Super Simple Knit and Purl Patterns for Neckwear

Super Simple Knit and Purl Patterns for Neckwear
Scarves and cowls are fun to wear, especially if you make and customize your own. Whether you prefer “infinity scarves,” a neat tube protecting your neck, or a super-long, super-skinny strip that you can wrap multiple times, customization is easy. Knit-and-purl patterns are especially wonderful with these projects, especially those that don’t require borders to keep the work from curling. If you know the stitch, you don’t really need a written pattern! Decide on your preferred width, multiply that by the gauge, and adjust that number to fit your stitch pattern. Then cast on the required number of stitches and go!

Seed stitch might be the easiest and most useful knit-and-purl pattern of all. It’s super easy and can be worked on any number of stitches; you set up the object by alternating knit and purl stitches across the width; you might see this written out as (k1, *p1,k1 to end) or something similar. On all subsequent rows, you simply knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches! Seed stitch doesn’t curl and gives a nice nubbled texture to the piece; best of all, it’s completely reversible.

Ribs always work on neckwear, and there are many ways to customize. It helps to make sure the edges match, which is why you might see a pattern written out something like (K2, *p2, k2 to end). On ensuing rows, knit the stitches as they appear. That’s it – but you’ll end up with nice texture and without curling edges. If you’re tired of k2,p2, try grouping the stitches by threes instead – the extra stitch means a count of six (plus three to balance the edges), which gives the piece a bit of a wider texture. If you are using a marled or multi-color yarn, this really allows the hues to shine.

How about horizontal ribs, or welts? Simply alternate four (or six, or any number) rows of stockinette with reverse stockinette. The ribs line up in a different direction, making for an interesting texture. Or a broken rib, where rib rows are alternated with knit rows or purl rows? Again, there’s all sort of ways to conjure this; try alternating three rows of rib with three rows of stockinette, or two rows of rib followed by one row of purl, or…… there are endless combinations. The only catch is that the all-knit or all-purl rows can’t take up too much of the pattern, or else those areas are going to curl.

A fourth relatively simple ideas involves creating a checkerboard. To do this, decide how large each square should be and use stitch markers to keep yourself on track. Eight-stitch stockinette squares alternated with reverse stockinette of the same width shows the yarn off, especially if you continue this for eight rows before reversing your knitting! The pattern would look like this:

Rows 1,3.4.7: k8, p8 to last eight stitches, k8
Rows 2,4,6,8: knit or purl the stitches as they appear
Rows 9,11,13, 15: p8, k8 to last 8 stitches, p8
Rows 10, 12, 14, 16: knit or purl the stitches as they appear

For any of these patterns, yarn choice and needle size will change up the look. Fingering weight mohair knit on size 8 needles will have a lacy appearance with a halo, while chunky weight wool yarn on size 15 needles will provide bold results. If you have the patience to knit a sport-weight scarf entirely in seed stitch, you’ll have a lightweight and classic garment that will no doubt become a signature piece, particularly if it’s in a color that spans your wardrobe. Imagine telling people: “this thing? Oh, I made it myself!”

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This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D.. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.