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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)

Hej purl bee!
1st of all, thank u for sharing this awesom pattern. im in love with it just at the first sign ^^ my plan s knitting 1 for my honey for xmas & his coming birthday. but seems like it will never can become true Y__Y
im horribly bad at following text instruction. i did try to make the Big herringbone cowl (for myself) at first by following the text instruction but failed, then i tried it again with your VIDEO & surprisingly i found it not too difficult at all. but with this Mini one i got to struggle a lot & yet i couldnt get it right :(
could u guys or anyone who succeed with this pattern please please please make a video tutorial for the stupid me :-p i would appreciate it tooonnnnssssss. i really wanna be able to finish it b4 xmas for my baby :)

again, thanks :)
December 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermarta8tk
Hi Marta8tk-

I'm afraid we don't have the capability to produce a video tutorial for this pattern at the moment but we are happy to help you through any issues. Is there something specific you're having problems with in this pattern?

December 2, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
This is my second-time knitting (the first failed attempt was horrible, the second time has a lot of holes in it as I wasn't careful when knitting).

Is there any way for you to show us a video for it just for two rows as I am a little clueless with your instructions (I picked up knitting via videos on youtube so I am really, really bad with written instructions).

Love love love your website and especially this entry too! Hoping to get it done for my boyfriend's Christmas present!

December 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaulynn
Hi Paulynn,
I'm afraid we don't have the capability to produce a video tutorial for this pattern at the moment but we are happy to help you through any issues. Is there something specific you're having problems with in this pattern?
Thank you so much for the kind words about the website.
December 5, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Okay., I am one of those struggling with the "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" part.
I left it up and raise it like you say as if to bind off but I can't figure out how you knit it. I mean do you just wrap the working yarn around the right needle and pull the slipped stitch through? Or do I somehow use the right needle to knit into the slipped stitch? I just am not getting it. I hope you can help because I really, really love this pattern and want to make this scarf.
December 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlecia
Hi Alecia,
You are correct, you simply wrap the working yarn around the right needle and pull the slipped stich off the needle.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
December 12, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello, I love you mini herringbone men scarf, but if I knit it it looks total different.
Doesn't matter I will just keep trying to find the right sort of wool and I am sure in the end it will work out. I was also confused about your pattern, but I found on youtube a post from Loop Yarn ( and it shows exactly what your pattern describes..... Ok not the begin stiches, but I think a lot of people can get the hang of it once they have seen how this stich works.
I love your mini herringbone stich because it is much smoother than the big herringbone stich. Thank you for putting this on the web.
December 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJet

First of all, can I just say how much I love this website! I've lost track of the number of things I want to make, and all your patterns are so clearly laid out with such beautiful illustrations. This scarf was my first venture, and my boyfriend absolutely loves it, but I've noticed now he's wearing it that it curls up at the edges. I'm in the UK so couldn't get hold of the recommended yarn, so my substitution has perhaps caused the problem, but I thought it might be worth asking if this curling was normal in herringbone stitch so I know in future? Also, I didn't block the scarf (I'm a lazy knitter that way), but wondered if that might also be a way to solve the problem. I'd be grateful for any advice (although if the advice is to block I might have to steal the scarf away from my other half in the night...).

Thanks in advance!
December 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane
Thank you so much for your kind words. It is wonderful to hear you're enjoying the site! As for the scarf... I am shocked to hear it is curling. Even without blocking, mine lays quite flat. I would definitely try blocking it, that will relax the stitches perhaps easing tension from the edges.
Write us again about this or any other projects!
Thanks again,
December 21, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for this beautiful pattern! I've been enjoying making it, and the only problem I have so far is actually the "rhombus" problem that a previous commenter mentioned, where the completed scarf is at a slant. I was hoping the more rows I knitted, the less slant would occur, but it is continuing. Do you have any idea what I might be doing wrong? Thank you again!
December 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
i finished knitting this scarf the day before christmas-just in time! i left it on a stitch holder to let my husband see if it would be long enough. it was, and now i've just binded (bound?) off. i knit the last two stitches together to avoid that weird corner that you sometimes get when binding off; worked perfectly! the only problem i had was either i didn't keep the yarn taut enough when slipping the knit stitches over, or i stretched out the slipped stitches; i have little loops on the bind off edge. but it's not too bad! love the pattern! it did take a few starts and restarts to get the hang of it, but once i did, it was an easy knit! thanks, purl bee!
December 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteramber
I'm giving this scarf a go after falling in love with the herringbone pattern! I'm a pretty experienced knitter and have never had any problems with new patterns but I'm afraid I'm misinterpreting something in the RS sequence: I'm confused about knitting into the slip stitch because when I do this, the pattern doesn't look right and the stiches look more like stockinette than anything else. :/
I've looked for video tutorials, but there seems to be so many variations on how to do this pattern, I can't find the exact one. Please help!
December 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
Hi Jennifer,
I'm so glad you like the scarf. Sorry to hear it is taking on a shape of its own. When I knit the scarf, it did take a slightly slanted shape. It was only slight though, and squared up when I blocked it. Is your scarf very slanted / rhombus-like?
Thanks for writing in.
December 28, 2012 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
There was a question WAY back about the person getting a rhombus, instead of a rectangle. This might be because they're using an unbalanced yarn. This stitch really needs a ply-ed yarn, rather than a single. And, if you handspin, don't use overspun yarn, or it will pull into a non-rectangular shape.
January 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

