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Laura's Loop: Men's Mini Herringbone Scarf

I have accumulated quite a bit of neckwear over the years. Some bright, some bulky, some sleek, lots ecru, but hands-down, what earns me the most compliments is my Big Herringbone Cowl, scooped off these pages of the Purl Bee!

It is undeniably wonderful. After making one for myself, I was hooked on herringbone. It creates a flat, woven-like fabric on one side while remaining quite lofty and full on the other. It has a fascinating texture with a hypnotizing rhythm, and its drape is just  beautiful. Considering this unique combination of characteristics, I had to have more herringbone!

My scarf counterpart to Whitney's cowl showcases a mini-herringbone pattern, bordered by slip stitch rib edges. To highlight the timelessness of herringbone, I knit this scarf with Swan's Island Worsted, a sumptuously soft organic wool inspired by the rugged traditions of coastal knitting. I hope you find this pattern as classic and handsome as Whitney's cowl is modern and chic!

The Materials

The Pattern


7 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in stitch pattern

Finished Dimensions

7 1/2 inches wide by 62 inches long

Pattern Abbreviations

Sl = slip
wyib = with yarn in back
wyif = with yarn in front

Pattern Notes

All slipped stitches are to be slipped purl-wise.

Mini Herringbone is always worked over an odd number of stitches.

Mini Herringbone Stitch Pattern

Wrong Side (WS): * P2tog and leave stitches on needle, purl the first stitch again and drop both stitches together from left-hand needle, repeat from * to last stitch, p1.

Right Side (RS): *Slip 1 with yarn in back, k1, then with left-hand needle raise up the slipped stitch as if to bind off but before dropping off right-hand needle, knit it and then drop from needle, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.


Cast on 55 stitches.

Row 1 (wrong side): Sl1 wyif, p1, k1, work in Mini Herringbone to last 3 stitches, k1, p2

Row 2 (right side): Sl1 wyib, k1, p1, work in Mini Herringbone to last 3 stitches, p1, k2

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 row until scarf measures approximately 61 1/2 inches or until desired length. Repeat Row 1 once more.

Bind off in pattern with RS facing. Instead of knitting the slipped stitch as you have done previously, just drop the slipped stitch of the right-hand needle without knitting it.

Weave in your ends and block if desired.

Reader Comments (148)

Love the look of the scarf and the border is a very nice touch
March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne
It looks terrific!
I would love to add it to my Ravelry queue, but I cannot find a Ravelry entry for this pattern.
Is there one?
March 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBummble
First of all, this is BEAUTIFUL! Thank you so much for sharing.
Second, doesn't this version (with the border) need to be worked over an even number of stitches? In essence you're adding 6 stitches to the mini herringbone basic stitch, but you're also taking away the purl and knit stitches at the very end of each row. All I know for sure though, is that I tried it with 55 and ended up with 4 stitches left on my left needle, not three. Help?
March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllison
Pattern row two is missing an asterisk. Where does it go?
March 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiane
Hi Bummble, Great question! I added it to Ravelry yesterday morning. Are you still having a hard time finding it? Let us know!! Thanks, Laura
March 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Diane. THANK YOU. I just added the asterisk. Thank you, thank you, thank you! --Laura
March 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Allison, Thank you for the kind words. As for the pattern... the Herringbone portion of the scarf is (and needs to be) worked over an odd number of stitches! Each Slip-Stitch Rib requires 3 stitches. So, 3 for the rib + 49 for the Mini Herringbone + 3 for the second rib = 55. Does this help? Please let me know if you are still stumped! Thanks for writing in. --Laura
March 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
What a lovely pattern. The scarf looks so cozy. I will secretly try to make one for my husband!
March 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria
Please disregard my totally mistaken previous message, sometimes I'm really too silly. Best wishes Rae
April 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRae
I love this version of the herringbone! It's so beautiful! I'm in the middle of another project but I had to break off to make a guage just to make sure I was doing it correctly! The only questions that I have now are where does one go to sort it out when one has dropped a stitch! :D and how I can work out reducing it if I want to the stitch for something else. THank you again!
April 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSiang
Hi Slang, Thanks for writing in. When I am knitting an unfamiliar pattern and ma confused as to how to un-do a mistake or pick up a dropped stitch, usually, very carefully, I pull a few stitches out very slowly, watching how the stitches interact with one another. After studying this, I can usually see the rhythm of the stitch pattern and find a spot to pick back up. Hope this helps! -Laura
May 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Where can I go for some videos or tutorials on using this pattern? I tried to follow this to the best of my ability, but my scarf doesn't look right! Thanks! PS - This is beautiful and I can't wait to wear it when I'm done!
June 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Hi Nicole-

Unfortunately there aren't any videos that we know of that use this pattern. Is there something specifically that you're having trouble with? Please let us know!

Thank you!

