Knitted scarves are beautiful and soft, but a crocheter want to crochet! Crochet is faster than knitting, and is great for producing nice chunky stitches. But too often, crochet scarves turn out awkward and stiff, lacking the nice drape and softness of knit. Determined to make a warm, soft, beautiful crochet scarf, I set out on my quest to find the perfect way to crochet a scarf.
I experimented with a lot of stitches to find one that would look nice (on both sides of the piece, because who wants a one-sided scarf?), would feel nice (not too dense, and with soft and smooth stitches), and that would work up quickly.
What I finally settled on is this beautiful ribbed variation of a half double crochet stitch. I love the look and feel of scarves made using this stitch. What this half double crochet variation does is allow the top of the crochet stitch (the top 2 loops you normally crochet through, which I will refer to as Vs) to become a row of ribbing, producing a stitch which looks and feels very much like knitting. The picture below shows the top row of Vs that I am referring to:
Here’s how it’s done:
Start with a row of half double crochet (hdc). The following rows will all be worked in the ribbed hdc variation. The only difference between a normal hdc and the ribbed version is where you insert your hook. Hdc stitches create an extra loop below the ‘V’ where you would normally insert your hook. To create hdc ribbing, you will insert the hook through that extra loop instead of through the V.
Some pictures to help:
Here’s where the hook is typically inserted into your work (but this is NOT how you will do this scarf).
And here is where you put your scarf for this hdc variation. Insert the hook through the extra loop below the V where you would normally push your hook through. I’ve highlighted the extra loops in purple:
Aside from inserting the hook in a different spot, the stitch is exactly like a regular half double crochet. That’s all there is to it! Just half double crochet the entire piece, but keep inserting the hook into the extra loop below the V where you would normally insert the hook.
**You won’t really see the ribbing effect until after a few rows. So don’t give up on it too soon!
On to the Scarf (Pictures to come soon)
Once you have the hand of the ribbed half double crochet stitch, making a scarf is a lot of fun. There’s no actual pattern because the scarf is nothing but a few rows of the ribbed half double crochet stitch. The scarf is worked up lengthwise, so the length of the starting chain determined the length of your scarf, and the number of rows determined the scarf’s width. The number of chains and rows will depend on the size scarf you want to make and the yarn you are using. I will walk you through how you can figure this out.
First step: Crochet a swatch
The best way to calculate how many stitches you will need is to start by crocheting a swatch. You can use any size yarn, but I recommend not using special fuzzy yarns because they will hide the ribbing. I also recommend a hook that is a size smaller than you would typically use with your yarn – the ribbing turns out best when the stitches aren’t too loose.
To create your swatch, grab your yarn and hook, and chain 15 stitches. Complete 5 rows of the half double crochet ribbed stitch. Measure the 10 stitches in the middle of the swatch. Write this measurement down. You will use it to calculate the number of stitches needed to complete the scarf.
On to the Length (Math, oh no!)
Yes we’re going to do a little math – but don’t worry if you’re not mathematically inclined – the calculation is simple, and I’ll walk you through it. Or just skip to the end of this section where I’ve provided a cheat for those who just want to get to the fun part – although, nerd that I am, math is the fun part too 😛
Decide how long you want your scarf to be and write it down. Between 6-8 feet is a good average length, but if you want a shorter scarf (maybe for a man) or a longer scarf (because long scarves are awesome!), feel free to add more!
Now we need to figure out how many times we need to crochet 10 stitches in order to reach the desired length. We’re going to use X to represent the number of 10-stitch lengths needed. Here’s a simple equation:
Scarf Length / Swatch Measurement = X
So we will need X number of 10-stitch lengths to complete the scarf. In other words, if you multiply X by 10, you have the number of stitches required to complete your scarf.
**If you don’t want to calculate and don’t care about the exact length of your scarf, just make a chain wide enough that you can hold it in both hands and stretch your arms wide. Then, add 10-20 more stitches, and start crocheting your scarf!
Just keep adding rows until you like the width of your scarf. Not sure what width a scarf should be? Between 5 – 7 inches is usually a good standard size.
And you’re done! No finishing needed.
I love using this stitch for scarves, but it’s also beautiful for blankets. I’m sure there are other applications as well, play around with it and let me know what you come up with! Also, if anything is unclear, feel free to ask for some help or clarification. Thanks for reading 🙂
I heard you, readers. This post didn’t have enough instruction on how to actually make a scarf. After almost 7 years, I’ve finally improved the post. Video to (hopefully) come soon!