My First Scarf: A Story and Free Knitting Pattern

The beginning of the first scarf I knit

This is the story of my first knitting project. It’s a story that spans 50 years. It’s about yarn and memories and connections that come full circle. And it includes a free beginner pattern.
This striped garter-stitch scarf is a good beginner project for novices who have the patience to knit a whole scarf. Don’t want to knit so much? Make it a coaster or cowl instead.

This post contains affiliate links.

In the Beginning

When I was about six, one of my favorite books was A Gift from the Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright. In the story, The Lonely Doll —whose name is Edith—knits a scarf for her dad, Mr. Bear.  She knits diligently at every possible opportunity and (spoiler alert) the scarf ends up too long. It’s worth reading the book for all the adorable details.

A Gift from the Lonely Doll cover image

Like my doll heroine, I wanted to knit a striped scarf for my father’s Christmas present. The scarf must be red and black, the team colors of his beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs.

My First Knitting Project

My maternal grandmother lived with us and was happy to teach me to knit. We started with a skein of black Germantown worsted wool, some leftover bits of red Germantown, and a pair of straight needles. She showed me how to cast on—the German twisted cast on, no less!—and how to do the knit stitch.

I knit and knit. The stitch count changed from row to row, but that didn’t matter to me.

The subtle shaping was due to inadvertently added stitches. Surely a design element, right?

I knit and knit and knit. I learned to change colors, although not always on the correct side.

I clearly didn’t have an idea of “right side” and “wrong side”.

I knit and knit and knit. The scarf grew slowly. Yarnover holes and incomplete stitches magically disappeared overnight. It’s the only time in my life that the Knitting Fairy has corrected my knitting.

 I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit. Now it was starting to look like a scarf. I tried it on frequently to see if it was long enough.

Is it long enough yet?

I knit and knit and knit and knit and knit and knit . Nana kept urging me to knit a few more rows, but I was on deadline and anxious to finish on time. (Sound familiar?)

Just in time for Christmas, the scarf was long enough. Because the edges were so wobbly, Nana single crocheted around the whole thing to tidy it up. We wrapped it up in anticipation of the big reveal the next day.

On Christmas morning, Daddy opened the package. He made all the appropriate noises about how beautiful the scarf was, and how hard I must have worked to make such a special gift. Apparently it was the best gift ever!

I never saw him wear it, and I eventually forgot about it.

About 25 Years Later

Visiting my parents’ house, I caught a glance of red and black rolled up in the back of a drawer. It was my first scarf! Daddy had saved it all those years!

But that photo doesn’t really do it justice. Let me help you understand the scale of this scarf.

It is 4″ wide x 22.5″ long. Despite all my efforts, and even trying it on my skinny six-year-old neck, it was way too small to be worn by an adult male! Furthermore, we lived in Georgia where scarves aren’t even needed. The scarf came home with me, to remind me how much my technique had improved.

About 25 Years Later

As I wandered the aisles of a trade show, my eye caught a familiar sight: Germantown yarn from Kelbourne Woolens.  I’m pretty sure I squeed out loud. I may have jumped up and down a little bit.

Germantown Yarn colorful skeins

About Germantown Yarn

For that first scarf, and for many projects after that, Brunswick Germantown Worsted was my go-to yarn. 

Knitters who have been around for a long while will remember this ubiquitous yarn. There weren’t nearly as many yarns available as there are now, but Germantown was a classic worsted weight standby that came in many colors.

Germantown Yarn in black and red

Read Germantown: Redesigning a History for the story of how Kelbourne Woolens revived the brand, then read A Brief History of Germantown Yarns for a fascinating look at this American yarn. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you do that.

When Kelbourne Woolens owner Courtney Kelly heard the story of my first scarf and what Germantown meant to me, she immediately suggested that I make another scarf, and provided the yarn for me to knit it.

My First Scarf Knitting Pattern

So here, fifty years after the original scarf, is the pattern for My First Scarf. This version is meant to be easy enough for new knitters to knit, and long enough and warm enough to actually be worn by an adult.  

Presented in Georgia Bulldog red and black, of course. Note that black is not the best choice for beginners; feel free to use different, lighter colors for easier visibility.

My First Scarf

The free pattern is below; you also can purchase a printer-friendly pdf.

Buy the Printed Pattern Button

Want to knit it in Germantown yarn? You’ll get 10% off the price if you use code EDIEECKMAN at checkout here.

