Learning how to knit a scarf can seem hard if you’re a total beginner. There are two needles to move around, and yarn that looks like it could snag into knots. It looks intimidating!
But the truth is that knitting is like any other skill. It’s no different than learning how to ride a bike or how to cook. All it takes is some time and practice.
The upside is that, unlike riding a bike or cooking, there’s no risk of skinned knees or charred fingers. Knitting is pretty safe. In fact, knitting has several health benefits!
All you need are your hands, some yarn, and a pair of needles.
How to Knit a Scarf Video Tutorial
Learning how to knit a scarf is the best beginner project because it boils down to three simple steps:
Short, sweet and very do-able, these three steps make up your scarf journey. Get them under your belt and you can officially call yourself a knitter!
This video tutorial up top will show you how to knit a scarf, with a few extra tips thrown in. Follow along at your own pace and re-watch sections if you need a review. Jump around the video chapters with these timestamps:
0:32 Choosing Yarn and Needles
2:16 Cast On
7:33 Knit Stitch
13:46 Next Row and Pep Talk
16:01 How to Hold Your Needles
18:31 Slipped Selvedge
19:34 Cast Off
24:29 Weaving in Ends
What Yarn Should I Use?
You can use any yarn that takes your fancy.
But keep in mind that the bigger the yarn, the better. My ideal yarn for beginners is a chunky weight. Bigger yarns are easier to grip and manipulate than lighter yarns. They’re less fiddly and they also knit up quicker.
Beware of light-weight yarns like lace or super fine yarn. Imagine knitting with sewing thread. That’s what knitting with lace is like. Do not do it. Not if you’re a beginner.
Not only will it take light years to finish your scarf, but lighter yarns require smaller needles. And smaller needles are harder to control.
Make things easy for yourself and choose a yarn that’s at least a medium weight if not larger. Not sure what yarn weight is? Check out this post I wrote all about the yarn weight family.
What Needles Should I Use?
Once you’ve chosen yarn, look at the yarn label. It will give you a recommended needle size.
Use this as a guide for choosing your needles. I typically go within 1mm of the recommended needle size. If the yarn label suggests a 5mm needle, I might also try out a 4mm or 6mm needle.
For beginners, I suggest using bamboo or wooden needles. They have more surface drag, meaning that they “grip” the yarn better and are less slippery to work with.
Materials Used in the Video
The sumptuous white scarf that you see in the photos was knit with:
- Yarn: 2 skeins of TJOCKT Martta the Merino in color Pearl (200 grams, 140m/153yds per skein)
- Similar yarns: MillaMia (2-ply merino), Lana Grossa Ragazza (1-ply merino), Malabrigo Rasta (beautiful hand-dyed 1-ply), Wendy with Wool (acrylic-wool blend, budget option)
- Needles: US 15/10mm knitting needles (similar)
Finished Scarf Measurements: width is 9.25″ and length is 65″
Cast on stitches 22 stitches
Slip first stitch, knit every row until scarf measures the length you desire. (My scarf measures 65″).
Cast off loosely and weave in ends with tapestry needle.
Knitting Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Along the way you’ll make mistakes. It’s okay. Mistakes are part of the journey, so expect them. Embrace them. You need to make mistakes to get to your final destination (which, in this metaphor, is your scarf!).
If you drop a stitch, keep moving forward. Don’t look back. At first, the goal is to get the basic steps of the knit stitch down.
Once you’re comfortable with the knit stitch, your hands will naturally settle into the rhythm of knitting and you’ll make less mistakes. Think of your first ten rows as practice.
“One who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all.” – Giacomo Casanova Tweet This
Once you’re knitting comfortably, consider ripping back your work and starting your scarf fresh. You’ll be a lot more confident, and your scarf will have less mistakes in it.
Don’t think of your practice rows as “wasted.” It’s the practice that makes the perfect!
Helpful Knitting Resources for New Knitters:
- How to Knit: The Ultimate Guide (my favourite page!)
- 3 Beginner Mistakes and How to Fix Them (one of the most popular posts on this site)
- How to Join 2 Balls of Yarn
- The Yarn Weight Family
Grab a Friend & Knit Together!
Learning is more fun with friends! Do you have friends who are crafty or who want to learn how to knit a scarf?
Maybe you know someone like Liz Lemon who takes up knitting every two years and fails. Help a friend out! Share this video and knit together. As the saying goes, sharing is caring!