Three-dimensional scarves

With my recent choice to abandon sweater knitting in favor of knitting, well, everything else, two things have basically happened.

First, all of a sudden every sweater pattern started to look incredibly appealing. Mind you, there’s no way I’ll be knitting a sweater for myself, this much is definite. In fact, I’ve been actively seeking meaningful ways to rid myself of my completely-unworn handknit sweater wardrobe. But I can no longer exclude the possibility of knitting sweaters for others. I have the lovely yarns, the wonderful patterns, the recipients who’d actually appreciate my work (i.e., other knitters – will a surprise sweater arrive in your mailbox?!? You never know!), so why the hell not?!?

The second thing to happen since the great sweater-knitting boycott is a search for interesting non-sweater projects. Something that will provide the same commitment and intensity, but with a different product at the end. The Tote was a start, and the Focus on Fringe scarf is a move in the same direction (FOF, by the way, is coming along nicely, albeit on the slow side, since it’s a totally non-portable project).

Do you remember the Dreamy Spiral Scarf from The Elegant Knitter? Along the lines of accessories which are interesting to knit, here’s a project that will take some brain power, right? Furthermore, when I first saw this spiral scarf, it got me thinking:

Why do most scarves exist in only two dimensions?

Certainly there are exceptions: there’s this Dreamy Spiral scarf, Ruffles from Scarf Style, some of the Shibori patterns… Allowing ourselves to include the textured, we can count some of the heavily cabled designs, maybe the Swiss Cheese hole scarves, entrelac, that funky collar from Victorian Lace Today, and… And??? Help me out, my friends!

The moment I saw a review of Knitting New Scarves: 27 Distinctly Modern Designs on the purl bee, something clicked! My search for accessories which are actually interesting to knit, and the idea of three-dimensional scarves, here, in perfect harmony. It’s like the Dreamy Spiral Scarf times 27!


Tell me, how can you look at these photos and NOT wonder how the scarves are knitted? You cannot. Nope. Resistance is futile!


Take the Tricorner scarf as an example. First, we see a clear picture of the scarf. Next, the author explains her inspiration and gives us a little preview of the techniques used. See those little red “arrows” at the bottom of the paragraph? Each scarf is accompanied by such a diagram, which illustrates the basic geometry of its construction! The actual pattern has all the basic pattern info, and when needed refers to an illustrated glossary of special techniques in the back of the book.

In addition, some of the designs have their own diagrams, which, frankly, get me unreasonably excited. Because when was the last time you knitted a scarf pattern which required a diagram with four labeled arrows? That’s what I’m talking about! Scarves can be interesting, special, captivating, and entirely NOT mindless to knit! Which one will I attempt first? I’m at a loss! I suppose the one with the fanciest diagrams, right? πŸ˜‰

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39 thoughts on “Three-dimensional scarves

  1. Kristin

    Ah, glad to know it’s worthwhile! I’ve been very curious about the book, for the very same reasons. Maybe a little Debbie-New-ish-ness on ye olde scarfe?

  2. Sundara

    Me! MEMEMEMEME! Knit me a sweater! Clearly my most gorgeous shawl ever is not enough Grumperina knitting for me. I’ll buy the yarn. Whatever yarn you want. You could choose pure cashmere and I’d cough up the funds. And I’m small. Heh.

    (also, I’m late, but aaaawwww, on your linen knitting and sewing)

  3. Stephanie Cullison

    OMG! Where has this book been all my life? I have made plenty of scarves before and they are all so plain jane. Now I know why! It’s gotta have the texture and the twists and oh…of course…diagrams. I am going to go get a copy of this. They look way fun to make!!!

  4. bekky

    Yep – I bought it too! And started the one that looked most interesting (read: complicted with new techniques and cool diagrams) – pleated gray/blue scarf with travelling pleats! I love it already!

    Go on, cast on – you know you all want to!

  5. maryse

    when i first saw the book on amazon i thought, “ugh, another scarf book” and then a friend let me look through it and i thought, “holy crap! i need to get this.” yeah, i need to get this one.

  6. Clare T

    You’re giving away your sweaters??? Ohmygosh, I cant believe you dont wear the Norah Gaughan Pentagon sweater, it was gorgeous and looked fab on you… Send it to me, it will save me knitting one πŸ˜‰

  7. Sarah R

    Oh, you beat me to it! I just got this book yesterday and was going to write about it today. Now, I like knitting scarves…lacey scarves, ribbed scarves, big chunky scarves, delicate dressy scarves. But man, this book got me really jazzed. Some of these scarves are so wild!