Materials

Craft Yarn Council Icon for 4 Medium Weight Yarn

Kelbourne Woolens Germantown (100% North American wool, 220 yds/201 m, 100 g), 1 skein each #005 Black (A) and #625 Scarlet (B), or colors of your choice.

US size 8 (5 mm) knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge

Stitch marker or safety pin

Finished Dimensions

3.75″ (9.5 cm) wide x 61″ (155 cm) long

Gauge

20 sts and 39 rows = 4” (10 cm) in garter stitch (knit every row)
Gauge is not crucial in this pattern, but for best results match the gauge of the pattern. Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch.

Pattern Note

Leave a 4-5″ [10-13 cm] tail of yarn each time you change yarns so that you’ll have enough yarn to securely weave in the tails. Each time you change yarn colors, the yarn tails should be on the rightmost edge of the scarf.

Instructions

With A, long tail cast on 19 sts.

Row 1 (Wrong Side): Knit.

Turn the work and place a marker on the right side to help you keep track of the right and wrong sides.

Rows 2-15: Knit.

At this point you have a total of 8 garter ridges and you have ended by knitting a wrong side row.

Cut A.

Rows 16-27: With B, knit. End by knitting a wrong side row. You have 6 garter ridges of B.

Continue working alternate stripes of 8 garter ridges (16 rows) in A and 6 garter ridges (12 rows) in B, until you have 20 stripes in color B. End by knitting a wrong side row.

Last stripe: With A, knit 8 garter ridges (16 rows). End by knitting a wrong side row. Bind off on a right side row.

Weave in all ends. Block.

WeCrochet: A Brand Just for Crocheters

We Crochet Featured Image with Girl in Hat

Recently a new player has arrived in the crochet world. WeCrochet is a new multi-faceted brand that focuses entirely on crochet. I interviewed Heather Mann, Marketing Coordinator of WeCrochet, about what crocheters can expect to see.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Tell us a little about WeCrochet, and why you felt there was a need for a crochet-specific brand.

WeCrochet is the new brand dedicated to all things crochet. We have an online store, WeCrochet Magazine, WeCrochet Podcast, a blog, and a learning center with crochet how-tos and videos.

WeCrochet magazine

There are many websites, publications, and brands devoted to knitting, but almost none that focus exclusively on crochet, yet crochet is increasing in popularity according to Google search trends. We wanted to create a place for Crocheters, by Crocheters, with patterns and content that is tailored to what Crocheters want.

What does WeCrochet offer than is different from other sites that offer yarn and crochet patterns?

We carry our own yarn (co-branded with our sister site, Knit Picks), our own crochet hooks, and develop our own patterns, but that’s just the beginning.

The most important component of WeCrochet is the community we are building within the already vibrant online crochet community. We feature Crocheters on our blog and in our magazine, feature community crocheters’ photos on Instagram and Facebook, interact with people via our Ravelry and Facebook groups as well as all our social media channels. I think the passion our staff has for crochet (we are all Crocheters too) spills out into everything that we do, and you can feel the love we have for crochet and our crochet community.

The WeCrochet Team
Heather Mann (left) and the WeCrochet team

How did you become involved with WeCrochet?

Colorful crocheted throw from WeCrochet

I was a professional craft blogger (at DollarStoreCrafts.com) for 10 years, as well as running my own influencer marketing company, but I was ready for a change. I’m a super crafty person (I call myself an “omnicrafter”), and I’ve been crocheting for 15 years. When I found out Knit Picks was starting a crochet site AND that their headquarters are in my town, I couldn’t apply for the job fast enough.

I was the first person hired for the new crochet site and I participated in all aspects of defining the brand. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the last year.

Your site is bright and appealing, and has resources for beginning crocheters. What do you offer more advanced crocheters in the way of content?

Crocheted Sweater from WeCrochet

We are dedicated to serving Crocheters of all levels. Right now what we are doing to serve more advanced Crocheters is providing intermediate and advanced crochet patterns. We have focused on developing beautiful sweater and garment patterns, as well as resources and patterns designed to help beginning Crocheters level up into more advanced Crocheters. We also talk about intermediate and advanced techniques in our magazine, podcast, and blog.

It’s National Crochet Month. What is WeCrochet doing to celebrate?

We’ll be celebrating with a segment on the WeCrochet podcast, donating staff projects to Warm Up America, and doing some fun giveaways on our social media accounts. We’re also starting a new Crochet Along for the Bobble Diamond Blanket, that will go from March-April.

