Kat’s advent scarf – pattern and project

We-ell, ‘pattern’. This is the easiest project imaginable, and the only tricky bit is also the most fun bit where you get to work out your colour palette.

But let me dial it back a bit. Do you have a bunch of half-skeins or third-skeins left over from socks? That amount of yarn where there’s almost a project still in it, or you know that combined with something else it could be fantastic?

Me too! (and, surprise, I still do – but this project has helped a little) So last year, as you might remember, I decided to use a stack of those leftovers for a just-for-me, homemade advent calendar to keep me amused from 1st to 24th December. I reckoned that a scarf was an appropriately simple project which I could tote around as needed and where I wouldn’t have to concentrate when I was knitting in front of the TV, while also being something that I’d actually wear.

Turns out, it was a total joy from beginning to end, and the resulting scarf makes me smile every single time I see it. LOOK!

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YAY SCARF!

It’s so simple that it’s hardly a pattern, but if you’d like to create your own and are looking for inspiration, here’s the process I followed.

1. Start by emptying out all of your leftover sock yarn/4-ply/fingering weight stash on a handy surface. (this is a cheating picture from last year’s sock yarn stash swap, but it gives the right kind of feel)

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Yarn. SO MUCH YARN.

2. Now start playing with colours. Is this also an advent project and, if so, do you literally want 24 different colours involved? (I totally did.) Or do you want 12, or 10, or just have two that you absolutely love?

3. Let’s assume you’re going for the full 24, like me. How do different colours look next to each other? Do you want a subtle gradient shift? A rainbow? Stripes? I wanted to have different colours shifting from one end to the other, and I definitely wanted stripes.

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Here’s the very attractive starting-point I had when I was messing about with colours, interlocking two colour gradients (pink at one end, blue at the other) with more neutral colours, and taken on the exotic background of a spare duvet in the back bedroom. Do take a picture once you’ve worked out your perfect order, so you can refer back to it later (unless you decide you want to go for random chaos – knitter’s choice!).

4. Prepare your skeins! You’ll need scales and patience for this. I weighed out 10g (ish) of each of my yarns and yes, in today’s Instagrammable world, I made little mini-skeins of each one even if they’d previously been wound into a very serviceable ball. (You obviously don’t need to do this part unless you’re as keen on appearances as I evidently am.) I also had my usual little ‘helper’ – click on the picture below if you want to see the camera swing around to a view of the cat having stolen my chair…

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5. If it really is going to be an advent knit, then check that you’re happy with your colour order one last time (maybe take another pic) before lovingly packaging up your happy little yarn bombs into numbered bundles. I was rushing a bit and had nothing better to hand than a huge pile of envelopes and some greena and red Sharpies, but you could treat yourself to making little presents with bows and everything if you’re feeling fancy.

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6. Swatch and plan your actual scarf. I played around with swatches for ages before being totally happy with my plan, and of course you can do exactly as I did (see below), but if you want something slightly different then now’s the time to think about it. (By the way, the instructions below might make it sound WAY COMPLICATED. It’s totally not – you do 12 rows with the first colour, then start alternating 4-row colour blocks, and never use any yarn for more than 24 rows in total.)

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Someone else really wanted to be part of the occasion.

Instructions for Kat’s advent scarf

Useful information:

  • Needles: 3.35mm
  • Yarn: 24 x 10g/40m homemade mini-skeins (or 12 x 20g/80m, or 4 x 60g/240m, or 2 x 120g/480m, or some other combination where you can work out the maths)
  • Gauge: 8 rows/10 stitches per inch in pattern when lightly stretched
  • Final scarf: approx 72 inches long by 8 inches wide after blocking, without tassels (though, because it’s ribbed, the width obviously concertinas in when you actually start wearing it)
  • Row pattern: (k2, p2), repeat to 4 stitches from end, k2, slip last 2 stitches purlwise with yarn in front. (This creates a 2-stitch i-cord up each side of the scarf, which neatens the edges. It also means you can carry colours up inside the i-cord, which helps to hide them between stripes.)
  • Note that days 1 and 24 will be different to the other days.
  • Top tip: weave ends in every few days! Otherwise you’ll be left with 48 ends to weave in on Christmas Eve, which will make you want to cry into your eggnog.
  • Second top tip: if there is any chance of any of your yarns bleeding (if you know that they did the first time you used them, for example), you might want to set the dye in those yarns before you get going. I did not do this and also was extremely lucky that none of my yarns bled colour when I blocked the scarf (phew).
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It’s hard to pretend this was a sensible photoshoot when I’m wearing these slipperboots

Instructions:

On day 1, open your first advent package and squee with glee a little bit. Then cast-on 88 stitches using 3.25mm needles. Work row pattern (see above) for 12 rows.

