Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Spinning Loft
beauty shot


Spincycle’s luscious novelty yarn was my inspiration for Purlieu (pronounced “purly-ewe” or “purl-yuh” if you want to be accurate about it). The Yarn Wranglers (knit nite buddies) kept petting my swatches and putting them up to their cheeks. The hurdle was the fluffy sections. To concentrate them into the pretty puffs I desired, I used a two-stitch short row section in garter until the fluffy section was past.

Purlieu has the benefits of a cowl because there are no loose ends dipping into the soup, getting caught in the bike spokes, or constricting like a boa. Folks sure love their cowls, but every time I put one over my head, it messes up my frizz-prone hair, smears my lipstick and grabs at my earrings on its way to my neck. The ones with buttons require two hands to put on or take off, which I always end up needing to do while juggling a purse and morning coffee. Purlieu has a wide fan on one end that tucks into the loop on the other end; after a couple tries, you'll be able to do it one-handed!

spacer model: Myrrhia Resneck spacer photos: Nicole Eaton



Length: Approximately 25.5 inches
Widest Width: Approximately 13 inches
Narrowest Width: Approximately 6.5 inches


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spacer Spincycle Yarns Handspun Novelty Yarn [75% rambouillet / 25% local kid mohair; 90 yd per skein]; colors shown: Helvetica [black/white] or Pussy Willow [charcoal/yellow, shown at right]; 2 skeins. (You will have a small amount left over as good insurance).

This yarn has a 1- to 4-inch-long fluffy section every 6 to 8 inches.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #9/5.5 mm straight needles

spacer 7 stitch markers – 1 should be different than the rest
spacer Yarn needle

16 sts/24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch.  Stitch gauge is more important than row gauge.


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

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Purlieu is worked in eight stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch panels. One end of the scarf is worked with short rows so that it fans out on the end.

Fluff Knit Pattern (FKP)
Knit as normal until you reach a fluffy spot on the yarn:
[K2, turn, k2, turn]. Repeat until the yarn returns to normal.  Finish the row as normal.

Fluff Purl Pattern (FPP)
Purl as normal until you reach a fluffy spot on the yarn:
[P2, turn, p2, turn]. Repeat until the yarn returns to normal. Finish the row as normal.

Tip #1: Turning the work back and forth can make you forget which way you were heading. Just remember:
A) If you are working FKP, carry on past the fluffy once the knit side is facing you.  
B) If you are working FPP, carry on past the fluffy once the purl side is facing you.

Tip #2: Use your discretion about working the fluffy on edge stitches, at markers, etc. If it looks good or is easier one way or another go for it and let your purlieu be a riot of soft, organic texture.

Tip #3: If you put down the work while on the fan side of the scarf, you may be working towards the large marker and wondering, “I don’t remember if I did that short row-- am I supposed to turn or keep going?” You can check by seeing if the stitches on either side of the marker are directly linked. If they are, you need to turn at the marker. If they are not linked, then you keep going without turning. If you stopped at the marker, it is harder to tell, so go back one stitch and check.



[Loosely cast on 12 sts, pm] 6 times, cast on 12 sts, place different color or size marker, cast on 18 sts. 102 sts total.

Row 1 [RS]: Sl 1, [FPP to marker, FKP to marker] to end.

Row 2 [WS]: Sl 1, [FPP to marker, FKP to marker] to end.

Short row [RS]: Sl 1, FPP to marker, turn, sl 1, FKP to end, turn.

Repeat this sequence 24 more times, or until you have worked approximately 6.5 inches on the narrow side. You will be on the wide side of the work.

Bind off towards the narrow edge until 1 st remains.

Pick up and knit 25 sts along the narrow edge.

Row 1 [RS]: Sl 1, knit to end.

Row 2 [WS]: As Row 1.

Create hole:
Row 3 [RS]: Sl 1, k6, bind off 9, k to end.

Row 4 [WS]: Sl1, k to gap, cast on 9 sts over gap, k to end.

Rows 5-8: As Row 1.

Bind off.

Weave in ends.


designernamespacer Myrrhia has been designing since her first knitting project at age 7, but started writing patterns 2 years ago. She lives in West Oakland with her husband and knits with the Yarn Wranglers on Tuesday nights at Café Trieste in Piedmont.

You can find her as “Myrrhia” and “Kapital Designs” on