new to knitting and confused.
If the directions say:

Cast on 7 stitches.

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise, [p1, k1] three times.

**If you do row 1 three times then don't you need to cast on 9 instead of 7??

Please help!
February 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRo
Hi Ro,
The pattern should say, "[p1, k1] two times". Thanks for pointing this out! I'll change it now. It seems like you're catching on to knitting quite well!
February 20, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I need a bit of help understanding this pattern please...

is the first row: SL1K, p1, k1 then SL1K, p1, k1, SL1K

and I follow that pattern on the next row? If so, mine is not coming out very well...

Thank you for your help!
February 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa
Hi Vanessa,
Every row should be knit as follows:
SL1K, p1, k1, p1, k1, p1, k1

you are only repeating the part in the brackets.
Hope this helps.
February 22, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you! This is just like the "seed" stitch, no? I like the edge created by slipping the first stitch! I love your site and am learning so much! Never before have I been confident enough in pattern interpretation- you ladies make it so much more approachable! Many, MANY thanks!!!
February 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVanessa
Hi, I tried this pattern for a chunky yarn and it's lovely =)
Thank You very much for sharing with us!
May I ask if I wanted to adapt the pattern with a less chunky yarn (anyone tried before?), how can I add the number of cast-on stitches (multiple of 7)? Any inputs or suggestion on how to work on the pattern using different yarn maybe?
Anyways, awesome job! =D
February 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersheepdip
Hi Sheepdip,
As long as you have an odd number of cast on stitches the pattern will work. The stitch is called Seed Stitch and Whitney has included a nice detail to make the edge look tidy which is to slip the first stitch as if to knit. To adapt the pattern, cast on any odd number of stitches and work as follows:

Slip 1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * to end of row.
February 27, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just completed the 11th hr. scarf using size 36 circular needles and 3 skeins of the Blue Sky alpaca (bulky). I doubled the yarn, per the instructions, and it turned out beautifully. My only concern was that the scarf was only 56 inches in length, nowhere near the 70 inches. What caused the shortage?

thank you!
July 22, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersleepy
Hi Sleepy,
Sounds like your gauge might be a little tight which would cause the scarf to be smaller overall. You might want to try blocking it to see if it will relax a little and get a bit bigger.
July 22, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I saw several people asking for hats to go with this lovely scarf... has anyone come up with it yet. I bought some really pretty pink yarn to make the scarf, but need to find the needles. My LYS had the scarf knitted in a green and the pattern printed out.
July 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commentertrish
I think you mean for this to say

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise, [p1, k1] three times.

to consume the 7 stitches that are cast on.
August 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeri
Hi Jeri,
Its funny because it used to say that and then we changed it. I think you're right, but I'm going to change it to say

Row 1: Slip 1 knitwise, *p1, k1; repeat from * 2 times.

I think that should solve the problem!
August 21, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am new to knitting. Would it look different if I S1 purlwise? How would it look different? Thanks in advance.
November 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
I love this! And I would LOVE a matching hat pattern as well. Can't wait to get my big, fat needles so I can try this.
December 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarisa@make*happy
I just loved the pattern, its perfect for the yarn :)
I got Merino Wool from Manos del Uruguay and started the scarf to gift a friend!!!
Thank you so much for so beautiful things you produce and show to us!
January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCintia Pasini
This is such a great pattern and makes a really beautiful scarf. Thanks for sharing it!!
February 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKristen
I’m writing with 2 questions about the 11th Hour scarf pattern.

Your pattern calls for size 36 needles….

1. I had a hard time finding needles this size. I bought size 35 instead. Even though they are a size smaller than what is called for, they look so much bigger than the needles shown in the photo on your page. Do I have the right needles?

2. I used yarn that I thought was pretty thick, but the weave was still pretty loose, whereas the scarf in the picture looks light a nice tight weave. Did I just use yarn that was too thin?

Thank you for any advice you can offer!!

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersusan
Hi Susan,
Size 35 should be fine, they are very close to 36's.
If your weave is still very loose then either your yarn is too thin compared to the yarn that Whitney used here, or you forgot to double it through the pattern.

Please let us know if you need more help!
December 17, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
how do you handle the doubling if you are using one kine of of cascades magnum?
January 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermary-alice
Hi again.
I finished this scarf (my first!). Like Sleepy, though, my scarf came out much shorter...55". I tend to knit with a tight tension...I sort of pulled the yarn a bit to pick up the slack after every stitch. This probably explains it... But, when I tired knitting without doing that, the scarf looked much looser and "holier" than in the photo so I thought I should tighten the slack...


