Teaching a Friend How to Knit a Scarf

knitting with wool on circular needle

A scarf is a great beginner pattern when learning how to knit. It’s what I knit the most, before graduating to knitting hats. A long, straight (knitting back and forth) project that should give the beginner lots of practice with knits and purls. And you just may have a beautiful and unique item to wear around your neck next winter.

I’ve decided to knit my own scarf as I show a beginner how to start. I live in Florida and my friend C lives in New York. So she will be learning online. I have learned many things about knitting from YouTube, so I’ll include some favorite YouTube knitting tutorials.

My friend had some very good and basic questions such as, what needles should I use and what kind of yarn? Obviously you need both of those things!

She does not have either of these things, so my suggestion is to buy size 7 or 8, circular needles in a length of 32 inches. Longer 36 or 40 inches is fine too. A 24 inch would also work. A scarf is knit back and forth so cable length is not important but you want there to be some slack for easier knitting.

What is a circular needle?

Circular needles allow the knitter to join their knitting and knit in the round. This is something you can’t do with straight needles. Think of a hat, cowl, or sweater that is circular. But this type of needle can also be used for plain old knitting – flat, like a scarf. Pretend the needles are not joined by a cable.

Read more about buying needles on my previous post.

What I Am Using To Knit My “Landscape Lessons Scarf”

I am naming this scarf so it will be easier to find and it will be “Landscape Lessons” because I plan to show you some very basic knit and purl combinations along the way. It’s all about practice and deciding which combinations you favor.

My suggestion was to my friend was to use wooden needles and worsted weight yarn. I gave her some suggestions which included Lettlopi and Rauma wool. These are inexpensive yarns, and easy to knit with.

If you live near a yarn store, or craft store, go there and pick out some yarn you like. Otherwise I directed her to Wool and Company, an online site that ships yarn for free – no minimum purchase required.

I am using Lykke brand wooden circular needles with Lettlopi wool yarn.

knitting with wool on circular needle
Size 8 circular needles and wool yarn

Cast On

Once you have your yarn and needles, you will cast on. I have written a whole page about various cast on methods, but beginners can use the very simplest.

The video below is excellent, except that I would not suggest bulky yarn. Big needles and bulky yarn can make your hands tired after a while. You can do this same thing with worsted weight yarn and see the stitches fine.

In the video below, she shows how to make the slip knot, begin casting on, knitting back and forth, and binding off! Who needs me? Haha… She also knits right handed, and “throws” the yarn. This is exactly how I knit. (Some people knit continental, which is different, and I’m not getting into right now.)

Well, I do have one suggestion. When she casts on, she is putting her right-hand needle between the two strands and is using only one. This is also how you do the knit stitch – The right needle goes between the two on the needle (photo 2 below).

However, you can also put your needle under BOTH strands for the cast on (photo 1 below). Do the cast on the same way, just stick the needle right under the entire stitch. Either way will still make a nice cast on. Going under both strands makes a sturdier cast on, or something. I forget. Don’t do that while knitting… do it only for the cast on row.

This is a great video, but don’t do the cast off… if you want to knit a scarf, we must continue knitting. I have some changes in store, just in case you want to branch out and try something new along the way.

For my Landscape Lessons Scarf you will cast on, and knit back and forth for as many rows as you like. This will be one end of your scarf. By knitting back and forth, it will help you get a feel for the basic knit stitch.

A light color yarn makes stitches easier to see the stitches!

Do as the woman does in the video above and cast on your stitches. This will be the width of your scarf. If you are using worsted weight yarn with size 7 or 8 needles, cast on 35 stitches. This should make your scarf around 7 inches in width (after I began knitting, my scarf is more like 8.5 inches). Everyone knits differently, so your stitch count could measure more, or less.

You won’t be able to see the actual width until you have knit quite a few rows. Don’t measure the cast on row!

Do as she does in the video and knit back and forth.

If you are using circular needles, do the exact same thing as she does using straight needles. Turn the work, and begin knitting again. Forget the cord is there attaching your needles.

The reason I suggest buying circular needles is that they can be used for more things later on if you find you really love knitting. I rarely ever use straight needles for anything.

Read This – a Helpful Hint

Let’s say you have to set your knitting down and you just plop it on the table, or into the basket. When you come back to continue knitting you must know where to begin.

I’ve made this mistake back when I began knitting. It’s easy to pick up the work and begin knitting in the wrong direction, unless you know this:

Your yarn strand must always be coming off the right-hand needle. Unless you are beginning a new row. It will hang from the end of the needle where you need to begin.

Don’t just pick up the project and flip the yarn to the back and begin knitting. Photo on the left shows the yarn in the wrong place. Turn the work around so that the yarn is coming off the right hand needle. Then begin.

Okay, I am going to think of a name for my scarf project and write the next post.

This page should give you, my readers, and my dear friend C, something to begin with and work on. Let me know how you do.

Go On to Lesson #2

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One thought on “Teaching a Friend How to Knit a Scarf

  1. Pingback: What’s In My Knitting Queue? – New England's Narrow Road

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