This pattern was perfect for me as a rusty/novice knitter and looks so classy! I have run into a problem now at the end of the scarf though...I'm binding off the scarf but it looks pretty funky. It seems too loose and the end is wavy instead of laying flat. There are also visible gaps between the yarn--it's not a solid block of knitting, there are holes in between the stitches (just for the last row).

My understanding of the pattern was that I needed to knit a last WS row, and then do the bind-off instead of a last RS row. As for the binding-off method, I knit in pattern for the first three stitches, and have been doing the regular knit two, slip the first stitch over the second method of binding off. Have not knit in a long time so I don't know what the problem is--do you have any idea?

Thanks in advance!!
January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Hi Amy,
Thank you for the kind works about the scarf. I am sorry it is giving you trouble. You are correct about binding off in pattern on the Right Side. This means... you will bind off the first two stitches in knit and the third stitch in purl, from there, you continue in pattern, so, you will slip one, then knit one, bind off that slipped stitch, but rather than knitting it, as you have done in the previous RS rows, you will just drop it off the needle. Continue binding off in pattern, the last three will be bound off in purl, knit and knit. Does this help at all? Please write back if you want further help!
January 7, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I think my nephew would love this, but he lives in California. Any suggestions for a lighter weight yarn that would still show the beautiful pattern?
January 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
Hi Cindy,

I think I would try....
Sweater which is a cotton blend: or perhaps Blue Sky's Skinny Cotton

You might have to go up a needle size for the Sweater and down one for the Skinny Cotton, but I think that these would be nice yarn options for the warmer climates.

Thanks for your interest. Hope your nephew likes it.
January 23, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,
I just finished this beautiful scarf (using Cascade Eco Duo) but am having trouble with the binding off. I just don't get what you mean by slipping the stitch off. After the (edge) two knit stitches and the purl stitch are bound off, there is one stitch on the right needle. Is that considered the first slip stitch? And if I slipping that off the right needles rather than knitting it, am I slipping it over the left stitch? How do I bind it off without slipping it over? That seems to create the holes that an earlier knitter wrote about.
Just can't figure this out. Many thanks.
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSabina
Great pattern! How would the Mini Herringbone stitch pattern's WS be converted to knit in the round? Thanks!!
February 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertawana
Hi Sabina,
For the body of the scarf, when working the Right Side (and not including the edge), you slip a stitch off your right-hand needle, but just before doing so, you knit it. For the bind off row, you slip that stitch off your needle, and you don't knit it before doing so.

Including the edge, that row goes, knit 2, bind first stitch off, purl 1, bind second stitch off, slip one, bind purl stitch off, knit one, bind slipped stitch off, slip one, bind knit stitch off.... make sense?

Please let me know if I can clarify more!
Thanks for your interest in the pattern.
February 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Tawana,

Unfortunately, at the moment, we do not have the resources to re-work this pattern for knitting in the round. Have you seen the Herringbone Cowl though? It was my inspiration! It is a different herringbone and larger in scale, but it is a massively popular project. Here is a link to it:

Thanks for writing in.
February 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thanks, Laura! I appreciate your response!
February 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertawana
What type of bind off are you using? Is it the l-cord? If so how are you managing to get it to go all the way around the scarf? I'm new to knitting and still learning how to read patterns...
February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTami
I am wondering which type of cast on is the best one to use for this scarf. I am using size 10 needles and the Swan Island yarn as recommended
February 9, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterzmoyo
HI Zandy,
I used a long tail cast on. You can find a tutorial for this method right here...
February 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I simply enjoy your site. I really want to make this scarf but I'm confused. I knit the European way, holding the yarn in my left hand. I'm a seasoned knitter and readily admit that I'm mechanically challenged at times--this is one of those times.

