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Whit's Knits: Checkerboard Lace Scarf

I love this pattern because it's made up of just basic yarn overs, knit two togethers and slip slip knits. Never will you have to purl three together through the back loop or slip one, knit two together, pass the slipped stitch over. The simple geometry of the pattern also makes it really easy to catch mistakes.

Made out of The Fibre Company's Canopy, a fingering weight yarn that is 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino and 20% bamboo, it makes a perfect spring scarf. The alpaca contributes a soft drape, while the merino adds bounce and life. The bamboo gives a subtle luster to the whole thing.


The Materials

  • 3 skeins of The Fibre Company's Canopy Fingering/Sport, 50% baby alpaca, 30% merino and 20% bamboo. This color is Sasparilla. (I used two and a half skeins. If you want to cast on 10 fewer stitches or make your scarf 12 inches shorter than this one, 2 skeins would be enough.)
  • US #7 needles, straight or circular. I used a 24 inch Skacel Addi Lace needle and highly recommend it. The sharp point of Addi's lace needles makes lace knitting a whole lot easier!


The Pattern


5 1/4 stitches = 1 inch in the checkerboard lace pattern, unblocked

Finished Size

10 inches wide x 70 inches long, after blocking


This pattern can be worked over any number of stitches that is a multiple of 10 plus 8, ie 18, 28, 38, etc.


Cast on 58 stitches.

Knit 4 rows.

Row 1 and every odd numbered row: K2, purl to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 2: K6, *yo, ssk, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2.

Row 4: K2, *k3, (yo, ssk) 2 times, k1, k2tog, yo, repeat from * to last 6 stitches, k6.

Row 6: K4, *(yo, ssk) 3 times, k4, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, yo, ssk, k2.

Row 8: K3, *(yo, ssk) 4 times, k2, repeat from * to last 5 stitches, yo, ssk, k3.

Row 10: Repeat Row 6.

Row 12: Repeat Row 4.

Row 14: Repeat Row 2.

Row 16: K2, k2tog, yo, *k4, (k2tog, yo) 3 times, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, k4.

Row 18: K3, k2tog, yo, *k2, (k2tog, yo) 4 times, repeat from * to last 3 stitches, k3.

Row 20: Repeat Row 16.

Repeat Rows 1-20 until piece measures 60 inches from the cast on edge (it will become 70 inches when you block it), ending with Row 5.

Knit 4 rows.

Bind off loosely.

Gently block your scarf and you're done!


Reader Comments (94)

I love this scarf, VERY PRETTY!
April 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnna O'Reilly
What do you mean by 'blocking the scarf?"
April 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Hi Melissa,
Here is our tutorial on blocking knitting, its something you definitely want to do with lace knitting to even out your stitches:
April 2, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Very very pretty and simple. Thank you for sharing! I'm interested in this pattern for my bridesmaids' shawls .. any quick tips on how to knit this up in a triangular piece?
April 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMay
I am not clear how you can either use circular OR straight needles. If you use circular are you then knitting in the round? Do you finish differently?
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
it's very pretty. thanks for sharing.
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlynette
This is beautiful! I think I'm going to have my "teacher" give me another knitting lesson so I can try this (chuckle). The photography is stunning as well. Thank you for generously sharing the pattern. :)
April 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGreta
Your scarf is gorgeous. I like the yarn you used for it.
April 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonika
This pattern looks great! I can't wait to give it a shot!

I went to queue it on Ravelry, and had a bit of a hard time of it. is it possible to name your blog entries so that they can more easily queue-able on Ravelry? If not, it's no big deal, I'll still find them, just thought it might be helpful...
April 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn
Hi Jenn,
Thanks so much for your comment. We would love to hear more about what you mean. If you could maybe give an example or two of what would make a pattern name more queue-able vs. what we've been doing we are all ears!
Thanks again! --Joelle
April 5, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is a beautiful scarf. Thanks for sharing the pattern. I'm adding it to my list of next projects, right after I finish a pair of toddler socks. I will definitley add it to my queue on ravelry too!
April 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSharon
I just queued the scarf on Ravelry..... what a lovely and simple pattern! I have a lot of sock yarn that would be perfect for it. Thank you.
April 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermelanie
That's gorgeous. Will have to have a go sometime soon!
April 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterIsobel
the Fibre Company Canopy Fingering yarn is sold out in your store! Can you recommend a replacement yarn?

