Want to make a gift for Aunt Thelma — you know that aunt who has everything and just called and said she was coming for dinner — or the co-worker whose name you just drew in the office gift pool Or how about making something to wear to a holiday party
You could knock everyone’s socks off with a knitted scarf. Scarves are fun, fast and easy, and they’d be a unique and special gift that carries warmth and good wishes.
Here are some simple ideas for scarves that are fun and easy to make.
Garter Stitch Scarf
Use a thick and bulky yarn, like a fur or heavy eyelash. Add sequin yarn or a shiny ribbon yarn for a special glitter. Cast on and knit every row until you are out of yarn.
Bias Knit Scarf
Knit in garter stitch but increase one stitch at the beginning and decrease one stitch at the end of every other row. It sends your knitting in a new direction.
Stockinette Stitch Scarf
You can use a pretty, variegated yarn or one with a lot of texture in it for this. Cast on and knit one row and purl back, remembering to do the bottom and top borders and a few stitches on each side in garter stitch so the ends won’t curl.
4-by-4 or Ribbed Scarf
Use a cast of in a multiple of four stitches, and knit 4 and purl 4 across. For the next and following rows, knit the knits and purl the purls as they face you.
Cast on an even number of stitches. Always knit the beginning and ending stitches and yarn-over and knit two together across on the stitches in between.
You can also make a simple shawl by casting on three stitches and increasing one stitch at the beginning and end of each row. Work until you reach to length and width you need.
A good way to know how many stitches to cast on is to take a look at the yarn label. If the gauge chart on the label suggests 16 stitches per inch on size 8 needles, go up two or three needle sizes and subtract a half stitch for each needle size you went up.
With scarves and shawls, be creative with the needle size you use and the number of stitches. Knit a couple of rows, and if the look isn’t what you want for that yarn, take it out. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is going too far with something they don’t like. If it is not working for you, take it out and change it.
Most good quality yarns can be reworked many times. There are a few exceptions, usually with the lace weight or furry yarns, but many others can be re-used and actually thrive on it. You will need 100 to 200 yards for a scarf and 200 to 400 for a shawl, depending on the yarn used and the size you are making.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is about fringe. Should I have fringe or should I not When you have a few inches of your scarf knitted, take some strands of yarn. Don’t cut them, but arrange them in loops at the base of the scarf and see how they look. If it looks good, do fringe; if not, don’t.
Anxiety tip: Cut your fringe first or at the beginning of your second ball of yarn. Then you can knit until the yarn is used up, and you don’t have the anxiety of wondering how much to save for fringe.
A great way to get great-looking fringe is to wrap the yarn around the long side of a CD case and cut it at the bottom. It is a good length for most projects that need fringe.
And remember. During this busy time of the year, one of the best holiday gifts anyone can give is a little bit of themselves. So teach someone you love to knit, and pass on the gift. Even if you are a beginner, show that special someone what you know and get them started. It is a great way to spend a quiet moment together to relax and enjoy the holiday spirit, and it is a gift that will last them a lifetime.
Fiber Friends is a column written by a group of craftswomen in Tracy. Kathy Kindred owns K2Knits in Tracy. If you have a knitting question or want information in a future column, e-mail her at email@example.com. Happy trails and happy knitting.