Pattern » Whirlygig Scarf

This scarf just developed on it’s own while I was trying finish off some yarn that I’d used to make a hat for my niece. I wanted something that showed off the variegation of the hand-dyed yarn I had and played with a number of stitch patterns before settling on the chevrons. And I intended it to be a flat scarf, but surprisingly, as I knit it, it folded over on itself and started twisting. This is quite a fascinating process to watch as you knit it!

It’s a lot of fun with handpainted or variegated yarns. It would probably also do well with stripes to finish off random balls of yarn.

And now, there’s a matching hat!


Knitting Instructions:
Cast on 28 stitches
Row 1 (WS): Purl across
Row 2 (RS): K1, IncrL, K5, CDD, K5, CDI, K5, CDD, K5, IncrR, K1

Doing the increases and decreases as I’ve designated them is key to getting the desired effect. Use the descriptions below as reference.

As your scarf grows, the sides should begin to fold back along the CDDs. Eventually, a twist will develop along the CDI as well.

Repeat rows 1 & 2 until desired length, cast off. Attach a tassel to each end.

Special Finishing:
The two side edges of the scarf should meet at the “back” and stay neat. However, you can add some additional permanence and panache by seaming the two sides together with a mattress stitch along the edges of the scarf.

Special Stitches

Increase Right (IncrR)
Increase by knitting into the stitch below the one on the left needle.

In the image below, the row of blue stitches is the row below the row on the left needle:

Insert needle into the stitch below:

Pull through a loop:

Increase Left (IncrL)
Increase by knitting into the stitch 2 stitches below the stitch on the right needle.

In the image below, the row of blue stitches is the row 2 rows below the row on the right needle:

Pick up with left needle and knit into it:

Centered Double Increase (CDI)
IncrL immediately followed by IncrR.

When performed together, the effect looks like the stitches in that row are slightly elongated.

This is the result on the sample I used above. Note the increases are placed directly in the center:

On a long piece, like the scarf, the increases will continually be placed on the previous right-side row, and taken together, will look like a chain running up the middle. In this swatch, I knit all the right-side rows in white and the wrong-side rows in blue. The CDIs caused the white chain up the center.

Centered Double Decrease (CDD)
The goal of this stitch is to make a double decrease with the middle stitch ending up on top. When executed this way, it will mirror the chains created by the CDIs. It also encourages the sides to fold in along the center chain.

Insert needle as if to k2tog and slip those 2 stitches to the right needle. Knit one. Slip those 2 slipped stitches over the stitch just knitted and off the needle.


This is a flexible pattern. You can make it as long as you want. You can probably also make it wider by increasing the number of stitches in each section between the increases and decreases (the K5s). For each stitch you increase in these sections, you should add an addtional 4 stitches to the cast on. Be warned, I don’t know how wide it can get before the twist is overpowered.


Shown baby-size with mini-Clapotis Cap: