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November 10, 2005

Spiral Scarf

nona had to stop the madness, the Spiral Madness.  With great sorrow I bound off my spiral scarf. Although I wasn't done knitting the scarf -- it was so dang fun -- the scarf had grown long enough, the scarf was finished.   The question, fashionable reader, is now -- "What's the best way to wear the spiral?"

Long and Loose  OR >>

I'm partial to "Doubled Over and Through", which do you prefer?  Interested in knitting a Spiral Scarf for yourself?  Continue reading...

Spiral Scarf

The spiral scarf is formed from a series of pie shaped wedges knit one after the other, spiraling around and around.  Each wedge is created using short rows* -- please, please don't be afraid of the short row, once you get the hang of them you'll be buzzing right along.  More information on the YO short row technique used in this pattern can be found here.  The 3 edge stitches on the outside of each wedge forms a slip stitch edging.**

Finished Size
Approximately 3 inches by 62 inches -- hanging


  • Yarn -- Approximately 350 yards of medium to light weight yarn -- I used RY's Cashsoft 510 Clementine (3 balls)
  • Needles -- Appropriate needle for chosen yarn -- I used US 6.

Approximately 18 - 22 sts in 4 inches.  Matching the exact gauge is not critical.

Abbreviations and Techniques

sl1 -- Slip 1 Stitch -- Slip one stitch from the left needle to the right needle.  When slipping the stitch, insert the right needle into the loop as if to purl.
yf -- Yarn Front -- Move the yarn to the front, taking it  between the needles.
yb -- Yarn Back -- Move the yarn to the back, taking it between the needles.
bYO -- Backward Yarn Over -- take the yarn to the back between the needles and then over the right needle to bring the yarn to the front.
Correct Mount -- The next stitch on the left needle is "backwards", the left leg of the loop is in front of the needle instead of the right leg.  Use the right needle to turn this stitch around, leaving it on the left needle.
k2tog -- knit 2 stitches together.
WS -- Wrong Side
RS -- Right Side


  • Cast on 13 stitches
  • Starting with a Wrong Side (WS) row, knit the first wedge as follows:
Row 1 (WS): purl 10 sts, sl1, p1, sl1
Row 2 (RS): k1, yf, sl1, yb, k9, turn
Row 3 and all remaining WS rows: bYO, purl to last 3 sts, sl1, p1, sl1 
Note:  The bYO at the beginning of the row creates a YO just before the 1st purl stitch.  The YO will look slightly "different", this is correct.
Row 4: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k8, turn
Row 6: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k7, turn
Row 8: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k6, turn
Row 10: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k5, turn
Are you seeing the trend here?
Row 12: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k4, turn
Row 14: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k3, turn
Row 16: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k2, turn
Row 18: k1, yf, sl1, yb, k2, [correct mount, k2tog] 8 times, k1
  • Repeat these 18 rows until scarf is approximately 62 inches or desired length.

References and Inspirations
* Other variations on the theme of short row spiral scarfs include Amanda Blair Brown's Ruffles published in "Scarf Style" and Teva Durham's Spiral scarf published in "Loop D Loop".
** I learned the 3 stitch slip stitch edging from Annie Modesitt's Backyard Leaves scarf published in "Scarf Style".

November 10, 2005 in Project - This and That | Permalink


ohhh. very pret. i like doubled over and through.

Posted by: vanessa | Nov 10, 2005 10:55:38 PM

Thank you Nona. I have been waiting up with my needles and yarn ready for your posting. It is 11:15 at night. Do I pour another glass of wine or can I wait for the morning...? I look forward to knitting during multiple soccer games tomorrow.

Posted by: Laura | Nov 10, 2005 11:17:24 PM

DD birthday was Wed. and I've been obsessively checking for the pattern now she can have a 21st and 1 week package at school! Thank you thank you! It's great!

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 11, 2005 4:26:34 AM

Doubled over and through...I wonder if my daughter would wear one of those...it's awfully cute!

Posted by: Sockbug | Nov 11, 2005 5:06:05 AM

It looks great both ways! Maybe it will take something this cute to make me venture into Short-Rowlandia.

Posted by: Zarah | Nov 11, 2005 5:10:38 AM

Doubled over or wrapped around.

If wearing it long and loose I'd worry about it catching hold of something and springing me back like an elastic!

Posted by: Sharon | Nov 11, 2005 5:11:48 AM

Wraparound! Love it. Thanks for posting the pattern.

Posted by: gale (she shoots sheep shots) | Nov 11, 2005 5:29:37 AM

I was hoping that you would show us how to wear it, so I'm delighted that you did! I'm leaning in favour of collar wrap and doubled over and wrap.

Posted by: erin | Nov 11, 2005 6:28:44 AM

Doubled Over and Through -- looks pretty and I bet it's the most fuss-free way to wear it. Thanks for the pattern!

