Knit

Easy Free Knit Scarf Pattern with No Purling

This free knit scarf pattern involves no purl stitches, making it the perfect choice for beginner knitters. It’s easy but creates a beautiful rib stitch. Many people struggle with purling when they are just getting started…

I knit this easy-but-beautiful scarf for my beautiful boy, who will be spending the next four years in chilly Vermont.

I love that the stitches create such an incredible texture with just the simplest repetition and that it makes a pretty dense, warm piece. Also, I made it extra long — eight feet, three skeins of Cascade Pure Alpaca — so he can wrap it around twice. Gotta keep my baby warm. 🙂

I actually started with one of Purl Soho’s patterns and knit a few feet with their pattern before I realized I hated how sloppy the edges looked. Can’t have that. Horrible. In search of a solution, I found this pattern. Beautiful edges by just slipping the first stitch. So I ripped out what I had done (ouch) and started over.

I seem to be obsessed with Cascade Pure Alpaca these days. (You can find it here, but I rarely by yarn online, and I strongly encourage you to support your local yarn and craft stores, if you are lucky enough to have them.) So flippin soft. I love the definition of the stitches with a worsted weight yarn for this stitch, though a bulky weight could be good too… might have to try that.

I am sharing with you this easy, gorgeous scarf pattern. You are hereby spared the pain of ripping three feet of knitting (rip it, rip it good). Go forth and make warm things for your loveys (or yourself!).

To get a free PDF of the pattern with more photos and tips, click here.

Looking for more knitting patterns? Try my Rainbow Knit Beanie Hat pattern, my Classic Cuffed Beanie pattern, or my Fingerless Gloves pattern.

Knit your own easy No-Purl Scarf

Free, printable knitting pattern for a ribbed scarf — no purling required. Step-by-step instructions for beginners!

Knit scarf pattern creates a raised rib pattern with no purling.

Supplies

  • 3 skeins of worsted weight yarn (also known as Aran weight or 10-ply).
    I used Cascade Pure Alpaca in dark green (100 grams/220 yards/200 meters each). Be sure you get the same dye lot!
  • size US 6 (4 mm) straight or circular needles, or the size needed to obtain gauge
  • yarn needle for sewing in the ends

Gauge

21 stitches = 4 inches in pattern

Knit a swatch with the recommended needle size
Cast on 21 stitches and knit 20 or so rows in the pattern. If it’s too loose, go down a size or two. Yes, I always knit a swatch, and if I’m not happy then I knit another with a different size needle. Since this is a scarf, gauge isn’t super critical, but don’t you want it to look good?!? Well needle size is probably the most critical piece to making sure of that.

Size

7 inches wide x 84 inches long

Pattern

  1. Cast On

    Cast on 49 stitches. This pattern is worked over a multiple of 4 +1, so if you want to make the scarf narrower or wider, just make sure you stick with that math. 41, 45, 53… you get the idea.

  2. Continue in pattern

    Every row is the same: Slip the first stitch purlwise, then *k2, slip one purlwise with yarn in front, k1. Repeat this from * for the rest of the row. That’s it, folks.

  3. Cast off

    Cast off in pattern when you run out of yarn, or you reach your desired length.

  4. Sew in ends

    I like to tack down the ends with a little thread after I sew them in, otherwise, I find they come loose. And that’s not ok. No siree.

The ribbed knitting pattern creates a scarf with a lovely drape.

Comments

  • Purlwise means purl to me. I’ll look for video, maybe I’ll see it to believe it. I’m really a beginner so I’ll need slow motion.

    • Purlwise does not mean that you actually purl the stitch, it just tells you which way to put your needle into the stitch. Definitely look for some videos! And stick with it! It takes a little while to wrap your brain around how all the stitches work, and what all the different terms mean, but you’ll get there. Just give it time to sink in — it’s worth it in the end! I’m putting together a downloadable pattern, with pictures and more instructions. It’ll be available soon.