    Great review. Now I’ll just refer people here!

  8. Bertha

    Whoa! Those are awesome! I especially love that first orange & taupe stripy, curvy scarf! It looks like a caterpillar or something! I’ll definitely check out this book!

  9. Samantha

    While I’m not a fan of ruffled scarves, I completely agree with you about wanting to know the “how” of it all. I’ve been on a knitting/design theory rampage of late, and fascinating designs like these have so much to teach.

    And honestly, I do like some of those scarves. Can’t have to many scarves in Boston, that’s for sure!

  10. Sarahfish

    Wow. That’s really cool! I wouldn’t have thought of that. And since I have a bunch of men to knit for, that book may just find its way into my library… Thanks for the tip!

  11. Saralyn

    Funny you should be posting about three-dimensional scarves today. I just posted a pattern I came up with for a reversible cabled brioche stitch scarf on my blog today at It’s not as involving as a complex sweater pattern, but it’s interesting to knit, and I’ve never seen another pattern that uses cabled brioche stitch in a scarf.

  12. Denise in Kent, WA

    I’m so glad you posted about this book. I would never have given it a second glance at my LYS since, to be honest, most of the scarves don’t appeal to me. But the construction techniques look fascinating, and I plan to buy it for that reason alone. Thanks for the heads up!

  13. Toby

    I agree – I must know how these scarfs have been created. This is the kind of thing that got me started as a knitter in the first place. πŸ™‚

  14. Carolyn

    Ok, firstly, what a generous knitter you are…a perfect solution for those sweaters you aren’t wearing. (I just went through all of mine last week and made a large pile of sweaters I should probably knit into something else…I think 3 sweaters made the cut of possibly wearing). I can’t believe you have that book!!!! I was in the book store about a month ago and saw it and immediately thought of YOU! Scarey. I obviously read your entry on the non sweater knitting and the current love of accessory knitting (feeling the same way myself) and thought I wouldn’t be the only one who would love that book…you would probably like that book too…I knew I should have bought it! Cant wait to see what you knit from it!

  15. Sil

    Your sweaters are lovely and will be appreciated by anyone you give them to, whether they be friends, knitters or charity. The scarves are great and I can see why you get happy with those diagrams, those are mindbending!

  16. robyn

    want to unload those handknit sweaters to a meaningful cause? i’m collecting sweaters over at my blog!!!! i’m doing the first annual sweater drive, trying to get warm clothes to people who need them. for now i’m donating in my local area, but i’m fast overwhelming the charities here, and am about to go all over the US. you should consider donating to this!

  17. Jen

    I agree with Bertha, that “first orange & taupe stripy, curvy scarf” is awesome! Thanks for posting the pic; it gives me one more project to add to the list. πŸ™‚

  18. Beth S.

    Those scarves are strangely cool… I’m very curious about the accordion-pleated one! Guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for this book. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  19. Amber

    I had to run right over to Border’s on my lunch break to see this book! I looove it.

    Though I caved to Clara Parke’s Knitter’s Book of Yarn for today – mostly because it has info to read and won’t tempt me into buying yarn immediately…If I had gotten the scarf book, I would have had to procure yarn and cast on ASAP!

  20. alke

    The scarf that got me giggling to myself in pleasure was the Magic Cast On Moebius…

    You can’t help but wonder how people come up with this stuff – AMAZING scarf’s!

  21. Daisy

    Wow, what a book. I don’t see that I’d ever wear any of those modern style scarves but I love unusual construction. It’s going on my wish list for sure.

  22. AuntieAnn

    Like Alke, I immediately thought of moebius scarves when I read that you were thinking of knitting 3-dimensional scarves. I have made several, plus a Klein bottle hat, and they were all interesting to knit.

  23. Kat

    You should be on commission! I just bought the book here in the UK πŸ™‚

    By the way I love your blog, it’s fantastic.

    Keep up the good work,


  24. Beverly

    I can’t remember getting so excited about a knitting book for a long time and for it to be a scarf knitting book is amazing! I love the way the author has used architcture as her inspiration and has not just moved out the box in her experiments but flown right away from it. My son had to tell me to stop going on about how good this book was when it arrived from Amazon. It makes me want to start knitting and experimenting and even designing – I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  25. Anne Marie

    Thanks for posting the pictures. This book sounded interesting in some of the reviews I read, but I wasn’t convinced that I need another scarf book until I saw the pictures!

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