What else do you want us to know?

If you are a crochet designer, keep your eye on our Ravelry group for our submission calls so you can submit patterns to our upcoming publications. And all Crocheters, please feel free to reach out to us anytime via social media.

Yay Crochet Kits from WeCrochet are deeply discounts kits that contain the WeCrochet magazine plus tools and yarns you can use to make some of the projects in the magazine.

The $15 Yay Crochet Kit is a $39 value
The $25 Yay Crochet Kit is a $100 value.

Here are some of the beautiful yarns available from WeCrochet’s website:

10 Ways to Celebrate National Crochet Month

March is National Crochet Month

It’s March, and that means it’s National Crochet Month. Of course, you can celebrate crochet all year, but here are some ideas for things you can do to recognize #NatCroMo.

This post contains affiliate links.

#1 Crochet in Public

Don’t hide! Let others see what you are doing!

Hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Crochet while you are waiting for appointments, waiting in line, waiting for your kids, or simply spending time outside. Why fiddle with your phone when you could be crocheting?

#2 Teach Someone to Crochet

Teach someone to crochet. Share your passion. If you can crochet, you can teach someone else.

Nervous about teaching? Don’t be! Check out the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructors Program, a program that gives you the tools and knowledge you need to be an effective teacher.

Onsite Certified Instructors Program Craft Yarn Council

Note for 2020: In July I’ll be teaching the on-site Craft Yarn Council Certification Program in Crochet. It’s 2.5 days of intensive instruction, and you’ll get certified in both Levels 1 and 2. Look for more details on the blog later this week.

#3 Learn a New Technique

Learn a new technique. Stretch your wings!

Do you know foundation single crochet? Join-as-you-go? How to avoid gaps at the beginning of rows? How to block your projects?

You can never know everything there is to know about crochet, but take this month to learn more. The more you know, the better (and happier) crocheter you will be.

#4 Learn a New Stitch Pattern

Don’t get stuck in a rut. Let this be the month you try a new stitch pattern. There are thousands of ways you can combine basic crochet stitches to make fabulous fabrics.

Check out online sources for individual stitch patterns, or look at some of the following stitch dictionaries, which offer many stitch patterns in one place.

#5 Get Comfortable with Symbol Charts

Get comfortable with symbol charts. If you’ve shied away from crochet symbol diagrams, take some time now to understand them. Symbol diagrams are a visual representation of crochet stitches. They can be a huge help in understanding the sometimes confusing language in crochet patterns.

See It Crochet It Reading Diagrams with Charles Voth

To learn about creating crochet charts, read In Search of Crochet Charting Software and watch How to Read a Crochet Pattern, which includes reading a crochet diagram. My colleague Charles Voth has a Bluprint class called See It, Crochet It, which covers reading crochet charts in some detail. The very best way to learn about charts is to use them! All of my books, and most of my self-published patterns, include charts as well as text.

#6 Splurge on a New Tool

Splurge on a new tool. Whether it’s that special crochet hook you’ve been wondering about or a special ball of yarn you’ve been coveting, treat yourself to something special.

Clover Amour Crochet Hook Set
#7 Make a Quick Crocheted Gift

Make a quick crocheted gift. Everyone loves to get a handmade gift. Celebrate the month by crocheting a quick gift and give it to someone you love—or to a complete stranger!

Quick Crochet Home Decor Book coer
Quick Crochet Home Decor

For bonus points, wrap your gift in “crocheted” gift wrap paper.

#8 Put Crochet in an Unexpected Place

Put crochet in an unexpected place. Crochet a border on a picture frame or basket. Or go big and yarn bomb something! It’s always fun to see crochet in a surprising place.

Building covered with granny squares
Image by M W from Pixabay
#9 Join a Crochet Along

Join a Crochet Along (CAL). Crochet Alongs happen all the time, so you should be able to find one at any time you happen to read this post. This month, I’m finishing up a 5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along with Plymouth Yarn, but you can still join in and catch up in your own time.

5-Panel Blanket Crochet Along

Previously I did a Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket CAL, but it’s still available for you to join at any time. Check Ravelry for other CALs.

#10 Find Other Crocheters

It’s fun to crochet with others. If you’ve crocheted in public, you’ve probably run into like-minded souls there. Collect their contact information and meet up at a local coffee shop.  

