Knitting & Crochet

Knit a single-skein lacy scarf

By: Kate Atherley

Author: Canadian Living

Knitting & Crochet

Knit a single-skein lacy scarf

By: Kate Atherley
This single-skein scarf is an ideal first lace project. The classic Shetland stitch pattern, Crest of the Wave, is straightforward, easy to memorize -- and attractive.

All lace is created by pairing a yarnover increase (to make a hole) and a decrease (to compensate to keep the stitch count the same). The beautiful pattern variations come from how the yarnovers and corresponding decreases are arranged.

For example, this pattern repeat consists of two right-leaning decreases, four increases and two left-leaning decreases. The decreases pull down to the sides, creating lovely scalloped edges at the top and bottom of the knitted scarf.

You need:
1 skein (100 g/200 m) Cascade 220 100 per cent wool
5 mm straight needles or short circular needle
7 mm straight needles or short circular needle
6 stitch markers
Blunt darning needle and smooth scrap yarn (optional)

*Cascade 220 is available in a wide variety of colours. We used "Palm" (colour 2409).

Take a look at a larger photo of the finished lacy scarf here.

Approximately 18 sts and 24 rows = 10 cm (4 inches) square in stocking stitch, using 5 mm needles. To save time, take time to check tension.

Finished measurements:
Approximately 14 cm (5-1/2 inches) wide and 127 cm (50 inches) long after blocking.

To make:
• Cast on
Using 5 mm needle(s) and the cable or long tail method, cast on 39 sts.

• Knit lower edging
Set up pattern and markers.

Rows 1 and 2:
Row 3 (RS): K2, *place marker, k2tog twice, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, ssk twice, place marker, k1; rep from * until 1 st remains, k1.
Row 4 (WS): K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 5, 7, 9, (RS): K2, *k2tog twice, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, ssk twice, k1; rep from * until 1 st remains, k1.
Rows 6, 8, 10 (WS): K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.

• Knit body of scarf
Main pattern repeat:

Rows 1, 2, 3, 4: Knit.
Rows 5, 7, 9, 11 (RS): K2, *k2tog twice, (yo, k1) 3 times, yo, ssk twice, k1; rep from * until 1 st remains, k1.
Rows 6, 8, 10, 12 (WS): K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.

Repeat Rows 1 to 12 of the main pattern repeat until desired length (see Designer's Note) or almost out of yarn, ending after a Row 2.

• Finish
Change to 7 mm needle(s); CO all sts knitwise. Block scarf; weave in ends.

Designer's note:
This pattern has lots of vertical stretch -- expect it to increase in length by about a third after blocking.

Page 1 of 3 -- If you've made some errors while knitting, find out how to undo your stitches with the "lifeline" technique, explained on page 2.
Lace-knitting tips
Knitting lace isn't as difficult as you might think -- especially with these helpful hints.

• Too many (or too few) stitches?
This pattern has four plain rows dividing up the lacy sections. If something goes wrong in the lace section, and you've got the wrong number of stitches, you can correct it in the garter stitch rows without affecting the pattern or the rest of the scarf. Count your stitches after every 12-row repeat, and work increases or decreases in the first four rows as you need.

• Lifelines
It can be very difficult to undo lace knitting -- it's tricky to restore the yarnovers and the decreases. It helps to create a “lifeline” by occasionally threading a length of scrap yarn through your stitches with a darning needle.

After you've completed a Row 4 of the pattern repeat, and you're sure you have the right number of stitches, thread your scrap yarn onto the darning needle and feed it through the stitches on your needle (Go around the markers, not through them.)

If you've made a mistake (more serious than having your stitch counts off by just a stitch or two) and need to unravel your work, the lifeline acts as a natural brake -- it stops the unravelling, holds your stitches and allows you to put your knitting back on the needle with confidence.

If something goes wrong, take your knitting off the needles and unravel until you can go no further. Using your knitting needle, pick up stitches from the lifeline and resume knitting. You can leave the lifelines in until you cast off, or remove them as you work.

(Try this Easy-knit lacy tank or Uptown cowl too.)

Page 2 of 3 -- Learn all about "blocking" your knitted lace scarf, and find this project's glossary of terms next. Plus, find a great pattern for a triangular shawl on page 3.

• Blocking
Washing your knitting is an essential part of the finishing process. Washing and stretching your lace project (a process called “blocking”) will ensure it looks its best. Soak your scarf in lukewarm water for 15 to 20 minutes -- adding a wool wash will soften up the yarn and mothproof it, but it's not mandatory.

Roll the scarf in a towel to remove excess water. Lay flat to dry, stretching the scarf lengthwise and pinning out the scalloped edges with rust-proof pins.

Ready for a bigger challenge?
Up the ante and make a triangular knit shawl.

CO: Cast off. Using a larger needle when casting off creates a loose edge that can accommodate the stretching that occurs when you block lace.
K: Knit
K2tog: A right leaning decrease: Knit two stitches together.
P: Purl
RS: Right side
SSK: A left-leaning decrease: Slip the next stitch as if to knit, slip a second stitch as if to knit; put the tip of the left needle into the fronts of these two stitches (from left to right) and knit them together, wrapping the yarn around the right-hand needle as normal.
ST(S): Stitch(es)
WS: Wrong side
YO: Yarnover

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For more inspiration on crafting, don't forget to visit The Craft Blog too!

This story was originally titled "That's a Wrap" in the November 2011 issue.

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Knitting & Crochet

Knit a single-skein lacy scarf