    • 49! The 21 is for the swatch to check your gauge (meaning the size of your knitting versus the person who created the pattern). Your gauge isn’t so important for a scarf because it will fit whatever size it is, but it is more important for fitted things like hats, sweaters, or gloves.

  • Love this pattern and am anxious to get started soon! One question, does this pattern curl and require blocking?
    Again, thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks so much! I did a small swatch and finally, my results were exactly what I was looking for. My husband and I love the green color, but I am not finding it locally. I live in the metro area of Pittsburgh, PA. Also, I am somewhat of a ‘newbie’ and I don’t know what PDF stands for.

    • Hi Judy, Are you asking about the PDF? I would be happy to send it to you if you’d like. It’ll be available on the site soon!

  • Thanks for sharing! Can you clarify the repeat?

    Slip the first stitch purlwise, then *k2, slip one purlwise with yarn in front, k1. Repeat this from * for the rest of the row

    Should the row read: s1pw, *K2, s1pwyif, k1. Repeat from* to last 2 stitches, s1pwyif, k1 ?
    Thanks for your help

  • Looks like a fun and easy knit! I need a few projects to get me through the winter, especially since we shouldn’t go anywhere (Covid). I am definitely going to knit this up! Thank you for posting!

  • Hi I was hoping for some more clarification on this pattern. “Every row is the same: Slip the first stitch purlwise, then *k2, slip one purlwise with yarn in front, k1. Repeat this from * for the rest of the row. That’s it, folks.”

    So does that mean the pattern is:
    slip 1st pw, k, k, slip pw, k (then repeat)
    k, k, slip pw, k
    OR
    go from the slip pw, k, slip pw, k etc

    Thank you!

    • The first one:
      slip 1st pw, k, k, slip pw, k (then repeat)
      k, k, slip pw, k
      k, k, slip pw, k
      etc.
      until you come to the end of the row.

  • Thank you for a lovely pattern. I would like to adapt it to an in-the-round pattern (so I can use it for hats, neck warmers and sweaters.) How would the second row (round) have to change? Can you help?

    • I would love to help! Give me a minute and I will figure out the pattern for you.
      EDIT: This was an interesting puzzle to solve, and it wasn’t easy to find the answer! No, the pattern is not the same for knitting in the round.

      The pattern is worked over a multiple of 4 + 2 stitches.
      First row (or odd rounds): Knit 2, *slip one purlwise with yarn in front, Knit 3. Repeat from * for the rest of the round.
      Second row (or even rounds): *slip one purlwise with yarn in back, Purl 3. Repeat from * for the rest of the round until you have 2 stitches left, then slip one purlwise with yarn in back, Purl 1.

      As you can see, it’s more complicated to knit it in the round than flat. If I were a newbie knitter and wanted to make a cowl or hat, I would knit this pattern flat and then sew up the seam. Much easier.

  • Hi merel when you slip one purlwise bringing the yarn forward. Then you have to take the yarn back to knit the plain stitch.? Thanks.

      • I am confused with yarn forward and back. Do you mean that after the 2 k, you move the yarn over the needle like you would to purl a stitch, but instead slip that stitch over to the other needle? Then take the yarn under the needle to knit 1?

        • Yes, that’s correct. Make sure you are always taking the yarn forward and back under the needle. Otherwise you will get a loop over the needle that will create a hole or an extra stitch.

  • Easy pattern to work so far! I’ve tried it on medium & heavy weight yarn and everytime I start the project, I feel like the scarf is too narrow. I’m casting on 49 stitches. Is this normal?

  • Hi,

    I have been away from knitting for a while, but I will try this scarf for my wonderful grandson who will be in Vermont for 4 years.
    Thank you so much for the pattern.

  • Thank you for sharing this lovely pattern. I was just looking for a new winter project and now I’ve found it. You’re so patient with us and all our questions. I’ve learned as much reading the comments! It seems like we knitters enjoy the challenge of trying to take a simple pattern and make it more challenging! Like knitting this in the round. I’d love to try it but am thinking it could be an exercise in frustration! But a hat…well- that WOULD be a challenge! Thank you so much!