Young hands crocheting
Image by Lola Reyes from Pixabay

Find a local crochet guild, form a lunchtime crochet group at work or school, or see if your local yarn shop has a “open table” for yarn crafts.

Consider going to a crochet conference, where you’ll find oh-so-many passionate crocheters. The Crochet Guild of America hosts the annual Chain Link conference. It includes a market and crochet classes for all skill levels. There’s plenty of opportunity for sharing laughter and knowledge with other crocheters.

What you are going to do to celebrate National Crochet Month?

Crochet Along with Me: 5-Panel Blanket

5-Panel Crochet Blanket

For the next several weeks, over on the Plymouth Yarn Magazine blog, I’m going to be hosting a free Crochet Along (CAL). I’d love to have you join us.

5-Panel Crochet Blanket Crochet Along

We’ll be crocheting a 5-Panel Blanket. Each panel is made with a different stitch pattern, and along the way I’ll show you not only the stitch pattern, but tips and tricks for making your crocheting easier.

Don’t love the colors? Not a problem! Choose colors that suit your decor.
Find all the details here.

Gather up your yarn, and join me and Plymouth Yarn as we crochet along together.

Past Crochet Alongs

Last year I hosted a crochet along here on the blog and on Ravelry. You can buy the completed pattern for the Skill-Builder Blanket Crochet Blanket CAL.

Skill-Builder Crochet Blanket

How to Knit Intarsia in Garter Stitch

Garter Stitch Intarsia
Garter Stitch Intarsia Swatch

Intarsia knitting can be a fun color knitting technique! The trick is in understanding how to prevent holes at the color changes. While a lot of intarsia projects are knitted in stockinette stitch, it’s easy to do in garter stitch if you know how.

Let’s work through this simple intarsia sample together, and I’ll show you how wonderful it can be to knit intarsia in garter stitch. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a video.

This post may contain affiliate links which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but don’t cost you anything.

What is Intarsia Knitting?

Intarsia is a color knitting technique that uses one yarn color at a time to create blocks of color. You work across stitches in one color, then drop the old color and pick up the new color to begin working the next stitches.

The yarns are twisted around each other at the color change to prevent holes.

Compare this to stranded knitting techniques where you hold multiple colors across a row, or slip stitch techniques which use just one yarn and just one color across the entire row.

yarn balls and yarn butterfly
I’m using three colors. The pink is wound into a yarn butterfly.

You can use separate full balls of yarn, or wind your yarn into yarn butterflies or yarn bobbins.

In this sample I used full balls for the blue and the green and a yarn butterfly for the pink. I’m using Marly Bird’s Chic Sheep from Red Heart, and Clover Takumi bamboo knitting needles, size 5 mm.

Intarsia in Stockinette Stitch vs. Garter Stitch

If you’ve never done intarsia before, it can seem intimidating. Just remember that you are only holding one strand of yarn at a time, so how hard can it really be?

There’s a simple rule for remembering how to twist the yarns at the color change:

  • Hold the old color to the left
  • Pick up the new color from underneath (and to the right of) the old color
  • Begin working with the new color.

The trick is to cross the yarns on the wrong side at each color change to prevent a hole. In stockinette stitch this becomes intuitive, because the yarn is just where it needs to be, at the front or back of the knitting, as you come to it. In garter stitch, however, when you are knitting wrong side rows, you have to bring the yarn forward between the needles to allow that yarn crossing to happen on the wrong side.

Confused? Me too. I’d rather show you.

Reading a Chart

Garter stitch is usually worked from a chart. While there are different ways of presenting the information for a garter stitch chart, we’ll be working from this one.

Intarsia in Garter Stitch chart

I’ve made a printable pdf of the chart available to make it easier for you to follow along.

Download the PDF for chart Button

This chart is read in the ordinary way, with each rectangle representing a stitch. Right side (odd-numbered) rows are worked from right to left and wrong side (even-numbered) rows are worked from left to right. Note that all the rows are knit.

Intarsia in Garter Stitch chart

Cast On and Row 1

Garter Stitch Intarsia Cast on and Row 1
Cast on 10 stitches in each color.

You’ll read the chart beginning with Row 1, a right side row. If you use a long-tail cast on, you can count the cast on as Row 1. This is what I like to do when working garter stitch.

Using a long-tail cast on, cast on 10 stitches in blue, then 10 stitches in green. At this point, the cast ons will not be connected to each other.