April 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLori
Hi there, love this pattern and have just started it with canopy (loving the internet and getting these fantastic yarns sent from overseas!). Just wondering if you have a list of 'standard' abbreviations, as I am reasonably new to knitting and some of the abbreviations I know (or thought I knew) are not what is used on here. Thanks heaps!!
April 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Hi Karen,
We have this list of terms:

Also, for a really complete list, check here with the Craft Yarn Council for their list of standard abbreviations:

Hope this helps!
April 22, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Am I the only one having trouble with this pattern? I have now gotten about five inches down, and ripped it out 5 times! I will be going along fine, only to suddenly find I have lost one or two stitches for no reason I can determine. I have made many projects in the past, but this one has me stumped! Help!
May 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWendy
Hi Wendy,
We are happy to help out, but we'll need a little more info. Can you tell us what row you're losing the stitches on? Is it the same row every time? Were the 5 inches you did looking right? Any other info you can provide? If we can figure out where you're having the problem we should be able to help you solve it!
May 7, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks so much! I even put in "Life Lines!" I was able to correctly do at least one full 20 row rotation without mistakes, but I think that I run into trouble someplace between rows 16 and 20. I think that rows 16 and 18 in particular have been giving me the trouble.
May 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterWendy
This is really pretty. I just bought yarn for it to start for a present for my mom. I knit a swatch of one pattern repeat and it took me nearly 2 hours! Yipes! I guess this will be a long term project for me!

Thanks for the pattern though, it seems very clear and easy to follow.
May 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaige
Love the pattern! I am just starting to become a bit more adventurous with knitting patterns and have a question about using either circular or straight needles. Like Lisa, I don't understand how the pattern should be read. If I am using straight needles for the pattern as written, do I knit the reverse stitches for every alternative row as I will knitting on the wrong side? I understand that with circular needles, you always knit on the right side. Is this correct?
May 23, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
I've run into a problem with this pattern. On row 2 of the lace pattern, the repeated part takes 13 stitches. 13 times 4 repeats (52), plus the k6 (6) and k2 (2) border make 60 stitches, not the 58 that I originally cast on.

Am I doing the repeated lace pattern incorrectly? Or is there an error in the pattern or cast-on number?

Thank you. I love the picture of this scarf and can't wait to finish my own copy.
June 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeeyun
Hi Jeeyun,

The repeated part actually only takes 10 stitches: 2 for the ssk, 1 for the k1, 4 for the two k2tog's, and 3 for the k3. (2+1+4+3=10) Repeated 5 times, this section equals 50, plus k6 and k2 equals 58.

I'm not sure how you're arriving at 13 stitches for the repeated part, but I hope this lights a bulb!

Thank you for asking and for making the project!

June 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpurlbee
Ah! I learned that I've been making a mistake with 'yo.' I've been doing a 'yo k1' for 'yo' forever ... Thank you for clearing this up for me! This explains sooo many previous project mishaps for me. :)
June 10, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjeeyun
Hi -
Is the (k2tog, yo) (row 2, 16, 18) saying yarn over and knit two together or knit two together and then yarn over? Does that make sense? Knitting two together with a yarn over versus knitting two together , then bringing my yarn over and knitting the next stitch.
July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKirsten
Hi Kirsten,
It is saying, Knit two together and then yarn over, so knit 2 together, then bring your yarn over.
Hope this helps!
July 8, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love your scarf thanks for sharing, can't wait to make it.
August 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPat
I am trying to knit this scarf, but everytime I do row 2, I seem to end up with 3 stitches at the end instead of 2. Can someone please help.

I am doing the following: Knit 6 *(yo) yarn over, ssk (slip stitch knitwise?), K1 (knit one),
then (knit 2 tog, yarn over) 2 times (I assume this means the 2 times refers to the instruction in brackets?, Knit 3 repeat from * to last 2 stitches - I end up with 3 stitches to end! Hellllllp
November 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Pearson
Hi LInda,
It sounds like you are not doing the ssk the right way which is a left slanting decrease. To do an ssk you slip 2 stitches knitwise and then knit them together. Here is a link to our tutorial on ssk:

Hope this solves your problem, but if not, please let us know and we'll be happy to help you further!
November 5, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I absolutely love this pattern, it is SO very pretty. However, I am having a problem with the pattern. I am doing the scarf with 28 stitches, and I am running out of stitches on the second row of the lace pattern.

K6, *yo, ssk, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k3 repeat from * to last 2 stitches, k2

When I begin to do the repeat from *, I only get halfway through the repeat before I am out of stitches.

Any hints?
November 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
Hi Alison,
There are a couple of things that come to mind that could be causing your shortage of stitches. First, when you do your yarn over, simply wrap the yarn over the needle, a yo does not include any knitting (this is sometimes an issue for new knitters, if this is not your issue, read on). Second, the pattern says (k2tog, yo) 2 times, this means 2 times for only the part in the brackets not from the beginning of the row, or from the star.

If neither of these two solutions fix your problem maybe this will help: If you analyze the pattern you'll see that after the knit 6 and before the knit 2 at the end that the repeat takes 10 stitches, so you should have just the right amount with 28 to do the repeat twice. For instance:

yo (takes 0 stitches), ssk (takes 2 stitches), k1 (1 stitch), k2tog, yo 2 times (4 stitches), k3 (3 stitches) = 10 stitches.

Hope this helps!
November 8, 2009 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I just wanted to say that I love this pattern! I've been knitting it up for a scarf for myself the past couple of weeks and it's one of my first proper forays into anything resembling lace patterns - I was nervous about trying it, but i'm so glad I did.