June 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this scarf! Beautiful!
I always have such a hard time figuring out yarn substitutions. I have some Savannah DK and wonder if it can be subbed for the worsted you used here. It looks to be a bit lighter weight. And it recommends using a smaller needle size. So, would I want to use the smaller needle size and add stitches? I always end up confusing my self! Any help you could give would be so appreciated! Thanks!
June 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelleykat
Hi! I'm about 7 inches in and although the scarf is beautiful it doesn't really look like herringbone...hmm. I wonder if my yarn substitution is throwing me off? If you don't mind taking a look I'd appreciate it so much -- next I want to do the big herringbone cowl, and I'd like to figure this out first. THANKS!
June 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret
Margaret... thanks for including the link. Your stitches look great. Keep it up and let us know how you like the Big Herringbone Cowl when you get to it. -Laura
June 26, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Would it be absolutely crazy of me to try to convert this pattern into a baby blanket?? I love the pattern and the drape so much. Thanks for you your input! *K
June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelli
Kelli... it would be amazing if you converted this into a baby blanket. It would be so cozy and beautiful. You could go up in yarn weight/needles to make it a little less time consuming. Please please lets us know how it goes! -Laura
June 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This scarf looks wonderful and I am planning to knit it for my father to give him when I visit at Christmas in the UK (I live in Australia). Quick question - do you by any chance have a pattern for a matching hat or beanie?
July 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy
Hey Tracy. So glad you like the pattern. And thanks for writing in. We do not currently have a pattern for a matching hat or beanie, but what a great idea! -Laura
July 10, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

thank you very much for sharing this pattern....i really love it...
i'm trying working on it but the problem is when i finished several rows e.g. <10 seems like the scraft is looks like in rhombus shape...instead of normal square...i did re-do it several times...but still have this problem...i feel like the middle of the scarf is too tight while the other two sides are this the reason? i'm looking forward to re-do it again by knitting it tighter at the beginning and in the end while knitting loosely in the middle. Not sure that i can fix it!
August 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchano
Hi Chano.
I am sorry you've had to start and re-start so many times. I am not sure why the scarf is slanting to one side. Sometimes, with certain stitch patterns, I have this issue. Usually it is just slight and after blocking the finished pieces, all is resolved. I am not sure that trying to adjust your tension is going to fix the problem. We knit how we knit and the best thing to do is be consistant.
Sorry to not be more help.
Let me know if you have better luck next time.
August 22, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

i've tried 25 stitches with a new yarn and it works!
Gonna try 55 stitches tonight :)
August 23, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterchano

I'm working on the herringbone cowl now; I love it! I love this too! I think I will knit it after the cowl. Do you have any other yarn recommendations that could substitute for swan's island? Thanks for sharing all of these gorgeous patterns!

September 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlivia
September 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm new to knitting, and I'm wondering about the border pattern. Do I pass the yarn behind the needles before I knit for the (S1, P1, K1)?
September 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCori
Hi Cori,
Great questions. On the wrong side, hold the yarn in the front while you slip the first stitch purl-wise, keep your yarn in the front to purl the following stitch, then take the yarn to the back to knit the next stitch.

On the right side, hold the yarn in the back while you slip the first stitch purl-wise, keep the yarn in the back to knit the following stitch, then bring it to the front to purl the next stitch.

Hope this helps!
September 17, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you, Laura!

My border is a little loose (any tips for making it look great like yours?), but it's definitely the right stitch now.
September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCori
Hi Cori.
So glad it's working.
As for the loose edge... Make sure to maintain a taut working yarn when you are slipping that first stitch.
Hope that helps. Thanks for writing in.
September 19, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

I absolutely love the pattern! I got pretty far in the knitting so far, however I accidentally slipped and it ruined the stitch. Now I'm not sure how to fix it. I'm not sure how to unravel it. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!
October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterShirley
Hi Shirley,
My best advice for this, and it goes for all stitch patterns, is to slide your needles out. Pull your working yarn slowly and carefully study how the stitches pull out. This will help you understand how to pick them back up. I know this is kind of vague, but hopefully it helps.
October 4, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you so much for sharing the pattern I made this scarf as a birthday present out of cashmere wool and it came out beautifully!
October 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
I just love this scarf pattern. And, now that I have the yarn on the needles .. I love it even more! Thank you so much. I am making two for Christmas gifts .. I'm sure the recipients will be pleased. I'm using the yarn you recommended .. one in Seasmoke and the other in Shale .. it knits up beautifully. Again, thank you for posting this pattern.
October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice
Can you confirm for me, in the instruction as below, work in Mini Herringbone to last 3 stitches, k1, p2

Row 1 (WS): Sl1 wyif, p1, k1, work in Mini Herringbone to last 3 stitches, k1, p2

but when you go to the Mini Herringbone instructions, says repeat pattern to the last stitch then p1

So really you would repeat until last 4 stitches so you could p1, then k1, p2

same for row 2
October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan
Hi Susan,
The last stitch of the Mini Herringbone stitch is p1. Then you work the last three stitches: k1, p2. The last three stitches create the edge detail.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
October 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I am a little confused Purl Bee :) new to knitting (jus finished my first project :) after the first * on ws do I purl one each time I finish herringbone stitch pattern? I guess same ? for ws, one knit stitch after each herringbone pattern? This is like learning new language! :) any suggestions for a scarf for a eight year old girl? Sorry so many ?'s.

