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Zig Zag Baby Scarf Pattern

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I got a polite request to share the pattern for the scarf I made for Z.  No problem!  This is a nice, simple pattern and it is easy to work in almost any yarn - gauge is not critical at all to this pattern.  My recommendation is worsted-weight superwash or a soft acrylic just to keep it fast and fun and washable (if it is for a baby... if it's for an adult, the washability is clearly dependent on the recipient).   You don't need all that much of any one color of yarn -- in fact, even a few yards is fine. Your yarns also do not have to be the exact same type of yarn as long as the washability and gauge characteristics are comparable.  Before you start, put your yarns in some order that you like so that you can make sure you get a color progression you like.

This is a simple pattern, so it is easily scaled up for any size recipient, but I'll provide the details for a toddler/child just to keep it simple.

First off, cast on 16 or so stitches on needles that don't give you too dense a a fabric with the yarn you are working with.  Scarves usually do better with a little drape.  This pattern is a modified K2 P2 ribbing, so it will pull in a little, creating a little extra thickness.  However, because the ribbing is shifted every two rows, it won't pull in like straight K2P2 ribbing, instead it will lay flat and maintain most of it's width*.  Obviously, you can cast on any number of stitches that is divisible by 2.  I selected my starting point based on the amount of yarn I had and a general examination of Z's neck.  I didn't want it to be too wide or it wouldn't sit comfortably around her neck.

After casting on, knit 4 rows -- this will create a little garter stitch border for the scarf, and a nice flat foundation to start on.  Now it's time to start the pattern!

You can choose to start with either a left or right progressing (slanting) ribbing.  The charts I've provided include a two stitch garter stitch border on either edge of the ribbing (stitches 1 & 2 and 15 & 16) the edge stitches are indicated with the grey shading.  Please note that the "|" symbols represents "knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side" (except for the edging which should be a knit stitch no matter which side you are working) and the "-" symbol represents "purl on the right side knit on the wrong side".  This pattern has an 8 row repeat interval.  So once you start, you just keep going, starting with row 1 again after you finish an 8 row repeat.  Just keep knitting until you run out of yarn or want to change color.  It doesn't matter what row you end on.  If you'd like my original excel file with the chart in it, you can
download Zigzag.xls by clicking here.

When you complete a color, you want to end that color with the end of a row.  What you do next depends on whether you ended with a right side or wrong side row.

  • If you ended with a wrong side row, on the next row you're going to switch direction.  To figure out what your next row would be, identify the row you finished with in which ever ribbing direction you were working (as an example, let's say you ended with row 4 of the left progressing ribbing).  Now look in the chart for the alternate direction and find the exact same row (in my example, this would be row 8 in the right progressing chart).  Your next row is going to be the row that follows the row you just finished in the new chart.  So in my example, since my end row would be row 8 in the right progressing chart, I'd start my new color with row 1 of the right progressing chart.  
  • If you ended with a right side row, you're going to complete the wrong side row for the pattern you are working on before switching direction.  So, for example, if you ended with row 5 of the right progressing chart, you would work row 6 of the right progressing chart in your new color.  Row 6 in the right progressing chart is the same as row 6 in the left progressing chart, so your next row would be row 7 of the left progressing chart.
After you've switched charts, you continue to knit in pattern with that chart until you get to the next color change. After which, you repeat the steps for switching directions again. 

You're going to continue knitting and switching directions until you're on your last color.  When you're on your last color (ideally your scarf will be somewhere between 3 to 5 feet long for a child, for an adult, somewhere between 6-7 feet is usually a good length), you're going to continue knitting in pattern until you think you have about enough yarn left for 4 rows of straight knitting plus your cast off.  At this point, you're going to stop knitting in pattern and just knit 4 rows in garter stitch (like you did to begin the scarf and bind off with the cast-off of your choice.

Now all you have to do is weave in your ends, et voila! a fun, sweet baby scarf is ready for it's recipient.

20081201_DICScarfZ.jpg If you use this pattern and have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me or post your questions in the comments.  I'll also try to link to this in Ravelry for those of you who might want to add it to your queue so that you can remember it for later.

* as a general design note, stitch patterns with an equal number of knits and purls in each row will lie flat. 

Classy* Baby Scarf


Sometimes yarn remnants sit in my stash for ages with no identifiable future.  Other times, their destiny becomes obvious.  When I made the Tulip sweater for Ms. Z, I had bits of all the colors left over.  At the time, I was not entirely sure what to do with the bits, but they were far too pretty to condemn to the stuffing bin.  Once I had a mobile winter outdoor-going toddler, their ultimate home became clear.

20081201_DICScarfOrchid.jpgI might not be able to convince her to wear mittens, but I didn't think she'd have a problem with a scarf (or, more to the point, I didn't think she would be able to figure out how to get the scarf off once she was bundled into her coat).

The scarf is knit in the same color order as the sweater.  I knit with each color until I ran out.  Since I had different amounts of each yarn, that meant that I got a lovely, random rainbow scarf.

It ended up being an almost perfect length for a toddler.  In fact, I think she's likely to get more than one year out of it.

I wanted a pattern that would lay flat, but still not be deadly boring to knit.  So I started out with K2 P2 rib and then on every right side row I shifted the pattern one stitch to the right or one stitch to the left depending on which color I was knitting -- every time I changed colors, I changed the direction of the shift.  This pattern resulted in something that both kept me entertained and created a fun textural detail in the scarf.

20081201_DICScarfLength.jpgSimple, fun, washable and soft -- perfect for an inquisitive toddler girl with an active lifestyle.

20081201_DICScarfBaby.jpgThe scarf's first outing was to one  of my mom's LYS -- Knit Around.  Z has a habit of going crazy whenever I let her near my stash, grabbing yarn and throwing it everywhere before finally grabbing something and running off all over our upstairs with it (which is completely forgiven when she looks at me and says "Yarn, Momma.  Yarn!") so I figured I needed to be prepared for similar exuberant behaviour in a yarn store, even with grandma helping to keep an eye on her.  I also figured that a baby in hand knits might be more easily forgiven her transgressions.  I need not have worried.  Knit Around has a toy box near the front of the store (and a coffee machine and two lovely seating areas -- it's a store that I like a great deal) and once she discovered those toys, you would hardly have known she was there.  So both momma and baby had a good time and both momma and Grandma came a way with sock yarn.  A good time for all concerned.  Z left the store with a sucker.  The scarf got sticky, but the baby was happy.  And that is what superwash scarves are all about!

And even better, Z never tried to take her scarf off

* Updated to add... I can't believe that I forgot to mention that the yarn is Dream in Color Classy.  Nice yarn for baby sweaters and scarves.