Monday, July 26, 2010

Reversible Herringbone Scarf

What is it about Herringbone that in suits and coats it gets eye-rolling but when you knit it up into scarves or sweaters it elicits such oohs and ahhs.

I was on book tour last month for KNITS MEN WANT and one of my stops was for a book signing at SIt-N-Knit in Bloomfield, CT. I used to teach there and it was nice going back for a visit. And as soon as the pleasantries were out of the way, I headed back to the sale nook to grab something for a flight to California - where I knitted on the TV show "View From The Bay" in San Francisco. Well, the first thing that caught my eye was a small basket of Duchess, by Classic Elite. It's a supersoft blend with Merino, Cashmere, and Angora in the mix. There were only 8 skeins left - 4 light brown and 4 dark. And at 40% off I grabbed them all.

Now, I'me a loose knitter so I always go with needles 2 sizes smaller than the manufacturer suggests, which was a 10.5 US. So I grabbed some 8s, 9s, and 10s, and figured I'd swatch my way across the country.

By the time we reached Chicago, I had stockinetted, gartered, seeded, and even cabled in all three sizes but it just wasn't jiving. I am a firm believer that picking the right stitch and pattern for any given yarn is everything. Even an inexperienced knitter can make something that looks fantastic when the stitch/pattern and yarn mesh well. And if they don't, even Ms Zimmerman herself wouldn't be able to make something wear-worthy. Across the aisle from me was a small woman in a 2-tone herringbone tweed suit (in JULY!). I thought how nice that might look knitted very tightly in my new Duchess yarn. I knit herringbone as a coudlbe knit stitch, each stitch being worked twice - first as you knit (or purl) it onto the needle and then again when you get to it on the following row, working it on the row below along with the new stitch being created on the needle. The result is a thick and warm yet very masculine garment that's reversible. But all that thick knitting required size 13s, which I wouldn't be able to get until I landed in San Francisco.

Finally, with my needles in hand, I began the scarf, only to realize that the herringbone pattern was going side to side and I wanted them to shoot up and down the length of the scarf, not from side to side. So back to the store I ran for a 40" circular needle And began the scarf lengthwise, 420 stitches in each row. I had to keep telling myself that it's only 28 rows.

Like the pattern? Check it out (and all my other patterns) at and download it to make for yourself! to order this pattern, just click here! buy now


  1. Hhmm...I like your pattern very much and will also like to learn your way of knitting the heeringbone,
    I cannot find the pattern on your Ravelrysite or by your link
    Is it me or did you forget to upload the pattern?
    By the way, I decided to buy your book. Lets hope all the men around me will appreciate it ;-)

  2. Ann
    I hope it will be up on ravelry this afternoon. Sorry for any confusion there. And please, share pics of your finished men's projects from my book!

  3. Lovely scarf! I can't wait to make one - it will be perfect for my brother in law for Christmas!

  4. I have a beautiful gray and some navy, both in wool blends. I think this scarf will look handsome in those colors. I'll just have to buy a circ that big, and once the pattern is up, I'm good to go.

  5. Thank you. Now I need to knit 4 of these for Xmas presents.

  6. Thanks for all your positive feedback. I am really pleased with how this scarf came out. And also sorry about the delay but now it is ready for download. Either click Buy Now at the bottom of the posting above, or go to ravelry and buy it from my download store there.
    And as always, please share your finished pics!

  7. Amongst various Men’s Fashion Accessories, Men’s Scraves are high status fashion symbol nowadays.Scarves suits masculinity.

  8. Great scarf! This is on my list! Thanks!

  9. Herringbone makes me weak! Just beautiful :)

  10. Hia,

    I got you book over here in the UK but I can't work out how the guage system works - may just be me being a ditz or a difference in UK /US knitting - 3 seems to indicate a chunkier yarn and 6 a finer yarn but this is in revers to the information I found on US yarn guage. Any help much appreciate.

  11. Pete
    You're not a ditz.
    I'm not talking about needle size in the left hand side numbers, that's gauge = number of stitches per inch. You can use what ever needle size you need to achieve the gauge you like best. What I do is try a bunch of different needle sizes with your yarn until I really like the fabric I've created. Then I measure my stitches per inch. Then move over to the top numbers for size. This is completely customizable.
    Let me know if you need more help.

  12. OK, I can't stand it, aside from the glorious herringbone, I MUST ask, how is everyone getting kniting needles on planes???? The last time I flew I was forced to take a sock off the needles and leave the needles behind. Luckily they were inexpensive ones and not part of my favorite sock set.

  13. Entre Nous
    TSA allows knitting needles. There was a brief period after sept 2001 where they were banned, but now you can bring them again. They also allow scissors up to 4" in length. That said, each and every TSA officer at every airport has the right to take away anything from anyone if they think it's a threat. If you're having problems, try circular needles, they're less threatening looking and less annoying to the person sitting next to you!


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