Knitting a Scarf: Everything You Need to Know About This Project
Knitting dates back to 11th century Egypt, but some records show that it may go back even as far as 3th or 5th century. It has spread throughout the world with each culture discovering and developing different techniques, and it’s still popular today. Scientists claim that this activity has many benefits to human health, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing depression and anxiety, serving as a distraction from chronic pain and improving overall well-being.
But in addition to being a relaxing hobby, knitting can also upgrade your personal style with unique pieces made all by yourself. For instance, you can try your hand at this hobby by knitting a nice scarf that will keep you warm during the cold days and bring a chic note to your outfits. Here’s everything you need to know to complete your first knitting project successfully.
Pick the Right Yarn
First things, first. The knitting yarn will affect both the final outcome and the ease of the process. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with medium worsted weight yarn as the easiest option. You can choose from various materials:
Acrylic – Because of its resistance to splitting, acrylic yarn is a good choice for beginners. It is also the cheapest type, so if you need something to practice with, this is a better option than an expensive natural fibre yarn.
Acrylic/wool blends – This yarn is more affordable than 100 % wool yarn, but you need to take into consideration that this is a super bulky yarn that might not be the perfect match for beginners.
Natural fibres – Natural yarns are easy to work with and make for some of the cosiest knitting results. But these yarns also come with a higher price, so they’re ideal once you become a bit more confident with knitting and crochet.
Cotton – It’s a fine choice when it comes to quality, but it can be challenging to keep the tension consistent and this may affect the drape of the project. It also tends to split easily, and cotton is more slippery than other yarns.
Wool – Wool tends to be a good choice for beginners as well as experienced knitters because it’s super stretchy and smooth. It does wick moisture away better than acrylic, making it great for keeping you warm and dry.
Superwash yarn – Because it’s machine washable, items made of superwash wool (also called superwash merino) are easier to take care of. This is the best choice for wearable items that get dirty quickly and need frequent washing.
Besides the obvious benefit of superwash yarn being machine washable, it also has the added perk of wearing well. Almost every other type of yarn gets damaged over time due to heat, friction and moisture, but this is not the case with the superwash yarn. Considering this, the soft and durable superwash chunky yarn is an excellent choice for your knitted scarf, as well as other knitted projects like sweaters, blankets and more!
If you are want to make a small scarf that is enough to keep you warm, but not so wide to avoid long knitting, approximately 180 m of yarn is needed.
Consider the Colours
You can make the scarf in one colour only, two colours (with a switch between different balls of yarn as you knit), or multi-coloured with multicoloured superwash chunky yarn. Besides having an attractive rich colour, hand-dyed superwash wool yarn is soft, super stretchy, smooth and makes the knitting more pleasant. The number of colours yarns come in is huge – you can choose from 80+ different colours. Pick colours carefully. Light shades tend to be a better choice for beginners because you can see the stitches better.
The Needles Matter Too
Many prefer to use thick needles, especially if they are a first-time knitter. Thicker needles are easier to hold and handle, so the knitting of the scarf will go much smoother and faster.
But besides handling, you also need to consider the type of stitching you want the scarf to have. When you are choosing needles, have in mind that bigger needles create a looser stitch, while smaller needles a tighter one. So, according to your desired look of the scarf, you can choose the suitable needles.
Regarding the materials, experts recommend bamboo or wooden needles for beginners, because the stitches don’t slide off the needles as easily as they do with other materials. They are also comfortable to hold and do not slip away like needles made of other materials such as plastic or aluminium.
Once you have all your knitting supplies ready, the next step is to get into a comfortable position. Knitting sometimes takes hours, so make sure you are sitting in a supportive chair and a proper sitting position. Also, make sure that there isn’t any clutter around you and you can move your arms and needles freely.
When you’re a beginner knitter, it is a good idea to start with something small and flat that does not require a lot of shaping. This is why knitting a scarf is ideal for your first project. Normally, 30 to 40 stitches are needed for a regular-sized scarf which isn’t something that’s very demanding. They are many types of knitting that you can combine, but if you are a beginner better to stick to the classic knit and purl method.
For a one-coloured scarf, it’s much easier to make the first row and continue to cast on to the desired measurement. If you want to add another colour, knit the first 12 rows with the first colour, cut the yarn with scissors (make sure to leave a 15cm long tail), then add the second colour of yarn to the first colour. After knitting 5 stitches with the second colour, stop to pull on the ends. It is important to leave the ends loose so that you can waive them securely into the scarf with a tapestry needle later on. Continue with knitting 12 rows with the new yarn in the same way with the first yarn. This way you can add as many colours you want following the same technique.
You can easily make a cowl too, which is a short scarf with its ends joined together. All you need is to decide how deep you want it to be and cast on stitches to that measurement. For a multi-coloured cowl, repeat the procedure described for a regular scarf. A simple last step of sewing the ends together and your warm stylish knitted piece is ready to go out in the open.
Wrap your cosy knitted scarf around you feel proud of your handwork.