On WS,, I can P2tog and leave stitches on [left] needle, purl the first stitch again -- then this is where I am stuck -- "and drop both stitches together from left-hand needle."

I have visions of dropped stitches that hang out there and start to unravel...I looked at video tutorials on dropping a stitch but the result doesn't match with this result!

How do I drop them?

Thank you.
February 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynne
Thanks for the lovely pattern. I'm enjoying the knitting and am about 20 rows in. The herringbone is coming out beautifully. But, I'm getting holes between the border and the herringbone section. The holes are larger on one side than the other. Any ideas what is causing this? I think I'm going to frog and start over again. Thanks!
February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRashida
Hi Lynne,
Holding the yarn in the right or left, you should be getting the same results here. So we'll figure it out together!

On the WS you will purl two stitches together, but do not drop them off the left-hand needle as you would if you were decreasing normally. Instead, after purling them together, purl the first stitch again. And now you can left them fall off the left-hand needle because you have created two new stitches on the right-hand needle.

Does that help?
Please ask me any other questions you have!
February 20, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Rashida,
I definitely had teeny little gaps between the herringbone portion of the fabric and the faux i-cord edge. These gaps hid in the purl row though and were not too big or visible. Are your holes very large? Since you mentioned they are bigger on one side than the other, it makes me think that you probably don't knit and purl with the exact same tension, which is extremely common. Are the holes so big that blocking would not ease them a bit?
February 20, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

Thank you for the response. I think it is a matter of tension as well. I think that blocking will definitely take care of the side with the smaller holes. That's the edge that you slip on the RS. The edge that you slip on the WS I think is too big for blocking. In general, both of the edge look a little loosey goosey, and not as neat as I would like. I get nervous about messing with the tension, though. I'm never sure if trying to hold the working yarn tighter will make things look neater, or just make the holes between the stitches look bigger.

Thanks again!
February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRashida
Beautiful!!!! However, I'm trying the pattern but it doesn't look anything like yours :(

I knit left handed, maybe that's the reason? Does anyone have a "fix" for lefties for this pattern? (Eg: when I knit cable I have to put the cable stitches on the opposite side from what the pattern says).

Thanks in advance!
February 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
I posted a comment (question) a couple days ago. I have not heard back. I was able to answer my own question. No need to respond.
February 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLynne
Hi Lauren,
I am sorry the pattern isn't coming out how you'd like. I don't believe you would have to change any steps due to the hand in which you hold the yarn, but I say that having not yet tried it. I can knit both ways, but I tend to knit English not Continental.

Is there a specific line you are struggling with?
Just curious, how do you typically bind off?
February 21, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello, I'm having trouble understanding the pattern, when I mix the instructions from 1st or 2nd row + mini herringbone stitch.

SO, if I mix them together, would it be like this?

Row 1 (WS): Sl1 wyif, p1, k1, * P2tog and leave stitches on needle, purl the first stitch again and drop both stitches together from left-hand needle, repeat from * to last 4 stitches, p1, k1, p2

Row 2 (RS): Sl1 wyib, k1, p1, *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 4 stitches, k1, p1, k2

Is that right?

Thank you so much for the patter and help!
March 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVee
Hi Vee,

That is exactly right!
Let me know how it goes for you.
March 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I'm about an inch in and one of my corners is kinda slanted =/

So, I'm thinking that I'll restart it, but I'd like to avoid this problem in the future..

Any advice would be awesome!

Photo so you can see what it looks like:

- Mindy
April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMindy
Ciao Laura,
I can't tell you how much I love this pattern. I was looking for a scarf pattern for my husband and decided to make a sample swatch of this to see if he liked it and I fell in love! It's so easy and (with the right yarn weight) looks fabulous. I'm not ready to start the scarf yet but I couldn't resist adapting it to use with cables on a small headband for my daughter ( Thanks for the inspiration and I'm looking forward to making the scarf as my next fall project!
All the best,
Hello Mindy,
Thank you for providing a photo. It's helpful to see the issues at hand.

