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Scarf Style

Not Just Simple Scarves

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Scarf Style

Scarf Style by Pam Allen.

Interweave Press.

The subject of scarves might not seem interesting enough to merit it's own book (though there have been several through the years, including Knitting New Scarves, which aimed to make scarves in pretty much any way other than the expected). But Pam Allen, then editor of Interweave Knits, pulled together more than 30 styles, from basic to way, way beyond, for her inspiring book Scarf Style: Innovative to Traditional, 31 Inspirational Styles of Knit and Crochet.

The book includes some easy standards and more complex designs, as well as some things you might not think of as scarves at all.

About the Book

  • Pages: 152
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of patterns: 31
  • Skill level: none given, but range from beginner to advanced
  • Illustrations: full-color photographs
  • Knitting lessons: an eight-page glossary in the back covers the basics of knitting and crochet
  • Publication date: 2004

The Patterns

All of the "style" books (others include Folk Style and Simple Style) aim to both inspire knitters with the patterns and encourage them to go their own way and design their own takes on whatever the theme element is.

In the case of Scarf Style, Allen went out of her way to choose a really diverse assortment of patterns. The simplest is probably the Bright Stripes scarf by Kristin Nicholas, which is worked horizontally in alternating stripes of Garter and Stockinette Stitch. The most challenging are Mari Lynn Patrick's Turkish Treasure, a lengthwise piece of crocheted colorwork; Backyard Leaves from Annie Modesitt, challenging because the stitch count changes from row to row, making for a really strange-looking chart; and Color on Color by Kathryn Alexander, worked in 19 colorful sections that build off each other in a stunning but mind-bending way.

In between there are projects like a feather and fan scarf by Jo Sharp, an entrelac stole by Kathleen Power Johnson, a pretty triangle by Setsuko Torii worked with paper and stainless steel yarn, Teva Durham's shrug that's really a turtleneck sweater without the sweater (it's pictured on the cover with the arms worn like a scarf),and Catherine Lowe's giant Garter Stitch wrap made of four triangles that make a rectangle.

Here you'll find lace, cables, colorwork, designs for men and women (even one child-sized pattern, though you can easily size a scarf down), ruffles, capletes, chevrons, a giant knit dragon motif and more. There's something for pretty much everyone here!

Design Notebook

At the back of the book knitters will find inspiration and instructions for designing their own scarves based on the principles used in the scarves in the book. This section reaffirms the point that scarves don't have to be simple and the idea that there are innumerable ways to make a scarf and just as many ways to embellish it.

This section covers choosing yarn and needle size, making a Garter Stitch scarf more interesting, an overview of options for stitch patterns, cables, colorwork, knitting in different directions, finishing and determining how many stitches to cast on for the shape and size of scarf you want.

Sidebars offer insight on how to work reversible cables, knit a Garter Stitch scarf on the diagonal, make a striped scarf and use a chevron pattern, all of which should be helpful to the knitter new to scarf design.

Bottom Line

Many knitters start designing their own knitting projects with the scarf, and Scarf Style can help those who aren't really sure how to begin to make the leap from an idea in their head to a finished scarf. And even if you don't want to design and knit a scarf of your own, the patterns included in the book are sure to delight both knitter and wearer. Here's hoping at least sometimes that's the same person!

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