Introduction: Knit a Basic Scarf

This project is great for beginners who want to make something functional and beautiful! This pattern uses the single cast-on technique, along with the basic knit stitch to create this scarf. All you need is some bulky acrylic yarn and a pair of knitting needles and you'll have yourself a scarf in no time!

This project was created as part of the St. Catherine University LIS 7963 Making & Makerspaces class.

Step 1: Materials

To make your scarf, you will need at least one skein (185 yards/170 g) of bulky acrylic yarn. Depending on how long you choose to make your scarf, you may need two. I used Lion Brand Yarns Homespun Stripes in Wildberries Stripes for this project, but you can use whatever color you like. Make sure that your dye lot numbers match if you are going to be using more than one skein of yarn.

I recommend using at least a US size 10 pair of aluminum knitting needles. The size you choose depends on how small or large you'd like your stitches. For this particular scarf, I used a pair of US size 13 needles. Use whatever needles feel most comfortable and easy to use. If you find your aluminum needles to be a bit on the slippery side, you may want to consider switching to bamboo needles instead.

You will also need a tape measure to check your progress on the scarf. I used a metal measuring tape, but a cloth tape measure will work just fine too.

And of course, you will also need a scissors for cutting your excess yarn once you finish your scarf.

Step 2: Single Casting-On

I used the single-cast on method to put my first row on stitches onto my needles, as it is the easiest to remember and repeat. Single cast on 27 stitches to create your first row.

Begin by making a slip knot on your needle. Make sure not to pull the slip knot too tight, as it may get twisted as you go along. After placing your slip knot onto your needle, wrap the yarn once around your left thumb. Then, poke the tip of the needle into the middle of the loop on your thumb. Slide your thumb out so that the stitch is on your needle and pull the stitch tight enough to stay on the needle.

Repeat until you have the desired number of stitches on your needle. Keep an eye that your stitches are fairly evenly spaced as you cast on. Make sure that you include your slip knot in your count of stitches when casting on.

Step 3: Knit Your Scarf

Use the basic knit stitch to knit the rows of your scarf. To do this, hold your needle with your row in your left hand. Wind the yarn from your skein around right index finger, as it makes the yarn easier to handle. Poke your right needle into the center of the top loop, making sure that the right needle goes behind the left one. This will form an X. Wrap your yarn around the back needle, from back to front to back. Hang on to the top needle with your left hand. Make sure to also hang on the the yarn with your right index finger. Then, take the tip of the back needle down and into the middle of the stitch on your left hand, toward yourself. Pull the righthand needle up so that the stitch slides from the left needle to the right.

Repeat until you finish your row. Then, simply move the right needle with all the stitches on it to your left hand, and you're ready to go onto the next row! If you are new to knitting, I would recommend checking your stitches in between knitting the rows to make sure you haven't twisted or dropped any stitches.

Continue knitting until you have the desired length for your scarf. Check your progress as you go with a tape measure. You can make the scarf as long or short as you'd like. Some knitters use the rule that you should make a scarf as long as the person is tall. This is entirely up to you. I knit my scarf for a child, so it measures about 49 inches.

Step 4: Binding Off

Once you have achieved the desired length for your scarf, it is time to bind the stitches off the needle and create a finished edge. To do this, start by knitting two stitches. Then take your left needle and poke it into the front of the stitch on the right. Lift the first stitch over the other and off the needle. You may need to hold onto the first stitch so you don't accidentally let it slide off the needle. Knit another stitch and repeat the process.

Do this until there is only one stitch remaining on the left needle. Pull that stitch loose just a bit. Drop the stitch off the needle and cut the yarn leaving about a 4-5 inch tail. Put the tail through the last stitch, from back to front. Slowly pull it shut to close the stitch. Your edge should look like a neat chain of stitches.

Once you have done this, your scarf is officially finished!