Posted by: Laura | Nov 11, 2005 6:33:27 AM

How very springy! I prefer the doubled over or wrapped around but the long and loose is pretty as well.

Posted by: springy | Nov 11, 2005 7:12:07 AM

Dear Nona,

Thank you for your blog. You're an enormous help and resource to me, as a new knitter.

I'm trying to use up my extra yarn and practicing technique by making my newborn son winter clothes. I'm trying to decide whether to make him a pair of leggings with ribbing in his winter size, this year, 6 mos, or for next year 18 months, and am wondering if I make the two year size on my pattern, can I felt it down to 18 months? Will the ribbing still be stretchy once felted? Think this will work? I'm using chunky weight merino wool.


Posted by: Sarah | Nov 11, 2005 8:46:58 AM

This goes on my list of "things to knit"!! It looks great either way. Thanks for the pattern info.

Posted by: Kelly | Nov 11, 2005 9:07:23 AM

I like double over and through too ... though I don't really like the spiral scarf (just my personal taste ... nothing wrong with the pattern). The coral colour is lovely.

Posted by: Agnes | Nov 11, 2005 9:13:51 AM

Definitely doubled over and throw. Thanks for the pattern. I was eventually going to knit myself a ruffles, but when I get to it, I'm going to knit yours instead!

Posted by: Purly Whites | Nov 11, 2005 1:22:02 PM

can you say copywright infringement?

Posted by: bonnie | Nov 11, 2005 2:26:23 PM

nona here: I'd like to respond to Bonnie's comment. I don't feel like this is a copyright infringement. There are several spiral scarves I've seen from which I have incorporated an idea here and an idea there -- creating my own variation on the theme. Please note that "ideas" and "techniques" are not copyrightable. What is copyrightable is the "expression" of an idea". I feel strongly that my expression of the spiral scarf does vary from the others that I've seen. In addition I have included references to techniques or inspirations, which influenced me.

Posted by: nona | Nov 11, 2005 6:54:51 PM

Nona is correct - unless she was out-and-out copying a complete pattern from a book, leaflet, etc., taking ideas and techniques from other patterns to incorporate into a whole of your own is certainly *not* copyright infringement (note that it's spelled 'copyright'). To be frank, she's not even obliged to name her sources (inspirations) for the various parts of her pattern, but it's courteous to do so, and she has.

I recently made a scarf using a stitch pattern found in a Barbara Walker book - using my own edging technique, and tassels outlined in 'Knitting on the Edge'. Neither Barbara Walker nor Nicky Epstein could claim that I have infringed their 'copyright', were I to publish my scarf pattern online or offline.

Nona - thanks for the pattern, I have been considering making a spiral scarf for my 5 year old niece to use to 'dress up like a pretty lady'. This will definitely do the trick (in pink and purple, of course!)

Posted by: Devri | Nov 11, 2005 9:05:43 PM

hi nona, i love the scarf!! totally the trend for this season. my ruffles are still in the works! must finish it soon before spring.

Posted by: blossom | Nov 12, 2005 7:37:29 AM

I'm with you on the double and folded over. It's so happy! Thanks for the pattern too. Another on my list :)

Posted by: Vicki | Nov 12, 2005 4:59:07 PM

I have also spiraled into Spiral Madness and have been knitting all weekend. I couldn't decide which yarn to use so I started three different scarfs. I am continuing with a pretty winter white for myself but will eventually use the others for gifts. Having made the Ruffle scarf already I would like to note that the Spiral is actually a very different scarf. It rotates around the side instead of the middle and I love the different short row technique, much easier. So I will stick with the Spiral for now.

Posted by: Laura | Nov 13, 2005 6:41:30 PM

Hey nona, doubled over and through gets my vote. Great color! have finished 8 projects for Xmas. Slight MCS in order, don't you think?

Posted by: nona friend the oldest | Nov 15, 2005 5:55:51 AM

Just did my own spiral scarf, thanks so much for the pattern dear, It's so much fun to knit :)

Posted by: Pilar | Feb 15, 2006 12:44:43 PM

Dear Nona,

I am trying to work on that beautiful spiral madness pattern that you have posted on this site. The problem is that I am having problems doing it! I'm especially stuck on the "BYO" abbreviation and row 18. Am I suppose to have extra sts when I BYO in order to k2tog 8 times and end with k1? I'm using straight needles and I still don't see the results. What am I doing wrong?


Posted by: Krystal | Feb 20, 2006 11:25:41 AM

Hey, great scarf and a really interesting technique. I have added a link from my blog at http://craftworker.blogspot.com/2007/05/spiral-madness-scarf.html

Posted by: Billy Blogger | May 16, 2007 12:28:30 PM

Thanks for the pattern. I've been wanting to make this scarf, but unfortunately had a free pattern with serious flaws in it. Since I've already bought the needles and the yarn I've been looking for a pattern that didn't require circular needles and yours fits the bill. Thanks!!!

Posted by: Heather | Aug 9, 2007 6:43:26 AM

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