I did not have a problem with slanting. Slight slanting is not unusual and should come out in the blocking process. Do you know if you knit and purl with different tension? This could be the cause of the strong slant. Most people do. Knitting and purling with the exact same tension is rare. A large difference between the two can cause some unwanted shaping depending on the stitch.

I am not sure if this helps or not,
Please let me know if you have other questions.
April 10, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
What a wonderful application of the stitch pattern.
Thanks for sharing. And thanks for the kind words.
April 10, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

I probably was, I'm a fairly new knitter and I haven't yet mastered how to get the correct tension. However, I restarted it with the tension somewhat slack and it is much better =D

Thank you for your speedy reply, I'll be sure to pay more attention to my tension in the future.

- Mindy
April 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMindy
I have been looking for a classic pattern to knit a scarf for my brother. What I am really looking for is a pattern for a scarf he can wear with his winter dress coat. He is really not the outdoor, chunky scarf kind of guy. I want to do this in a kind of cashmere, silk blend yarn. Before I buy this yarn, I need some guidance in figuring out how much I should buy. I know I have to change needle size not to get guage but to get the fabric I am looking for. I also need to change number of stitches cast on. I need a scarf about 5" wide. How do I take this info and determine the amount of yarn I need?
May 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAbigail
Hi Abigail.
Let me see if I can help. Those are a lot of changing factors so what I am about to say is just an estimation.
1. You will cast on an odd number plus 6 (3 stitches worked at each side, which will add about about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch to your total width).

2. This scarf is 7 1/2 inches wide. If you wanted it 5 inches wide, that's 1/3 less. This scarf used approximately 500 yards... you were were knitting at the same gauge, you would need 300 yards. If you go with a thinner yarn, you will need more, thicker yarn, less.

As for yarn substitutions... Jade Sapphire's 6-ply cashmere would be a wonderful sub (but of course it does not have silk in it). Another sub would be Manos' Silk Merino Blend (but it is hand-spun and might not be as refined looking as you'd like). Both would require a slight needle change, but you could figure that out when swatching.

Abigail, if you swatch or pick a yarn and have more questions, please let me know. What a lucky brother you have to have a generous, knitting sister!
May 6, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
hey! i'm a little confused about what you mean with the "with yarn in the back" and "with yarn in the front" if its purled, wouldn't i assume the yarn will always be at the back? i'm pretty new at this btw :) thanks!
May 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentersylvia
Hi Sylvia.

When purling, the yarn is typically held in the front. When knitting the yarn is typically held int he back.

Above you are to slip a stitch at the beginning of each round. On the right side you slip it with the yarn in back because the next stitch is a knit and so the yarn in then in the right place. Same thing goes for the back, you slip with the yarn in front so that the yarn is ready for the following purl stitch.

Does that help?!?!
May 21, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Please can you send some photos because I can't understand the pattern and is so pretty
I'd love to wear a scarf like yours, is beautiful, I'll apreciate so much thanks
July 3, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteralicia larrain
Thank you for your beautiful pattern and wonderful help. Extremely hot summer here California, it’s perfect to stay indoors and knit.
Is there any yarn in Blue Sky Alpacas I can use as substitutes? I love their suri merino, royal and worsted hand dyes.
July 6, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeadow
Hi Alicia,
Unfortunately we do not have any additional photos of this stitch at the moment. Is ther a particular portion of that pattern you have having a hard time with, perhaps I could help walk you through it. Please let me know if I can help.
July 8, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Meadow,
The beauty of this pattern is that once you find a yarn you love and pair it with the appropriate needle that give it a nice drape (usually about 2 sizes up from what is recommended) it can be easily adjusted. After swatching, just be sure to cast on an odd number to reach the width you desire.

The Suri Merino, Royal and Worsted Hand Dyes would all work. The Suri is thicker than the yarn I used, and has more of a bloom to it, but would probably be the best match of the yarns you're asking about. The Royal would be gorgeous; it's such a luxurious yarn, but is incredibly thin compared to what I used. The Royal doubled, would be lovely tho. The Worsted Hand Dyes might be a little too thick and stiff for this scarf. It already comes out fairly dense if you don't use the right needles, and the cotton is a bit less forgiving than the animal fibers.

I hope this helps. Please let us (and our other reader) know how it goes.
July 8, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,

Thank you for your prompt and thorough answer. Now I think before I go for different yarns, I should choose the same yarn you use for this incredibly handsome scarf, so that I can be sure I reach the same effects. This scarf will be for my sister, I think natural/white will be lovely. Thanks again.

July 8, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeadow

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