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Ridiculously warm, double-layered, Arsenal-striped alpaca scarf

Ah, failure to update both this and ravelry. Thus begins this years resolution to update both more regularly, and so to start, this:

Dad's birthday present 2012

is a new scarf I knit for my dad with an improvised pattern.

My younger brother recently moved to Chicago –FOR SCIENCE– taking with him my dad’s Arsenal scarf. The the one he got for free from the stadium, the one made of the finest acrylics, one he wears to matches and can wave over his head at appropriate moments. This sad loss forced him to buy one of the hideous cheapo ones on sale on the stalls on the way to a game, one for cheap he was forced to wear another scarf underneath to keep warm, and that? That obviously forced me to make him one.

(Helpfully, this was about a month before his birthday, also solving the problem of trying to figure out what to give him for that. And he specifically said that he wanted one, a warm one, when I mentioned maybe knitting one for him.)

The scarf had to be red and white striped (because those are the team colours), warm because it can be pretty freezing up there in the stands), with no obvious right side and wrong side (because it annoys me when scarves have that) or ugly switching of colours (ditto) and also, not be too dull to knit.

The last bit ruled out a stocking stitch tube-style scarf, which would have been the quickest, not wanting to see the purl-colour bump ruled out moss and seed stitch, so I ended up with this, the stupidly warm herring-bone stitch alpaca double-layered scarf.

Things to note:

I used 5.0mm circs, at the upper end of the suggested size for this yarn, and I had to make a point of knitting very loosely. Herringbone makes for a dense fabric without a lot of stretch, and for a scarf, you don’t want it too stiff. I had to undo the first set of stripes because they were just too dense a knit, especially compared to the rest. And I tend to knit loosely anyway!

When I said this was ridiculously warm, I wasn’t kidding. It wraps up really nicely and stays in place pretty well.

The other thing to note is that righthand decreases (k2tog) and lefthand decreases (ssk, k2togtbl) are not exactly symmetrical. This means that the seam on the finished piece will drift slightly. The seam on this is not invisible, though you can fitz with it a little to make it less obvious. SSK is more balanced with k2tog, but slightly slower to knit than k2togtbl, so pick your poison there.

This scarf is knit as a tube, which will have a bit of a twist to it. In practice, this doesn’t make much difference (the scarf still folds flat), but the seam doesn’t stay neatly to one side. It travels across the flattened tube.

Stitch notes

Herringbone stitch in the round:

Row 1: Knit 2 tog, but only drop the first stitch off the left-hand needle, leaving one stitch on the left-hand needle (plus the new stitch on the right-hand needle.

Row 2 As above, but knit 2 tog through the back loop (k2togtbl). You can also ssk, but it’ll be slightly slower.

When you come to the end of the round, you will have to shuffle the stitches a little– remove marker, slip the last stitch held over from a k2tog onto the LH needle to join the first stitch of the next round, K2togTBL, replace marker between the stitches.

If that doesn’t make sense, there are more detailed, nicely photographed instructions over on, which would have been handy for me to find before starting the scarf.


This barely constitutes a pattern, not least because I pretty much worked it out on the go. It’s really more of a general guideline that will give you a scarf of appropriate size.

5mm circs, 1 skein each Berroco Ultra Alpaca (roughly 2 x 200m worsted weight yarn).

Cast on 80 stitches on 5.0 mm circs, in Colour1. Join in a loop, being careful not to twist.
Herringbone stitch in colour1 for the next 14 rows.
Change colour. Herringbone stitch in colour2 for the next 14 rows.

Repeat until you’ve almost finished the yarn, or it’s an appropriate length. I like my scarves to be at least as tall as I am.

To finish, you can either cast-off and sew the tube sides together or (slightly neater) you can graft the two sides of the tube together or do a three needle bind off to join the sides, whichever you prefer.

At the bottom, Cast-On end, either sew the sides together or undo the cast on and graft (or three-needle bind-off) the two sides together. Since I had to unpick the starting stripe, I ended up picking up the stitches, reknitting an extra stripe at the base and finishing it with a three-needle bind off.

I also added a fringe, because it’s a football scarf.

Dad's birthday present 2012

In case anyone is curious, I gave it to him before the next match he had tickets for, where we got the winning goal in the 95th minute. I’m not saying that was the good luck caused by my scarf. I’m just saying.

One comment to “Ridiculously warm, double-layered, Arsenal-striped alpaca scarf”

  1. It is beautiful scarf, I may try to make one myself even though I’m not very good at knitting. That was an awesome match! I think the scarf helped.