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Whit's Knits: Open Air Wrap

Although you wouldn't know it from looking at me, I really do love clothes and style and fashion. I don't purchase September issues or Louboutins, but I do love the human spectrum that is expressed through clothing choices (thank you, New York City!).

This Open Air Wrap would definitely catch my eye on the street, inciting a reverie about the woman wearing it. If she had paired it with a trim black dress and patent leather pumps, I would think about the artistic her making a bid for self-expression, giving a nod to the unconventional. Or if a woman were wearing the Open Air Wrap with flowing skirts and layers of linen and long necklaces, I would admire that every iota of her wants to be free.

Where do we turn for the unexpected and the singular? Easy, Habu Textiles. For this project I chose their spectacularly fascinating Silk Wrapped Paper. Not really paper, but paper-like, Silk Wrapped Paper is actually a slender linen tape bound with an even finer thread of silk. Knit up, it is sculptural, featherlight and totally statement making.

The super simple Purse Stitch, which essentially creates a net-like mesh, gives the Silk Wrapped Paper plenty of room to breathe and to express itself. Which brings us back to the beginning. We wear what we wear, from high tops to topsiders, to be ourselves and to tell the world who we are. So, toss your own Open Air Wrap over your shoulders and express yourself! -Whitney


  • A US #4 straight or circular needles. I used 24-inch Addi Turbo Rockets (They have great pointy tips for easy p2tog's and very smooth shafts for speed).


21 3/4 stitches = 4 inches in stitch pattern (unblocked)


Unblocked: 18 inches wide x 56 inches long
Blocked: 20 inches wide x 60 inches long


Yarn Overs Before Purls

This stitch pattern requires you to make yarn overs before purl stitches, a maneuver that confuses a lot of beginner knitters. The first thing to remember is that a yarn over is simply the act of moving the working yarn from one place to another. That movement does create a stitch once you work the next stitch, but the yarn over itself does not make a stitch. Here's how to yarn over in the case of the Purse Stitch...

The first yarn over of each row happens after a knit stitch and before a purl two together (p2tog). So, you will knit the first stitch of the row, then bring the working yarn forward into the purl postion:

Now bring the working yarn up and over the right needle, wrapping the needle in an away-from-you motion and returning the yarn to the purl position, ready for the p2tog:

For the rest of the row the yarn overs occur between two p2tog's. In those cases the working yarn is already in the forward purl position (from just having made a p2tog); and so all you have to do is bring the yarn up and over the right needle, wrapping in an away-from-you motion and returning the yarn to the purl position:

Purl Two Together (p2tog)

In this stitch pattern every p2tog is made by inserting the right needle into first the p2tog from the previous round and then the yarn over from the previous round:

Then, as with any normal purl stitch, wrap the working yarn counter clockwise around the right needle and pull a stitch through. Drop the two stitches from the left needle and get ready to yarn over!


Cast on 98 stitches.

Row 1: K1, *yarn over, p2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1.

Repeat Row 1 until you have used all five skeins, minus several yards. (For me, the piece measured 56 inches at this point.)

Bind off loosely, purling each stitch.

Weave in the ends, block the finished wrap and wear it all summer long!

Reader Comments (40)

Is it possible to do the same technique only using the knit stitch? it seems like it would be so much faster than purling every row...
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersuerita
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
Awesome! I just want to run to a shop to get me some nice yarn and start knitting NOW.
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnco den Dekker
I love it, it looks like mist. Thanks for the clear yarn-over instructions. I made a Christmas-load of narrow purse stitch scarves in worsted yarn on big needles a few years ago and now you've made me want to make a wider one with "invisible" yarn for myself.
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara
Hi Suerita-

You could certainly knit this yarn on larger needles using just garter stitch (all knitting) to get a nice open fabric. I would try a size 8 or larger. It would be open like this but would look pretty different.

You can always give it a try and see if you like it!


