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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)

Hi Laura,

I got Swans Island worsted Seasmoke, it’s such a beautiful yarn and I can’t wait to start. I knitted a few rows this weekend, the right side looks the same as your picture, but the wrong side is totally different. Are they supposed to be the same, or similar? I saw your big herringbone cowl, two sides are different but the wrong side has herringbone pattern also. My mini herringbone’s wrong side almost looks like a basket weave. Thanks.

July 15, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeadow
Hi Laura,

Good news! I started over and knitted a 10x10” swatch, the right side looks exactly like your picture and it’s beautiful. I am going to officially start the scarf this weekend. Thank you!

July 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermeadow
I'm so sorry you figured it out before I could get back to you.
I'm so happy you figured it out.

Hope you love the scarf. Please let me know if you have any questions on this project.
July 22, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi. I am struggling with the bind off. My scarf came out really beautiful, thank you for the pattern. But please can unexplain the bind off a little more.
September 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAisha
Hi Aisha,
I will gladly expand on the bind off! Bind the first three stitches off in pattern. 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!
Thanks for writing in.
September 9, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love the look of this scarf, especially the slip stitch rib border!
I am planning on knitting this in the round, would the instructions change at all?
September 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCeleste
Hello Celeste.

Thanks for the compliments! Glad you like it.

Unfortunately, right now, we do not have this pattern specific herringbone pattern written for working in the round. Working it inthe round would require changing the pattern quite a bit since you'd always be working on the right side. Working it in the round would also eliminate a place for the edge slip stitch edge. Good news is, this project was inspired by Whitney's Big Herringbone Cowl:

If you were hoping to have this piece in the round in the other direction (with the edge along the top and bottom), you would just need to work the scarf flat and then join the beginning and end of the scarf by sewing them together or by doing a provisional cast on at the beginning and kitchener stitch at the end.

Please let me know if you have any follow up questions!
October 1, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello! I'm not sure if anyone has asked this yet.. but would knitting this project with Swan's Island bulky, in stead of worsted, pose any problems?

October 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllie
Hi Allie.
I do not believe anyone has asked that question. It's a great one. I think this scarf would be lovely in Swan's Island's Bulky.

For the original, I used a US10 on a yarn that typically suggests a US7 or US9. So for Swan's Bulky, which recommends a US10.5, I would try this stitch pattern on a US11 or US12. Definitely swatch first thought. This is a very dense stitch, so be sure to go up enough needle sizes so that the resulting fabric is drappey enough for a scarf.

October 2, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Thank you for this beautiful pattern. I have been knitting for over sixty years and never attempted a herringbone scarf. I have an issue with slanting. I was very excited to start this project, however after many starts and restarts I am confused as to why after 6 inches into it, it still slants. The pattern is consistent and clean looking, but wondering if there is something I'm missing. I know the recipient will not keep it blocked, so I'm trying to avoid that. I hope you can help
October 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKay
Hello Kay.
Thank you for writing in and I am so sorry this stitch is giving you a hard time. I do not know why it would be slanting. My best guess is that you work your knit side and purl side with a different tension that is not equally counter balancing one another, so the fabric is tending to one direction.

I know a few other people have had an issue with slanting as well. I experience such a minimal amount and I am unfortunately at a bit of a loss as to how to direct you in fixing it.
October 13, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I absolutely love the mini herringbone stitch. Would it be possible to make a video and post on your site? It would make it easier. Please also do in Continental style.
October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDevorah Sklar
HI Devorah-

Thanks for the suggestion. We'll keep it in mind going forward.

October 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
If I were to use this yarn and needle size for the herringbone cowl, will the cowl have the same drape as using the yarn in the cowl pattern?
October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIm
Hello Im,
This scarf is worked in Swan's Island's Worsted and it's a lovely yarn, a very soft merino. The Herringbone Cowl is knit with Blue Sky's Worsted which is an alpaca / merino blend. Alpaca is a heavier fiber than sheep's wool and therefore has a bit more drape. All that to say, Swan's Island's Worsted is not going to have quite the dense drape that the Herringbone Cowl has.

Another note: Blue Sky's Worsted (used for the cowl) is much thicker than Swan's Island's Worsted which is on the lighter end of the worsted weight spectrum. So the gauge will be quite different and the cast on would need to be adjusted.

Do hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions!
October 21, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi, just tried this and after dropping a few stitches decided to use lifelines. It's a very difficult stitch to unravel. Just feed a scrap piece of yarn through your loops every 10 rows or so and it will be easy to rip back if needed. ;)
October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLily
I love this pattern! Could you possibly recommend a slightly less expensive yarn you carry that may work well for this scarf as well?