Can't wait to have my scarf finished and keeping me warm :)
January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKnitMinion
Thank you very much :)
January 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSylvie
ok. it took me a long time, as a new knitter on my first lace project. but i love it. i made my share of mistakes (and left them in, chalking them up to "quaint and charming" - yeah right), but still turned out so very prettily.
thank you, so much!
May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertbell
Beautiful scarf! LOVE the color and the yarn looks so amazingly soft.
August 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSally
I just finished this scarf a few weeks ago and it's beautiful. I love the pattern. My only problem is with the blocking. My edges were curling under but I figured a bit of blocking would help that. I wet it, pinned it out on a beach towel, and hung it over the shower curtain. Once it was completely dry, I unpinned it and the edges curled right back up again. Any tips?
October 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhannah
making this for my sister for Christmas. New to knitting, and this is my first lace pattern. I knitted about 30 rows until I figured out I was totally doing the YO incorrectly. Thank goodness for the comments and advice on here. I'm learning from books, and the tips and pointers here cleared things up. I "frogged" the whole thing, started over--and so far so good :)
November 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrant
Thank you so much for this pattern! I'm *not* new to knitting, but I haven't ever felt comfortable picking up a lace project. I saw this scarf, and thought it looked both elegant and simple (which is necessary for one's ego when knitting their first lace project, I think ^_^ ). I'm extremely happy with it already, and I only cast on about an hour ago.

I will say that I ignored your advice about the needles and grabbed a trusty old set of bamboo size 7 straights, and got about 5 rows into the scarf before I understood why you'd recommended sharper needles. *sigh* I will learn to listen to pattern makers one of these days. ;-)

Hannah - use lace blocking wires, and block the scarf on a stable surface (not a beach towel that isn't anchored to anything). Try pinning it to your bed if you have no other place to block it.
November 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany
So, I figured out some of my errors, but I am still trying to figure out how you get 10 stiches in the repeat of pattern row 2, yo - 1, ssk - 2, k1 - 1, k2tog - 2, yo - 1, k2tog - 2, yo - 1, k3 - 3, that is 13, not 10. What am I missing?

November 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynne Skillin
Hi Lynne,
It is 10 because you are taking one away in each decrease, but adding one in the yo- so you don't count the second stitch in the decrease.
Hope this helps!
November 27, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Ah, I was doing YO with a K1 and that was adding an extra stitch. Thanks for your time. So looking forward to seeing the pattern take shape!
November 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynne Skilin
I have some quesions regarding yarn and needle - since I live in Berlin, Germany, I need to find a substitute for Canopy. Looking up more details on it, I became insecure wether Canopy worsted is ment or Canopy fingering/sport. I assume it should be fingering/sport, but the needle size made me hesitate. Shall I look for an alpacka-merino-bamboo-yarn with 200 yards by 50 gram and use needlesize US7 (4.5mm)? (Suggested for the yarn was US 1-3, therefore my question.) I would be very greatful for an answer! I'm so much looking forward to getting started with this beautiful scarf!
December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina
Hi Christina,
When we published this story there was no Canopy Worsted only Canopy Fingering which is why the materials don't mention it (I'll fix that now). It's knit on the loose side for the yarn to emphasize the drape of the fiber. Your best bet would be to use the yarn that Whitney used which you can find at the link below, or something as close to it as you can find.
Hope this helps! --Joelle
December 2, 2010 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you Joelle for quick and helpful answer! Time to get out in the snow to look for yarn! /Christina
December 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChristina
so pretty, i queued this scarf on my ravelry account and am finally starting it for my mom - hope to finish it by christmas - thanks for the pattern
December 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarah c
Thank you so much for this pattern, pearl bee. It's beautiful. Thank you also to everyone who has asked questions. This was my first lace project and I ran into many (if not all) of the problems my fellow knitters did. Reading you work through your own quandaries helped immensely. I can now proudly say that I can properly do a YO and knit a lace project. Cheers!
January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRiah
Thank you so much for this scarf guys - it was my first lace project, and despite a number of restarts it turned out brilliantly - and made my nan very happy with her present! It looks great :)
February 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
I love this scarf! I've made it three times for different friends. It is enough of a pattern to keep your mind a bit busy, but easy enough to get it in your head. Thanks so much for this and all of your lovely patterns.
March 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermary
nearing the end and the scarf is beautiful!
how do you recommend blocking it?
would you use blocking wires?
October 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersusan k
Hi Susan K,

I personally never use blocking wires or pins. I'm sure you can talk to lots of other knitters who swear by their methods, but this is how I do it!...

First, I soak the finished piece in warm water with very mild soap (I love Soak because you don't have to rinse it, and it really makes your piece softer! You can find it here: ). Then I roll it up in a towel and squeeeeeze. Then I lay it out on a new dry towel and arrange all the edges just how I want them, and it always dries just how I left it!

Thanks for making the scarf - I'm so happy you like it! And thank you for your question!

October 6, 2011 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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