May 22, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Molly, I think what the previous poster was asking about is using a "k2tog, YO" on every row instead of the "p2tog, YO". If you are purling both sides, could you also knit both sides, to the same effect? Some of us are not as fast purling as knitting :)

Either way, the question could be answered with a quick swatch. Thanks so much for another inspiring pattern!
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrianna
This is gorgeous! I've never worked with this type of yarn. Is it soft? Or could one use another type of yarn for a softer feel? If so, what would you recommend?
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKristyn
Can I slip the first knit stitch for a cleaner edge? Thanks! Also, will it make a difference in the edge if I do a purl cast-on? Thanks!
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
I am becoming more and more of a process knitter and Habu Textiles is always the right ticket for adventurous and unexpected knitting. Gorgeous scarf!
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle
So, my brain is fuzzy on the math right now... :) If I wanted to make this not as wide, would I just cast on an even number of fewer stitches? Or I am I looking for a multiple of something else? I am wondering about the k2tog vs p2tog also. I might need to swatch it.
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer C.
Is there a reason that you used the Addi Rockets instead of Addi Lace?
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Nothing like a Habu project. This is pretty much perfect. Thanks for the great post.
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSimplequietmodern
Is the object knit from this yarn actually washable, or do you wear it until it is grimy and throw it out? I mean, PAPER?
Serious question
May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGenia
Hi everyone wondering about k2tog vs p2tog,

Making yarn overs between purl stitches requires you to wrap the yarn over the needle. This creates bigger "holes" than you would get if you made yarn overs between knit stitches (which just requires you to bring the yarn forward into the purl position). So ultimately, the difference is that the Purse Stitch creates a more open "net" than a k2tog stitch would, but feel free to experiment and pick your favorite technique!

Thanks for asking and please let us know if any of you have any more questions!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Kristyn,

I would say that the Silk Wrapped Paper has a crisp rather than soft feeling, which is why is has so much body and structure. Using a softer yarn would also be beautiful, making a more traditional wrap with a lot of drape and flow.

Here is a link to all of Purl Soho's laceweight yarns:[]=2

Some especially soft choices would be Jade Sapphire's Khata and Anzula's Mermaid, but please let us know if you have specific questions about any of the options. We'd be happy to help you decide! Thanks so much for asking!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
HI Sarah,

I think it would be fine to slip the first stitch. Try it on your gauge swatch and see if you like it. Same with the purl cast on: if you like the look of it, I say, go for it!

Thanks for your questions and please let us know if you have any others!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Jennifer C,

Cast on any even number and you're on your way!

And, please check out my answer above to all of you asking about knitting 2 together rather than purling...

Thanks for both questions and please let us know if you have more!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Sarah,

The Addi Lace needles are wonderful for very slippery yarns, like cashmere or alpaca, but their slightly slower shafts aren't as wonderful for "sticky" plant fiber yarns (like this one). So, for me, the Rockets, with their fast Turbo shafts and sharp Lace points, were the perfect combination for this project.

Great question! Please let us know if you have any others!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Genia,

It's called "paper", but Silk Wrapped Paper is actually linen, so yes, indeed, you can hand wash it and wear it in the rain!

Thanks for asking!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I waited one day and your sold out of the yarn!!! Are you restocking any time soon, or is there a substitute that would work? Thank you!
May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
It's really lovely! I wish I was a better knitter to be able to make one for myself!
May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCrafty Albumine
Just want to say what a gorgeous scarf. It's the kind of scarf I'd stop someone in the street and ask where they got it. :)
May 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana
Hi Amy-

Please email customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com and they can let you know when we expect more of this yarn. They can also email you when it comes in if you like!

Thank you!

