Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Handknits Inc
beauty shot


Call me lazy: I like clean-edged, sleek constructions, and knitting that is interesting enough to be worthwhile to make, but not so taxing I can’t hold a conversation or look out the window at the same time. This curvy slither of a neck-warmer (dare I say “boa”?)  is cozy, sleek and sculptural.

Crocodylia takes its meandering aesthetic cue from ancient reptilian forms: rippling crocodile pelts, dinosaur skeletons, giant boa constrictors. The pattern is a contemporary adaption of traditional feather & fan lace, and takes full advantage of chunky variegated yarn to make a lace scarf that is geometric, wearable, and not-at-all frilly.

It looks complex but is simple to make- only one out of every four rows is anything other than a straightforward knit or purl. One casts on many stitches and then constructs it lengthwise, organically creating striated undulations.

The body of the scarf curves in and out in a series of perforated disc shapes, with a rippling 3-dimensional spine running down the middle. The ends finish neatly with ribbed fins. The long strands of color enhance the curving stripes, bumps and center ridges. The chunky yarn makes it a very quick knit that gets quite a lot of sculptural effect from very little effort. I chose Lamb’s Pride Bulky as it is widely available, soft, economical, and offers lovely stitch definition. This comes in several appealing variegated color-ways, but would be delicious in something hand dyed as well.

spacer model: Martha Lewis spacer photos: David Lewis, Thom Kimes



Width: 6.5 inches at widest point
Length: 55 inches
Note: Measurments taken after blocking.



spacer Lamb’s Pride Bulky [85% wool, 15% mohair; 125yd/114m per 113g skein]; color: #M210 Forest Shadows; 2 skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 US #11/8mm circular needle, 29 inches or longer

spacer Yarn needle
spacer 10 stitch markers (optional)

11 sts/16 rows = 4" in stockinette st


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

Pattern includes notes for widening scarf, if desired. Note that if scarf is widened, more yarn may be required. Be sure to widen first and second halves by same number of rows.

Note that this scarf is not symmetrical. With RS facing, the first half will be predominantly in stockinette st, while the second half is predominantly reverse stockientte st. In the first half, the lace pattern row (Row 3) is worked on the RS; in the second half, it is worked on the WS.

yo2: Yarn over twice (wrap yarn twice around right needle, from front to back).

Information about blocking can be found here and here.


First Half:
CO 170 sts. Do not join; scarf is worked back and forth in rows.

Set-up Row [WS]: K4, place marker, [k18, place marker] nine times, k4.

Row 1 [RS]: K all sts.

Row 2 [WS]: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 3 [RS]: K4, *[k2tog] three times, [yo2, k1] six times, [k2tog] three times; repeat from * eight times more, k4.

Row 4 [WS]: K all sts. When working into each [yo2], k into first yo, then drop second yo from left needle.

Rows 5-8: Work as for Rows 1-4.

Note: If you wish to make a wider scarf, repeat Rows 1-4 until first half of scarf is desired width.

Row 9 [RS]: K4, [yo, k2tog] to last 4 sts, k4.

Second Half:
Row 10 [WS]: K all sts.

Row 11 [RS]: K4, p to last 4 sts, k4.

Row 12 [WS]: K4, *[yo2, k1] three times, [k2tog] six times, [yo2, k1] three times; repeat from* eight times more, k4.

Row 13 [RS]: K all sts, working each [yo2] as for Row 4.

Rows 14-17: Work as for Rows 10-13.

Note: If you wish to make a wider scarf, repeat Rows 10-13 until second half of scarf is desired width.

Row 18 [WS]: P all sts.

BO all sts.


Weave in ends. Gently wet block to measurements given, smoothing and stretching out curves and center ridge.


Martha mostly knits while travelling and thus has become an adept of knitting in public places. A practicing visual artist, she has recently curated a group exhibition in New York called Yarn Theory that highlighted the relationship between knitting, crochet, math and science. The online catalog for this show is available here.She is reachable on Ravelry as tangled snarl.

This is her first item for Knitty, and her first published pattern. There will be no living with her now!