On day 2, open your second advent parcel, admire it for a little while, and then use your new yarn colour to start creating stripes of 4 rows each (always using the row pattern for every row). Stop using a yarn once you have worked 24 rows in total with it (not including the cast-on row for yarn 1). So by the end of day 2, you’ll end up with:

  • 12 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1 – STOP USING YARN 1 NOW, because you’ve done your 24 rows with it (12+4+4+4).

On day 3, open the package, beam excitedly as you remember the original project you used that yarn for, and then when you actually start knitting, just do the 4-row stripe pattern from now on. By the end of day 3, you’ll end up with:

  • 12 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 1 (this is where you’d got to yesterday)
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 3
  • 4 rows in yarn 2
  • 4 rows in yarn 3
  • 4 rows in yarn 2 – STOP USING YARN 2 NOW, because you’ve done your 24 rows with it (6 blocks of 4 rows each)
  • 4 rows in yarn 3

And now keep going in this pattern all the way through to day 23. In theory, aside from day 1 (and day 24), you do 24 rows each day. You’ll soon realise though that every other day you can do 28 rows to get ahead (this will make sense when you start going).

When you hit day 24 there’s a bit of extra knitting to do today, just to keep you on your toes on Christmas Eve! You’re going to end the scarf with a larger 12-row block, just like you did at the beginning. This is what you’ll do on day 24 (day 23 will have ended with a 4-row block of yarn 23)

  • 4 rows in yarn 24
  • 4 rows in yarn 23
  • 4 rows in yarn 24
  • 4 rows in yarn 23
  • 4 rows in yarn 24
  • 4 rows in yarn 23
  • 12 rows in yarn 24
  • Cast-off all 88 stitches in pattern.
  • Weave in ends and take a big slug of your favourite drink
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This is my ‘stop taking yourself so seriously, Kat’ face (also wearing anti-migraine literal rose-tinted glasses, just to add some extra colour into the proceedings)

POST-CHRISTMAS (because nobody wants to be blocking on Christmas Day) – you might want to do what I did to really finish things off. Firstly, after weaving in the final ends, I gave this a good cold soak and block. And then once it was dry I added tassels! I chose a neutral grey which went with everything. My tassels are approx 5 inches long (the yarn pieces were cut to roughly 12 inches, then the knot takes up some of the length, and then I trimmed them for neatness). If you’ve not tasselled before, it’s a little fiddly but really easy – here’s an online tutorial.

I wear this scarf all the time. Knitting it every day in the run-up to Christmas brought me lots of happy memories as I thought about the starter project for each yarn that I used. It’s bright and bold and beautiful, and I love it. Also, as already mentioned, the highly Instagrammable side of things means I have pictures of every stage of this scarf’s progress. 

And lastly,  in case you were wondering, these are the yarns I used. 

  • Day 1: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Ruby’
  • Day 2: Twist Sock from The Wool Barn in ‘Blush’
  • Day 3: Cashsoft 4-ply from Rowan in a mystery shade of fuschia
  • Day 4: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Danburite’
  • Day 5: Sock from Tiger in ‘Fuschia’
  • Day 6: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Kunzite’
  • Day 7: BFL 4-ply mini from Riverknits in ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Jewel Fuschia’
  • Day 8: BFL Supersock from Travelknitter in ‘London Skies’
  • Day 9: BFL Supersock from Travelknitter in ‘Electric Junkyard’
  • Day 10: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Iolite’
  • Day 11: BFL Supersock from Travelknitter in ‘Firecracker’
  • Day 12: BFL Supersock from Travelknitter in ‘Laneway City’
  • Day 13: Tough Sock from The Uncommon Thread in orange
  • Day 14: Wool/bamboo/silk 4-ply from knitshop yarns in denim blue
  • Day 15: Pure Merino Sock from Travelknitter in ‘Jaipur’
  • Day 16: Mohair Blends 4-ply from Blacker Yarns in ‘Portmellon’
  • Day 17: Sock from Sundara Yarns in ‘Beach Glass’
  • Day 18: BFL 4-ply mini from Riverknits in ‘Jewel Jade’
  • Day 19: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Chryso’
  • Day 20: Socks Yeah! from Coopknits in ‘Topaz’
  • Day 21: Luxury Alpaca Blends Sock from Town End Alpacas in ‘Aqua’
  • Day 22: Pure Merino Sock from Travelknitter in ‘Dabbling Duck’
  • Day 23: Katie Fingering from Dandelion Yarns in a nice speckled white/blue
  • Day 24: Deeply Wicked from Easyknits in ‘Splasher’

If you do make one yourself, enjoy! I really, really did.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Stefanie says:

    Great way to use up scraps, Kat. I like the color scheme and how patient you were to knit all that up with fingering weight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stef! Doing it a little bit at a day meant it always stayed fun (especially when I couldn’t remember what colours were coming up next).

      Like

  2. AJ says:

    This sounds so cool!

    Liked by 1 person

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