May 23, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
The wrap is beautiful, but it's the close-up photos of that yarn that really made my jaw drop. What an amazing and unique yarn! I may have to do something like this, just for the chance to try it out.
May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRhonda
I swatched it. Like Molly said above, the*yo p2tog* gives a bit different design than the k2tog. I think you might have to do a *yo ssk* to get the same look and that is WAY too much trouble! It'svnot so bag to do all that purling once you get in the swing of it. I have a bunch of Habu Cotton Gima that I've been trying to use, and I think this might be perfect!
May 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer C.
I was wondering if you're able to knit this in the round as a cowl?
May 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterrachel
In response to the comment about a softer yarn, I made a similar scarf for my daughter a few years ago with Alchemy's Silken Straw. She liked it a lot--it was slinky rather than airy.
May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen
Just wondering how difficult it is to "hide" the woven-in ends. With this yarn, I think it would be difficult? But from your photos I can't tell.

Thanks. Love the project and would love to give it a try.
May 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
Hi Ellen,

Yes, I think if you cast on an even number of stitches and yo, p2tog every round, you'll be in business!

Thanks for asking. Sounds like a great plan!

June 6, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Laura,

Weaving in the ends was really easy, actually. I just followed the grid of the stitch pattern, and the texture and whimsy of the yarn hid the tails very nicely.

Thanks for the great question and please let us know if you have any more along the way!

June 6, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I've been trying to get this project going, but it keeps coming out… clumpy. Big holes where for the yos and clumps at the p2togs. I've tried different sizes and types of needles, adjusting my tension and grip, but nothing seems to help. Any suggestions?
July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Hi Sarah,

I'm having a hard time imagining what you mean... Could you send a picture? In the meantime, some questions I have... What yarn are you using? Is it very textural? Is it somehow not allowing the stitches to settle where they should? And, are you sure you're making the yo's properly, i.e. bringing the yarn over the right needle as shown in the Notes section of the pattern? And finally, is your problem something that resolves when you block your piece? Maybe try blocking your gauge swatch if you haven't already.

I'm sorry I don't have a definitive answer for you. I'm a little mystified, so please let me know how else I can help!

July 7, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
please let me know when you get more of this gorgeous yarn in. This project is breathtaking!
July 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVal
Just love the open airy look and the beautiful yarn.... However , I am a combination knitter... My knits are through the back , when I purl I grab the yarn under and pull through... Will the pattern still work for me? Do I have to do the yarn overs differently? ... I love the look of the stitch and want to maintain that look... Any suggestions would be appreciated.... Thanks so much
July 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRochelle
Hi Val-

Please send an email to customerservice AT purlsoho DOT com and they'll get in touch when the yarn comes back in stock.

Thanks for getting in touch!

July 17, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Rochelle,

I've never tried combination knitting (your question has piqued my interest!), but from what I've researched about it, I think you'll be just fine! Since the yarn still comes from the front when you purl, you will still have to bring the yarn up and over the right needle to make the yarn overs, exactly as this pattern explains. Try a little test swatch and let us know how it goes!

Thanks so much for your question and please let us know if you have more!

July 18, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
I love the open weave and I was wondering how many stitches would I cast on to turn this shawl into a scarf? Also how many skeins?

Thanks so much for all the incredible patterns you share with us.

July 20, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarole
I love your website but cannot read your printing. It is very pale. Is there anyway you could get the person designing this website to make the ink darker? I have printed off many of your patterns and love your ideas enormously.
July 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJudy
Hi Judy-

Sorry to hear that you're having this issue. We are in the process of redesigning some things on the Purl Bee and we'll keep your comment in mind as we move forward!

Thanks for getting in touch!

July 25, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee
Hi Carole,

You should cast on the number of stitches per inch by the width you'd like your scarf to be. For example, the gauge here is 5.4375 stitches per inch x 10 inches (say) = 54 stitches.

And how many skeins you need would depend on how wide you make your scarf. It helps to figure the square inches. The area of this wrap is about 1000 square inches, and a scarf that's 10 x 60 inches would be 600 square inches, so you'd need 60% of 5 skeins (i.e. 3 skeins).

I hope this all helps you plan your scarf. Please let us know if you have any other questions and good luck!

July 25, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpurlbee

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