I have a friend who recently discovered knitting with alpaca. She is in love with it (aren’t we all…?), and is now looking for a variety of scarf patterns that can be knit with a chunky yarn on about a US 10 (6.0 mm) needle. She’s still a relatively new knitter, also, and doesn’t need anything that’s too challenging—especially when trying to finish up some scarves for the holidays!
Also? Preferably free patterns, so that she doesn’t have to go running off to bookstore after bookstore, or order something that might take a while to get shipped to her. My immediate reaction was “hop on Ravelry, girl! What are you asking me for?!” But sadly, not everyone is as much of a Ravelry addict as I am (I know, I know, what’s up with that, right?!); and since she did just make me some fabulously delicious shortbread, it’s not like I was going to turn down her plea for help. So. Here is what I have to recommend for her.
Of course, at the very bottom of the difficulty ladder, we have your basic garter-stitch scarf. There’s not too much that’s easier than that. Figure out what your cast-on number is, cast that on, and knit every row. Bind off when it’s either long enough, or you run out of yarn. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
What’s that? How do you figure out your cast-on number? The ball band for the yarn she’s using says that 4 inches will be between 12-14 stitches. So if you want a scarf that’s four inches wide, cast on 12 if you are a loose knitter (loose stitches take up more room); cast on 14 if you are a tight knitter (tight stitches take up less room). Want a scarf that’s 8 inches wide? Cast on double that amount. Want a scarf that’s 6 inches wide? Cast on the number for a 4-inch scarf, plus half again that number.
Now it just so happens that Misti Alpaca, the yarn that my friend is using, has a great free pattern called the Misti Chunky Ribs and Ruffles Scarf (if you are on Ravelry, you can check out the details and see almost 600 finished scarves here). This is an easy pattern that has a classy look to it. Even the new knitter can do this one, trust me. My friend has already made a couple of them! But therein lies the problem… she can’t give everyone the same scarf, can she?! Not to mention that even as great as this pattern is, nobody wants to knit five or six of the same pattern between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Looking for something still pretty easy, but without ruffles? Check out the Scrunchable Scarf (if you are on Ravelry, you can check out the details and see almost 700 finished scarves here). This is a great pattern for all weights of yarn, not just chunky. Think of it more like a recipe! For example, the pattern calls for a cast on number in multiples of three. For the yarn my friend is using (which remember, calls for 12-14 stitches for 4 inches), if she cast on 18, she would get a scarf approximately 6 inches wide.
A scarf a step or two up on the difficulty ladder is My So-called Scarf (if you are on Ravelry, you can check out the details and see almost 3700 finished scarves here). This is going to look fantastic if you’re using a multi-colored yarn! While the relatively new knitter might blanch a little at the instructions, trust me, and dive right into it. After the first couple repeats, you’re not even going to need to look at the pattern. You can do it!
If you have either already learned cables, or are interested in learning (they’re not hard, I promise!) I can highly recommend Hello Yarn’s Irish Hiking Scarf (if you are on Ravelry, you can check out the details and see almost 2500 finished scarves here). The original pattern calls for a worsted weight yarn that knits on a US 8 (5.0 mm) needle; but there is absolutely no reason that you couldn’t adapt this for a chunky yarn. Simply follow the same cast-on instructions using your chunkier yarn and size 10 needles, and what you will get is a slightly wider scarf. Then just stop knitting when it gets long enough to suit you!
I hope my friend can find something in the above list that she likes! Otherwise, I might not get any more of her delicious shortbread. Did I mention how yummy her shortbread is? And how much I love it? Wink, wink!
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