  • Hello, thank you so much for sharing this. I am fairly new to knitting and find the purl stitch not so much fun as the knit stitch so it’s nice to be able to bypass it in this pattern. I’m just about to give it a go but have a question regarding casting off when finished… I’ve always cast of knit-wise so I’m unsure of how to case of ‘in pattern?’ and it doesn’t mention how in the instruction? can you clarify please? Thank you again.

    • Hi Ray, I’m so glad you like the pattern, and you ask a very good question. Typically, when you are knitting something that is knit and purl stitches, you continue that pattern when casting off. In this case, you would need to purl the stitches in the cast off row that you are slipping in the other rows. But I don’t think you need to. I would just do your knit-wise cast off, and keep it easy. I think I’ll edit the instructions to make it clearer!

      • I apologise for the late reply but appreciate your feedback. I started my scarf and I’m pleased to say I’m about 2 inches away from casting off! I’m going to do it in pattern, following your advice I watched a couple of youtube demos on the difference between the two cast offs and although you’re correct, I too think either would do the job but, I think this beautiful scarf deserves to be cast off in pattern to retain appearance and the stretch. After so many hours spent on this scarf, I’m nervous. I may even knit a few rows on a separate swatch and have a go on that first – just to give me the confidence 😀 I will let you know how it goes!

      • Hi Merel, I’ve finished my scarf! Cast off in pattern with no drama lol. I’m really happy with it. I just wanted to say a big thank you. I have not published the photos anywhere yet as its a Christmas gift for my son but I’ll tag you in on instagram when I can. I just wanted to say thank you again for sharing your lovely pattern and I look forward to looking out for more of your patterns! Thanks again, Ray.

          • Tagged you in on instagram today 😀 My son absolutely loves his scarf and I’m so pleased. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful pattern, you made it so easy to follow. My only tip for anyone reading is to take time to knit a gauge. I’ve realised I’m a tight knitter and should have gone up at least 1 whole needle size which probably would have saved a lot of time. Thankfully it still looks beautiful and although only 6″ wide, it’s perfect for my son. A really enjoyable project, thanks again. Ray x

  • I was having problems with the right and the wrong side, should I purl on the wrong side or just keep on knitting the pattern no matter the side? Maybe I was also a little impatient because the pattern doesn’t really show after the first 3 or 4 rows…

    • You never purl with this pattern, and there is no right and wrong side — it’s the same pattern on both sides. It does take a bit to see the pattern emerge so just keep going!

  • I wanted to make a two-colored scarf and love this texture. When I change color, though, this looks strange. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve never tried it with two colors. I think it’ll just be weird because of all the slipped stitches. You can’t get a clean transition. Makes me want to try vertical stripes and see if that could work…

  • This is such a beautiful pattern. In the beginning, I kept getting confused because I kept following the beginning instructions . . . Knit 2, move yarn to front, slip st purlwise, knit 1. I kept getting confused because I didn’t read all the way through. So I had to rip out and start over again (about 4x!) because I’d forget what stitch should be where. Finally, once I read all the way through and I could clearly see the pattern, the light came on. . . Knit 3 stitches, slip 1 st with yarn in front. No more confusion . . . Just smooth sailing. I’m loving how it’s looking! Just like the picture! Thank you for this lovely pattern!

  • I have used this pattern many times and love it. I also really like the Honeycomb scarf pattern, but I seem to have misplaced the pattern. Could you please email it to me again.
    Thank you for your help.
    Phyllis

  • I started the scarf by thinking k1, k2, k3 over. This caused me many mistakes and caused many rips.
    Now I recite, (in my mind):
    1,2,3,4, 1,2,3,4. No mistakes and I am at 36 inches long! (1k, 2k, 3k, 4 is purlwise.)
    Hope this is helpful. Thank you.

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