I have been having a bit of a knitting funk. It’s been about five or six months since I started the Year Without Patterns, and I think about two weeks ago I hit a wall. Suddenly, nothing I cast on for was working– the natural hazard of going without a pattern is that stitch patterns will sometimes fight with the shapes of knitted objects, proportions don’t always look the way they should, etc. Normally when I hit a wall like that, I comfort myself by knitting something from a pattern, where I can be reasonably confident that what I want is what I’ll get.
Since I’m going pattern-free, however, that wasn’t an option. Instead, I turned in desperation to the simplest project I know: a scarf. In one color, because I didn’t trust myself with anything more complex. A short scarf, because this close to the holidays my attention span isn’t what it ought to be. A stash-busting scarf, because this close to the holidays my wallet isn’t what it ought to be, either. A fisherman’s rib scarf, because I love the look and feel of fisherman’s rib stitch.
Thus, out of necessity, the Gentleman’s Motorcyling Scarf was born. Fisherman’s rib creates a simple, eye-pleasing fabric in a unisex pattern that is plush, squishy and firm. The shortness of the scarf means it is best worn fisherman style, with the ends lying flat against the chest under a coat or jacket. The structure of the rib means the scarf won’t curl, but will lie flat against the back of the neck, protecting you from wayward drafts. And if the scarf gets loose while you’re riding the highway, the shortness of the ends means it’ll blow away rather than wrap around and blind you.
The fringe are purely for fun.
After the set-up row, fisherman’s rib requires only one pattern row to create, so this scarf would be a perfect mindless knitting project.
Gentleman’s Motorcyling Scarf
45″ by 8″ unstretched, without fringe. Fringe adds 6″ to total length.
1 set of size 9 straight, circular or double-pointed needles.
1 crochet hook for fringe.
1 pair of scissors for fringe.
1 tapestry needle to weave in ends
Approximately 500 yards of worsted-weight yarn. (Version pictured here was done in 100% Bernat acrylic, from stash.)
Cast on 28 stitches loosely.
Set-up row: sl 1st st purlwise, *p1, k1* across, end k1.
Pattern row: sl 1 st purlwise, *p1, k1 below (K-B) by knitting into stitch in the row BELOW the knit stitch currently on the left-hand needle, slip unworked knit stitch off left-hand needle* across, end k1.
Work pattern row until scarf is approximately 45″ long or as long as desired. Cast off loosely as for k1, p1 rib.
Note: If the written instructions aren’t clear, you can see a video of how to do a K-B here, just click the link and scroll down to k-b.
Take the leftover yarn and wrap it around a flat object that is approximately 3″ in length– a cut piece of cardboard from a cereal box would be just fine. Each wrap will make one strand of fringe, so wrap until you feel you have enough. I used 80 strands of fringe, 40 for each end.
After you’ve wrapped enough, take the scissors and cut across all the strands of the wrapped yarn. You will end up with 80 6″ strands of yarn.
I made tassel-style fringe, using 4 strands of yarn for each tassel. Separate out the first four strands of yarn (or however many you want) and take one of the ends of the scarf. Now insert the crochet hook through the scarf near the bottom where you’d like the fringe to go. Fold the four strands of yarn in half together, making a loop on one end. Use the crochet hook to pull the loop through the scarf, so that you have a loop of fringe on one side of the scarf, and the ends of the fringe on the other side. Then run the ends of the fringe through the loop and pull tight to secure your tassel. Repeat this 10 times per side, evenly spaced, to create your fringe.
Weave in ends, block (making sure fringe is lying flat), and enjoy.