Shifting Sands

©2006,, copyright details at bottom of page.

I created the Shifting Sands pattern to replace my dad’s Sharfik, which had the great misfortune of meeting the washing machine in a most intimate setting.

Although I cannot take credit for the name, it is very appropriate: the cables swish and swoop, meandering from one edge to the other. The resulting texture is that of sand, shifted over time by wind or water. It is an element of nature familiar to both me and my dad, having grown up on the coast of the Black Sea.

The texture of the scarf is created by thousands of small cables. Thousands? Yes. According to my calculations, my dad’s scarf has 2575 cable crosses, 10 on every right side row. I think a knitter should know how to cable without a cable needle prior to attempting this pattern.

Adjusting the width of the scarf according to your yarn and desired size is easy: the pattern repeat is 5 stitches wide and 4 rows high. In addition, 1 stitch on each side serves as the selvedge, and is slipped every other row as described below.

Click here for another close-up view of the texture.

Difficulty level: intermediate


  • Sundara Yarn sport merino, 100% superwash merino, 225 yds. per 100 g skein; Somewhat Solid in Tan over Cream, 2 skeins (3 skeins are required if you’d like to add fringe or make the scarf longer/wider).

        Or substitute approximately 450 yds. (more for fringe or longer/wider scarf) of another sportweight yarn.

  • US 5 / 3.75 mm needles or size appropriate for your yarn.
  • Cable or double-pointed needle (or click here to learn how to cable without the aid of an additional needle).
  • Crochet hook for optional fringe.

Gauge: 28.3 sts and 34.3 rows per 4” square in pattern. Be sure to block your swatch to account for any changes in gauge.

Finished size: 60” long and 7” wide after blocking.


CO: cast on; BO: bind off; st(s): stitch(es); k: knit; p: purl; p2tog: purl 2 stitches together; S1kwise: slip one stitch knitwise; S1pwise: slip one stitch purlwise; RS: right side; WS: wrong side; cn: cable needle; dpn: double-pointed needle.

1/2LC: slip 1 st to dpn/cn and hold in front, k2, then k1 from dpn/cn.

1/2RC: slip 2 sts to dpn/cn and hold in back, k1, then k2 from dpn/cn.

Shifting Sands repeat:

Worked over 4 rows:

Row 1 (RS): S1kwise, *1/2LC, k2, rep. from * to last st., k1.

Rows 2 and 4 (WS): S1 pwise, p to end.

Row 3 (RS): S1kwise, *k2, 1/2RC, rep. from * to last st., k1.


CO 52 sts. (Optional: work a set-up row if you need a return row – Row 4 of Shifting Sands repeat). Start Shifting Sands repeat, and work until scarf measures the desired length or you’ve run out of yarn, ending with row 3. BO all sts as follows: using a US 6 or 7 needle, S1pwise, *p1, pass first st. over second st., rep. from * until 2 sts. rem.; p2tog, pass first st. over second st.; cut yarn and pull tail through last st. Weave in ends and block lightly. (Optional: attach fringe).

Copyright information: 1. Contact me ( with all
questions pertaining to the copyright. 2. This copyright notice must remain intact on every printed pattern. 3. You may use this pattern for your personal fiber pursuits as long as no profit is made from distribution of the pattern or the scarves.