For protecting the neck against chilly temperatures and icy winds, there is nothing like a thick, hand-knit scarf. A scarf is one of the easiest knitting projects possible and is a great project for a new knitter. After investing in a few tools and learning the basic technique, a knitter can have scarves in every size, shape, and colour to go with every outfit and can give the scarves as thoughtful gifts for family members and friends.
For a complex scarf, such as an infinity scarf or scarf with cables, all but the most experienced knitters should use a pattern. The pattern dictates the size of needles and type of yarn required. But for a simple scarf, no pattern is necessary. There are many variations, from thick, chunky scarves to thin, fine scarves. The choice determines the size of needles and the type of wool needed.
The cheapest kind of wool is usually acrylic, but that is not the best choice for a scarf. Acrylic tends to be scratchy, which could irritate the skin. Some acrylic/wool blends could be soft enough. But to guarantee a lovely, soft texture, opt for a natural wool product such as merino or alpaca. Beginners may want to stick to one skein of wool for simplicity, but that does not mean that the scarf has to be all one colour. A variegated yarn, for example, results in natural stripes.
The bigger the needles, the chunkier and looser the scarf will be, and the smaller the needles, the finer the knit. Larger needles require fewer stitches, so for a faster project, opt for big needles, such as size 20. For a tighter, warm scarf, opt for small needles, such as a size 5. Either steel or bamboo needles are fine, but most knitters prefer bamboo. Steel can be slippery, and it can be difficult to keep the yarn from sliding off.
- Tie a slipknot in the yarn, leaving a long tail of yarn on one end and the other end connected to the skein.
- Slide the loop of the knot over one needle and tighten.
- Take both ends of yarn in one hand, and separate them by looping one end around the thumb and the other around the first finger.
- Insert the tip of the needle up through the loop on the thumb and down through the loop on the first finger. Then slide the loop on the thumb over the tip of the needle, and pull the loop off the thumb.
- Continue casting on stitches until reaching the desired width.
- Knit by inserting the tip of the right needle up through the first stitch on the left needle. Loop yarn around the back of the right needle and out in between the two needles. Insert the tip of the right needle through the loop, and slip a new stitch off the left needle onto the right.
- Continue knitting along the row, turning the work at the end of the row.
- Continue adding knit rows until reaching the desired length.
- Bind the stitches once the scarf is at the desired length.
- Knit two stitches, and then pass the first stitch over the top of second stitch.
- Continue along the row, passing the previous stitch over each new stitch until there is only one stitch remaining.
- Draw the yarn through that stitch, pull tight, and cut the yarn, leaving only a little bit of yarn hanging off the end.
- Weave in the loose ends. If the scarf is all one colour, there should be only two ends to weave. If the scarf has multiple colours, there may be many ends to weave.
- Use a blunt sewing needle with a large eye, and seamlessly weave the loose yarn ends in and out of the back of the stitches.
- Clip the ends after weaving the yarn three or four times.
How to buy knitting supplies on eBay
You do not need a lot of yarn to knit a scarf, but the nicest kinds of yarn can be quite pricy. Instead of going to a craft store, search through the large inventory of yarn on eBay. To get started, type "blue merino wool" or "variegated alpaca wool" into the eBay search bar. At the same time, buy the needles you need. Instead of buying one size for this particular project, invest in a bundle that includes needles of all different sizes so you can experiment with scarves of every shape and thickness.