Row 2

Row 2 is a wrong side row, read from left to right. Knit 10 stitches in green.

Garter Stitch Intarsia Row 2, photo 1
Bring old color between needles to the front.

Now that you’ve finished with the green for this row, it’s time to change to blue, but you need to twist the yarns to prevent a hole. This twist needs to happen on the wrong side. Since this is a wrong side row, that means that the twist needs to happen on the side closest to you.

Garter Stitch Intarsia, Row 2, photo 2
Pick up new color from underneath so that the old color crosses over the new color.

Bring the old color (green) to the front between the needles. Hold it to the left. Pick up the new color (blue) from underneath the old color and bring it between the needles to the back.


Bring new color to the back and knit with new color.

Begin knitting with the new color, and knit to the end of the row.

Row 3

Garter Stitch Intarsia, hold old color to the left
On right side rows, hold old color to the left.

This is a right side row, and the color change will happen on the back (wrong side). Knit 10 with blue, then hold the old color (blue) to the left


Garter Stitch Intarsia Pick up new color from underneath old color.
Pick up new color from underneath old color.

and pick up the new color (green) from underneath the old color. Knit 10 with green.


Row 4

Once more on a wrong side row, for good measure: Knit 10 blue, bring yarn forward between the needles. Hold the blue to the left. Pick up the green from underneath the blue and bring the green to the back. Knit 10 with green.

Row 5

Garter Stitch Intarsia Add pink on Row 5
Add pink on Row 5.

It’s time to add a third color! Knit 9 stitches in blue. Leaving a long tail, knit 2 stitches in pink. Hold the pink to the left and pick up the green from underneath, knit 9 stitches in green.

Rows 6-24

Work in pattern according to the chart, crossing the yarns when the colors change.

Bind Off and Weaving In Ends

Garter Stitch Intarsia Bind off closeup
Knit the last stitch of the blue with green yarn.

Bind off on a right side row, using the following trick to make sure you maintain a clean color transition. Beginning with blue, bind off until there is 1 blue stitch on your right needle and 1 blue stitch on your left needle.



Garter Stitch Intarsia completed bind off
This bind-off method prevents the blue from creeping into the green section.

Knit the next stitch in green (turning the blue stitch into a green stitch). Continue binding off in green.


Garter Stitch Intarsia Weave in ends.
Weave in ends.

Use the remaining pink tails to close up the holes at the beginning and end of the diamond, then weave in those ends on the wrong side of the pink section. Weave in remaining ends.

What are you going to knit next? Will you give garter stitch intarsia a try?

Stocking Stuffers for Knitters and Crocheters

Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters
Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters

Stuff a stocking with tools and notions for a fiber artist in your life. They’ll love you for it, and you may even get a handmade gift in return! Here are some suggestions for stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Scroll over the image for more information, or click the links to learn more.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but won’t cost you anything extra.

Stitch Markers

Every crocheter and knitter uses stitch markers, and if they don’t, they should! And markers have a way of getting lost, so we always need more.

There are several different styles of marker. Even if the gift recipient has a current favorite, it’s always a good idea to try new products. Try them all!

Hint: Crocheters need markers that open. Look for the words “locking”, “split ring”, or “opening” in the title to make sure you are getting the right kind.

Scissors

A good pair of scissors is always appreciated. I’m always on the lookout for tiny scissors that pack easily but are sharp enough to cut well.

Wondering about scissors in your airplane carry-on? According to the TSA, scissors with blades less than 4″ are allowed. However, razor blade style circular thread cutters are not allowed.



Small Tools & Notions

Besides stitch markers and scissors, there are all kinds of little tools that make a fiber artist’s life easier. Here are some suggestions.

Hint: Check before buying tape measures. They either have WAY too many already, or not quite enough.


Note Cards & Paper

We can’t play with yarn ALL the time! Sometimes we have to write old-fashioned notes, on paper.

A Google search will lead you to lots of knitting and crochet-themed paper products. Here are some of my favorites.

Things to Drink From

It’s important for crafters to stay hydrated. Whether that’s water, soda, or wine, there are plenty of options for yarn-related beverage containers.

Once you open your eyes to the possibilities, there are lots of stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Want ideas for larger gifts? Read 12 Gifts for Knitters and Crocheters, and Sheep-Themed Gift Roundup.

If you find something I’ve missed, please share your ideas in the comments below.