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Knitting Instructions for a Basic Scarf

Updated on February 23, 2016
A simple scarf in the basket weave pattern, quick and easy to knit.
A simple scarf in the basket weave pattern, quick and easy to knit. | Source

Knitting a scarf is the first thing that most beginners attempt when they plan to learn how to knit. It provides the necessary practice to get a hang of handling the knitting needles and learning the basic stitches called 'knit' and 'purl'. However, there are many types of scarves which can be made by both beginners and advanced knitters. It is all in the combination of the two basic stitches. In this article we will see how a scarf can be knitted using knit and purl in two ways:

  • Garter Stitch pattern
  • Basket Weave Stitch pattern

It is simple to make long and warm scarves just using these two patterns. Before we go into the technique it is important to know a few things to knit a scarf.

Knitting Instructions for Beginners

For knitting a basic scarf a beginner who is planning to learn how to knit should know the following things:

Materials Needed for a Basic Scarf

It is a good idea to buy a medium thickness wool to begin with and medium size knitting needles such as:

  • yarn weight - DK10ply or 12 ply
  • Needle size - 5mm (UK) or 8 (USA – contemporary)
  • Buy sufficient length of yarn to make a scarf, around 5-6 balls of wool yarn.

Check out Knitting Needle Sizes for more details on different sizes according to region. With just these simple materials you can create a warm, fluffy scarf.

How to Cast On

There are few methods of casting on and I have found the casting on with a tail the most efficient. See How to Cast On Stitches for all the different methods available and helpful videos.

A Basic Garter Stitch Scarf in progress
A Basic Garter Stitch Scarf in progress | Source

How to Knit a Garter Stitch Scarf

Basic Scarf - Garter Stitch Pattern

The garter stitch uses the knit stitch on both sides. That means you continue to knit until the desired length of scarf has been made. The pattern would read:


Wool - 2 Balls/DK 8ply (child) 4-6 Balls (adult)
Needle size – 5.0mm


Cast On 23 stitches (child) or 33 stitches (adult)
Row 1: Knit till end of row
Row 2: Knit till end of row
Bind off once desired length is reached

This garter stitch scarf will not have a right side or wrong side because both sides look similar. It also does not require blocking after the scarf has been completed since it will not curl up.

Blue Basket Weave Scarf

Basic scarf in basket weave pattern recently completed.
Basic scarf in basket weave pattern recently completed. | Source

How to Knit the Basketweave Stitch (English Style)

Basic Scarf - Basket Weave Pattern

This scarf is ideal for someone who has already made the garter stitch scarf because this requires knowing how to purl as well.

This basket weave pattern scarf is a good man scarf. It is usually harder to find patterns for men that look trendy as well as keep them warm!

The pattern is available on the as a free download. It is called a Scarf for Mark by Maya Martin. is a social network with amazing resources for beginners and advanced for knitters and crochetters.

There are many types of yarns and yarn weights. Each of them have a different effect and feel to the scarf that is made. See the article: Types of Yarns Fibers for Dummies

About the Author

Sushma Webber writes content for both web and print media. She is interested in creating a balance in life between the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. She is interested in mindful awareness practices, Zen practices and translating these in daily life at work in front of the computer and during various activities of her life. She likes to share her inspiration through her latest blogs are:

  • Rewire Your Brain in 40 Days - This is a blog for those who are over 35 years old and would like to learn how to regenerate their brain to stay young and smart through Right Diet, Right Exercise and Right Meditation. The blog also has links to helpful Resources like books, DVDs and Guides.
  • Zen To Go -- Cultivating the Willingness to Just Be - This is a new brand new blog on Zen Wisdom for daily life. It was created to help motivate those who would like to start and stay with Zen practices like Zazen Meditation, learn the Zen Way of life and find inspiration to Just Be.

Do you like to knit scarves, hats or dolls?

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    • Sushma Webber profile imageAUTHOR

      Sushma Webber 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Gods Provision, I know how you feel. It took me years to get round to it. It's a matter of setting your mind to it.

    • Gods Provision profile image

      Jeremy n Michelle 

      5 years ago from Texas

      I don't know why, but I just can't seem to get knitting. My 12 year old knits a pretty scarf, but mom can't Maybe I can try it using your tips. :-)

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Nice, clear instructions and illustrations.

    • Sushma Webber profile imageAUTHOR

      Sushma Webber 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks BlossomSB for your feedback. I found all these resources and instructions helpful when I started to learn knitting.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I like this because it actually gives the instructions instead of simply referring the reader to another site. It's well-written and clear, and should be useful for beginner knitters.


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