Thanks SO much!!
October 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanice
Hi Janice-

Happy to oblige! Here are some less expensive alternatives.

3 skeins of Cascade Eco Duo- very soft but unplied so it would give a slightly different look:

3 Skeins of Cascade 220- Comes in a ton of great colors and would give a similar look. The color "River Rock" would make something very similar to the example:

Thank you and good luck with the project!

October 30, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi! I love this pattern so much and after trying it out a few times have gotten the hang of it!

I'm almost done with my first skein of yarn and was wondering, how would you recommend joining the yarn for this scarf? My first attempt was not very elegant-looking.

Thank you!!
October 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMariya
Hi Mariya,
I'm glad to hear you are enjoying the stitch.
I believe I joined at the edge, I slipped the first stitch and then began with the new skein. And then wove the ends in later, hiding it in the selvedge stitches.

How did you join initially? Did you work a couple stitches with the end of the 1st and beginning of the 2nd skein held together? It's a pretty dense stitch, so that method might be a bit uncomfortable.
November 1, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura!

I ran out of yarn in the middle of a row so I think I started the next skein by working it into the next stitch. It didn't work so well for this pattern though.

Thank you so much for your recommendation, I will definitely try it out!

November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMariya
Hi - First let me say that I LOVE this pattern! I'm planning to make it for my dad for Christmas :) Quick question - I cast on 55 stitches. Then, row 1 says to Sl1, p1, k1, and then work the herringbone pattern (which is in increments of two stitches) to the last three stitches and then k1, p2. I’ve done this twice now, and each time, I end up with 2 stitches at the end of the row, not 3. Doesn't slipping one stitch, knitting one and then purling one leave you with 52 stitches on your left needle - so 24 repeats of the herringbone pattern with 2 stitches left over? What am I doing wrong? Thank you!!!
November 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCarol
Hi Carol.
Glad you like the scarf!

Mini Herringbone is worked in increments of 2 and then there is one single stitch at the end, a p1 on the WS and a k1 on the RS. What I think is happening is that you are missing that p1 at the end of the Mini Herringbone pattern on the wrong side. You should be working in increments of 2 until the last 4 stitches, work the final stitch of Mini Herringbone and then the 3 selvedge stitches. It might be helpful to place a marker before those last three selvedge stitches, because it sounds like you are working them in Mini Herringbone by mistake.

Please let me know if you have more questions on this!
November 5, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

I have a question about this step of the instructions: P2tog and leave stitches on needle, purl the first stitch again and drop both stitches together from left-hand needle. When you "purl the first stitch again", are you referring to the stitch on the top or bottom as the first?
Thanks so much for your help!!
November 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna
Hi Joanna,
Ok, so first stick your right needle into the first two stitches on your left needle, purlwise, from back to front. Loop your working yarn around your right needly and pull the loop through the two stitches on the left needle, but don't drop those stitches off your left needle. Now, place your right needle into the first stitch on your left needle purlwise, just as you would normally purl a stitch if told to p1. That first stitch is the one closest to the tip of the left needle. After you purl it, then you can drop those two stitches off that left needle.
Hope this helps. Please write us anytime!
November 11, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love this pattern. I'm still confused on the mh (mini herringbone) stitch for the ws. How can I purl the last stitch in mh, and then do mh to last 3 stitches in row 1? Seems like I have to do one or the other. Or, do I do mh to last 4 stitches, p1, then k1, p2??

If I work first and last 3 stitches apart from mh, and mh pattern is worked with 2 stitches, dropping them both every time, I just can't figure out where that "purl the last stitch" comes in.

I know you've probably already answered this, but still not following. Sorry.

And thanks!
November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVonda
Hello Vonda.

If you take the selvedge stitches and the Mini Herringbone stitch pattern and combine them into 2 rows of instructions, this is what it would be...

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

I hope this helps.
November 15, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Love this.
How do I work the edge
thank you
November 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercheryl
Hi Cheryl,
The edge or selvedge stitches are worked row by row along with the Mini Herringbone stitches. (It is not created after, which is what a lot of people thing upon first glance.) They are the first three and last three stitches of each row of instruction.
November 18, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,

Can I substitute the yarn you suggested with Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool? Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you!

November 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIlli
Hi Illi.
You definitely can! It looks to be a bit thicker than Swan's Island's Worsted which is actually quite light for a worsted-weight yarn. Just be sure to make a swatch before casting on for the scarf. This Scarf tends to knit up on the dense side, so you'll probably want to go up a needle or two larger than what is recommended. Lion Brand recommends a US9, so maybe a 10 or 10.5?
Let me know if you have any other questions.
November 20, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura. I seemed to have gone from 55 to 53 stitches somehow. Is there a way you recommend to get the two stitches back??
December 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
Hello Helen,
Oh goodness. My first recommendation is to pull out the scarf to the error(s).