November 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterConnie
Hi, I',m also new to knitting but this seems to be a good next step into starting something more challenging. There are some questions that keep nagging at me before I start it and mess it up again.

For the WS rows, once I finish S1 P1 K1 then go into the repeating P2tog.. I noticed the yarn is in the back because of the K1. Should I turn it over to the front for *P2tog? I've only done stockinette stitch and ribbed scarves so far so I wasn't sure if turning the yarn over for any type of purl stitch is implied knowledge and what all knitters should do..
November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Hi Karen. Welcome to knitting! Hope you're loving it.
After you Sl1, P1, K1, then you should bring your yarn between your needles to the front of your work in order to being the Mini Herringbone Pattern, just as you did between the P1 and K1 at the beginning of the row .When you say 'turn your yarn over' I am assuming you mean bring it to the front or to the back. Do not turn your work, however, until you have reached the end of the row.
Please please please let me know if you have any questions at all. This isn't a hard pattern, but it is a leap from stockinette and ribbing. I'm very impressed!
November 5, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Help....I just can't seem to "get" the right side of the mini herringbone. I don't understand what or how you "lift" the slip stitch and then knit it. Could you explain it in different words. I've made the herringbone cowl with no issues, but this mini herringbone is not getting through my brain.
November 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn
I'm attempting to start this scarf but I keep goofing on the RS because when I try to knit into the slipped stitch, I find that the yarn gets very tight and hard to maneuver. Should I be knitting into the same stitch every time? Am I over thinking the pattern or doing something wrong?
November 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNoelle

I really love this scarf and want to knit it for my boyfriend, but I do have a question.
I am using 100% merino wool yarn for needles 6-7mm. I made swatches with both 8 and 9mm and cannot decide which is better. I know that you are supposed to use one needle up (so the 8mm needle), but the swatch feels rather stiff. The 9mm swatch seems more soft and fluffy, but a bit loose. Your version of this scarf seems so soft and the drape looks amazing, I am just afraid that when I use the 8mm needles, the drape will be not nice.
What do you recommend? I am turning my family crazy trying to get their opinion :)
November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSinFan
Hi there, this pattern is beautiful! I want to make a lap blanket using this pattern. How many stitches I need for the herringbone? I'll then cast on a multiple of ? + 6. Hope I'm making sense :). Thanks again!
November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMeems
Hi Meems-

All you need to do is cast on an uneven number of stitches. You can make is as large or small as you want!

Thank you!

November 15, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Noelle.
Sorry you are struggling with the pattern. With this stitch, sometimes it is helpful to go up a needle size, which should relieve some of the tautness. Also, sometimes it just takes a few rows to get the rhythm. Has it gotten any easier? Let me know if I can help more.
Thanks for writing in,
November 15, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Carolyn,
Slip one stitch, then knit the next stitch. Now look at your right-hand needle, slip the tip of the left-hand needle purl-wise into the stitch farthest right on the right-hand needle. Lift it up as if to slip it off the needle, but just before you slip it off, knit it.
I hope this helps.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
November 15, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,
thanks for that last explanation of the RS stitches.
When you say "Lift it up as if to slip it off the needle, but just before you slip it off, knit it."
I'm wondering whether you knit it purl-wise or if you end up getting a "twisted" knitted stitch..?
(sorry if it doesnt make sense..)
Greetings from Norway
November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarit
Hi Marit.
Your question totally makes sense! And ask as many as you have. That's why we're here. So. When you are grabbing that slipped stitch with the left-hand needle, insert the left-hand needle into the front of the slipped stitch. That way it won't be twisted when you knit it. Let me know if this helps or not.
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi SinFan.
I know what you mean about driving our family crazy. Sometimes it's just so hard to decide. I tend to like my knits a bit tighter than other people do. Whitney (of Whit's Knits) is always suggesting I go up a needle size). If you feel the larger needle creates a fabric with holes then perhaps go with the smaller size needle. Knits tend to bloom and grow a bit once worn, so the scarf with drap more and more with wear. Does this help?
Hope it turns out to your liking!
November 16, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I really want to make this scarf, it's beautiful, but I just don't see the same pattern coming through on mine, as the images you've provided. I have no idea where I'm going wrong! I feel that I'm stitching a completely different pattern by accident Is there somewhere I could upload a close up photo? I'm wondering if it's the yarn I've chosen to test with or if I'm reading an instruction wrong... feeling a little disappointed :(
November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay
Hello Lindsay.
I am sorry you are disappointed. I am not sure which step of the pattern is causing the problem. Is your yarn machine spun? Hand spun yarns look quite different in this stitch. Is your gauge correct? When knit loose, the fabric can have gaps or holes. I do not have more zoomed in image.
Please let me know if I can help you out in any other way.
November 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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