January 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersusan
Hello once more,
I think I just realized why my scarf is shorter:
I skein of Cascade Magnum is only 123 yards. 3 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca is 135. The difference of 12 yards is a likely explanation for the shorter scarf!

Mary-Alice...I just doubled the Cascade using each end of the yarn after the yarn store wound it into a ball for me.
January 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersusan
I will give it a try!
January 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermary-alice
I love the scarf! I see several have asked about the hat pattern but I didn't find an answer! Love it! Love your blog too! Too bad I live in Missouri!
November 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBecky
Hi Becky-

The hat isn't knit, it's a hat that Whitney bought years ago and it's sewn from plush material.

Thank you for your nice comment!
November 9, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Aaaw, I wish I could knit* - but I'll try to make one with a similar looking crochet pattern.
*if there was an award for failures in knitting, I'd surely deserve it.
November 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnke
Thank You so much for all the patterns and projects you provide. I have just purchased from Soho the materials to knit this scarf. I have not knitted in many years and am just coming back. The instructions state to knit this with double yarn. Does that also mean to cast on with double yarn? Also, I noticed the first row, cannot see the other end of the scarf in photo, appears to be garter stitch. Is that for a border? Is the other end of the scarf the same?
May 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVal Hall
Hi Val,

Yes, you do cast on with the yarn doubled. And, no, the first row isn't garter stitch. You just start right in with seed stitch!

Thanks for your questions and welcome back to knitting!

May 24, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this pattern. Can it be adapted to a less bulky yarn using smaller needles, say size 10 or 11?
September 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
Hi Betsy,

You're going to need to cast on more stitches. To determine how many, first make a gauge swatch (in seed stitch), figure out how many stitches you get per inch, multiply that number by the width of the scarf you'd like, and cast on that number (if it's an even number add or subtract one so that it's odd). Here's a tutorial on measuring gauge that you may find helpful:

I hope this helps get you on your way! Please let us know if you have any more questions and thanks for this one!

September 4, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I would like to make this all in circulars - joining the ends.

Could you please tell me:

- do I slip the first row - or knit one and slip one for the first and last row?
- how many stiches would I cast on to make the length (width) you have?

Many thanks!!
October 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi
I was trying to work on another so-called quick knit scarf pattern which called for 4 strands and that was a disaster b/c my yarn kept twisting...driving me crazy. I soon found a helpful tip to avoid the twisting by rolling my 4 strands of yarn into one huge ball and then start my project. l dreaded fooling around with that much yarn...I thought it would take forever to form my ball of yarn - but I finished in no time!

I ran across your site & decided to try this pattern instead, b/c it's prettier. I used my huge bowling ball of 4 strands of worsted weight yarn of different colors I liked & a pair of size US 35 needles.

Took my huge ball of yarn & giant needles, in my tote bag, to the dog park. I had so much fun knitting this pattern! In one hour while my dog enjoyed her time outside - I had my scarf knitted the length of your average scarf! I came home to double that length!!! It's gorgeous! Can't wait to wear it!

...and I'm thinking of making a few of these scarves as Christmas gifts. Thanks for sharing!
October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTree
HI Naomi,

To make a 70-inch cowl at 3/4 stitches to the inch, you would cast on 92 stitches, place a marker, and join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches. Then you would...
Round 1: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.
Round 2: *P1, k1, repeat from * to end of round.

You would just work the first and last rounds the same way you work the other rounds.

Thanks for asking and please let us know if you have any other questions!
October 21, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love the fast scarf - What I want to know is how to make the hat in the picture! THAT is adorable. Any clue?
November 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSheila
Hi Sheila-

This is an vintage hat and it's sewn from a faux fur material but we don't have any information on it beyond that!

Thank you for your question and sorry we can't be of any more help.

November 19, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Would love to get the pattern for the hat. Did the scarf and it was quck and easy!! Love it.
December 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSha
Don't usually read or write comments--I've been knitting for 50+ years--but glad I am reading this. Now I know what to do with my very bulky unspun Cowichan yarn I've hoarded for years. I enjoyed reading the questions and answers. Wish blogs like this were around when I was first knitting-- had to figure it out myself using trial and lots of error or wait until someone would drive me to Aunt Nellie's house. Of course there were no computers, so......Happy Holidays !
December 21, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlucham

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