My second recommendation would be to increase on the right side, in the purl stitches, between the stitch pattern and the selvedge stitches.

The goal is to recover, but also to interrupt the fabric as little as possible. This might mean leaving it alone. It depends on how perfect you'd like your final product.
December 3, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Can you make a video for this beautiful scarf?
December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVon
Hi Von-

Thank you for the suggestion! We don't currently have plans to do a video on this stitch pattern but we will certainly keep it in mind going forward!

If you have an specific questions we'd be happy to answer them here in the comments section.

Thank you!

December 16, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
***Please Help!!!***
I've made a mistake on my mini herringbone scarf that has taken me foreverrrrr to knit (as a Christmas present for my Dad, mind you)......And I don't know how to rip it out! I'm getting really really discouraged and heartbroken.... :(
Can I rescue it? Can you tell me how?
Thank you so much!
December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPiaLuna
I love this pattern, do you think it would translate well to stripes? I am envisioning big stripes like the amazing seed stitch wrap.
December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia
Hello PiaLuna,
Do not fret. My best suggestion is to take your work off the needles and slowly start pulling the stitches out. Watch very closely to see how the working yarn and stitches all interact (how each stitch is built). After watching a few rows slowly, it should be easy to pull down as far as you need, past your mistake, and then run your needle through the live stitches.
I do hope this helps. If you have worked a large portion of this piece already (and it sounds like you have) you should be able to recognize if you have picked your stitches up correctly or not.
December 20, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Cynthia.
I bet this stitch pattern would be really interesting in large color blocks or thick stripes. Let us know how it goes!
December 20, 2013 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hello Laura - love this pattern. A bit difficult to correct if you make a mistake. Was trying to adapt a favorite hat pattern I have to this stitch. If I did this stitch in the round, without the borders, I would need an even number of stitches and would only do the RS rows, correct?
January 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAlice
I love this pattern,thanks for sharing it!

Actually while knitting the scarf, I also started a smaller version for a headband. which turned out really nice. If anyone is interested in a preview:
January 13, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertulpee
Hi Alice,
Unfortunately we do not have this particular herringbone pattern written for working in the round. We do have a different herringbone pattern for working in the round though. It might be easier to adapt. You can see it here:
Thanks for writing in. Glad you like this scarf.
January 14, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I used this pattern idea to create a set of boot cuffs! AWESOME! Thank you so much for your wonderful and inspirational projects! I have made several items from baby to adult from your ideas on here and they have been lovely lovely gifts!
February 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate
Purl Bee usually has lovely photo illustrations of any special techniques required for a stitch pattern.

I'm having trouble with the components of this stitch pattern, especially on the RS row, knitting the stitch being passed over. I saw a video of this on the internet, but the cloth that resulted from the way she was doing it did not resemble your lovely scarf, and I'm confused.

Any chance you could include a photo or video of this stitch?
February 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertruefeather77
Hi TrueFeather77.
Thank you for writing in. We do always aim to communicate our patterns as clearly as possible. Adding photos to this pattern is now on our "To Do" list. We have lots of stuff in the works, so I am not sure when I will get them posted, but I will try to do it as soon as possible.

In the mean time, is there any way I can talk or write you through the issue you have with the RS row? I believe I know what step you are referring to... pretend you have picked up a stitch with the tip of your left needle as if you were going to bind off... just before you left that stitch drop off the right hand needle, take your working yarn and wrap it around your right needle and then let the stitch drop off and pull the working yarn through. Does this help at all?
We're here if you have more questions!
February 5, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Lovely pattern! I used a merino and cashmere blend to knit it and because my husband likes his scarves extra long it took me ages! I loosely blocked the scarf (nearly ran out of floorspace!) and let it dry but it seems to be curling inwards on the ws on both long side. Should I block it again, more tightly this time? Help!
February 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSara
Hi Sara.
What a lucky husband. I'd love an extra long, cashmere blend version of this scarf! I can't believe it's curing up, especially after blocking. I experienced a tiny bit or curling, but steam blocking it relaxed the yarn and stitches and the curling stopped. I would definitely try blocking it once more. And with the wrong side facing up.
Let us know if it works. I'm quite puzzled by this.
February 27, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
There's a video of this stitch on
It really helped me figure it out.
June 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterShuli

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