Knittyspin: you like yarn, so make yarn
Spinning Loft
beauty shot

I have a thing for garter stitch—especially with handspun yarn. Garter stitch seems to bring out all the wonderful qualities of handspun. I find it gloriously rustic and sweet and cozy—a fabric without pretension. I love the way garter stitch blends and mellows the colors in the yarn I spin from the hand-dyed braids of fiber that seem to follow me home from fiber festivals. Instead of clearly delineated (and sometimes distracting) stockinette stripes, garter stitch often delivers a lovely, subtle shading of colors. Garter stitch helps to balance twist in handspun yarns, which makes it ideal for using singles. And garter stitch gives me yet another reason to be happy: I really like my scarves and shawls to look the same on both sides so I can wrap them any way I want without having to fuss.

Unleaving is a simple scarf with an uncommon edging. Knit entirely in garter stitch from end to end—not a purl in sight—it’s a great stash buster for small amounts of finely spun handspun or single skeins of commercial sock yarn. Exact gauge is not critical, and you can weigh your skein before you begin and customize the length to use the yardage you have on hand. I began with 4 ounces of yak/silk/merino blend fiber dyed by Abstract Fiber. The top was somewhat compacted from the dyeing process, so I let it relax a bit after unbraiding it and then split it lengthwise. The colors in this particular batch were close, so I didn’t need to do anything special to preserve the color variation. I spun it with a short forward draw and was pleased that the yak, silk, and merino stayed nicely blended. The result was what I had hoped for: a semi-solid two-ply yarn with enough color variation to give the knitted fabric depth without creating obvious stripes. The scarf pictured used up only 2.3 ounces of yarn, which left me enough left over to make a second, slightly smaller version as a gift.

spacer model: Lee Juvan
spacer photos: Tom and Lee Juvan




spacerLength at Top Edge: 80 inches
Depth at Center Point:
10 inches

spacer Abstract Fiber [Merino 60%, Yak 20%, Silk 20%; Top] Color: Alfalfa; 4 ounces.

Finished Yarn:
spacer Wraps per inch: 19
spacer Ply: 2
spacer Yardage used: 320 yds (293 m)
spacer Weight of finished scarf: 2.3 oz.


Spinning Tool: Schacht Matchless [double drive]
Skeinwinder: Rick Reeves handmade oak reel
Scale: Escali 115P Pennon Multifunctional Scale

Drafting Method:
spacer Short forward draw, worsted style

Commercial Yarn Alternative

spacer Any weight from lace to fingering or sport will produce a scarf that looks similar, although the yardage needed will vary. Heavier weight yarn (DK or worsted) can be used, but the garter ridges will be more prominent and your yardage will be different. You’ll need about 350-400 yards for a fingering-weight scarf; an average 100 gm skein of sock yarn should work just fine. See Pattern Notes for how to weigh your yarn about halfway through the project to use the yardage you have on hand.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer US #6/4 mm needles

spacer yarn needle
spacer stitch marker

20 sts/36 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch using US #6/4 mm needles
Gauge is not essential for this project, but your final yardage and measurements may vary.


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

This pattern is a great stash buster because you can use a wide variety of yarns, handspun or commercial, and as long as you have roughly 2 to 3 ounces of a lace weight,  3.5 to 4 ounces of fingering, or about 5 to 6 ounces of sport weight, you’ll end up with a scarf that’s long enough to be useful. Your finished measurements will vary, depending on your gauge and your yardage. You can customize this pattern to use your chosen yarn by weighing the skein (or, in the case of heavier yarns, skeins) before you start and then weighing it periodically during the increase stage. When you have slightly more than half a skein left, begin the decreases. Your yardage and finished size may vary, but the scarf will look great in a variety of sizes.

You can change the rate of increases/decreases as well to vary the center width. When I made a second sample from the 1.7 ounces of yarn I had left, I worked increases every 16th row three times; every 8th row eight times; and then every 4th row sixteen times before beginning the matching decreases. This enabled me to reach a center measurement of about 10 inches with a wingspan of about 66 inches.

You could also create a wider shawl shape by working a few increases every 16th and 8th rows, and then increasing every 4th row until you reach the desired width. Just make sure you work within the 16-row repeat for the edging, with increases or decreases occurring every 16th, 8th, or 4th row.

Slip the first stitch of each row knitwise.

Lace Stitch for Edging (worked over 16 to 20 sts and 16 rows)
Row 1 [RS]: Sl 1, k2, yo, k1tbl, [yo, ssk] twice, [k1, yo, k2tog] twice, k2. 17 sts.
Row 2: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k7.
Row 3: Sl 1, k2, yo, k1tbl, [yo, ssk] twice, k2, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k1. 18 sts.
Row 4: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k8.
Row 5: Sl 1, k2, yo, k1tbl, [yo, ssk] 3 times, [k1, yo, k2tog] twice, k2. 19 sts.
Row 6: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k9.
Row 7: Sl 1, k2, yo, k1tbl, [yo, ssk] 3 times, k2, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k1. 20 sts.
Row 8: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k10.
Row 9: Sl 1, k1, psso, k2, [yo, ssk] 4 times, [k1, yo, k2tog] twice, k2. 19 sts.
Row 10: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k9.
Row 11: Sl 1, k1, psso, k2, [yo, ssk] 3 times, k2, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k1. 18 sts.
Row 12: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k8.
Row 13: Sl 1, k1, psso, k2, [yo, ssk] 3 times, [k1, yo, k2tog] twice, k2. 17 sts.
Row 14: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k7.
Row 15: Sl 1, k1, psso, k2, [yo, ssk] twice, k2, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k1. 16 sts.
Row 16 [WS]: K4, [yo, k2tog, k1] twice, k6.
Repeat Rows 1-16 for pattern.

The charts for this pattern are very large and fit on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.


Using the Long-Tail Cast-On method or cast-on of choice, CO 18 sts.

Foundation Row [WS]: K2, pm, k16.

Row 1 [RS]: Work Row 1 of Edging Chart, slip marker, k2.

Row 2: K2, slip marker, work Row 2 of Edging Chart.
Cont in established patt, working Chart and all other sts in garter stitch (knit every row), through Row 16 of Edging Chart.

Begin Increases:
Inc row [RS]: Work Edging Chart to marker, slip marker, kfb, knit to end. – 1 st inc’d

Row 2: Knit to marker, slip marker, work next row of Edging Chart.

Work even in pattern for 14 rows, ending with Row 16 of Chart.

Rep last 16 rows twice more. 21 sts.

Work Inc Row.

Work 7 rows even in pattern.

Rep last 8 rows 23 times more. 45 sts.
Alternatively, work until you have used up just a bit less than half of your yarn, ending with Row 16 of Edging Chart.

Dec Row [RS]: Work Edging Chart to marker, slip marker, ssk, k to end.

Work 7 rows even in pattern.

Repeat last 8 rows 23 times more, or until 21 sts rem, ending with Row 16 of Edging Chart.

Work Dec Row.
Work 15 rows in pattern.
Rep last 16 rows twice more. 18 sts.

BO all sts loosely knitwise.

Weave in ends. Block piece, pinning the long garter-stitch edge straight and then pinning the middle of the scalloped edge at its deepest point and tapering at either end.


designernamespacer Lee lives with her family in western Connecticut, where she teaches fiber arts at Westover School and tries to teach the spiders in her house to sweep the floors so she can spend more time spinning (so far, they are sympathetic but noncompliant).

She is the designer of Shroom and Shelburne. You can find her on Ravelry as workwoman.