Free Knitting Pattern: How To Make A Mystery Stripe Scarf

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I am a firm believer that stripes make everything cuter.

Unfortunately, as a knitter, this generally means that weaving in all the loose ends of yarn takes longer than it does to actually knit the project. So I was so excited to discover the mystery stripe method, which uses self-striping yarn to create gorgeous, random, skinny bands of color.

A mystery stripe scarf is an easy project for new knitters that involves almost no counting, but delivers stunning results. This is a prime example of letting the yarn do all the hard work.

For this project I used four balls of Lion Brand Yarn “Amazing” in three related colorways (two balls of Arcadia, one ball each of Strawberry Fields and Ruby). While I would have preferred the lighter weight, and more vivid and weirdly colored Noro Shiraito Yarn, frankly I can’t afford it. Four balls of Amazing cost $24 at my local knitting store (which is even less than the exact same yarn costs at Michaels). Also, this scarf is a gift for a relative who does not share my love of jarring color combinations. Both Amazing and Noro yield great results, but really, you can use any kind of self-striping yarn to create this look.

My favorite stitch for scarves is, hands down, the seed stitch. It’s easy to knit, creates a reversible fabric, and doesn’t roll. Also, compared to other types of ribbed patterns, the seed stitch isn’t bulky, which is important to me since I live in sweaty Los Angeles. But mystery striping can be combined with stockinette stitch, or ribbing, or just about any other stitch for visual interest.

Instructions for Scarf:

To make this scarf cast on an odd number of stitches. (I cast on 33 stitches that, with my gauge, gave me a seven inch wide scarf).

Note: I like having a thick band of color at each end of my striped scarves as I think it gives them a more finished look and is less fussy than fringe. I knit two inches in orangey-pink from the ball of Strawberry Fields.

Now that you’ve knit how ever many rows you want to knit with the first yarn (Yarn A), with right side facing you, attach your second ball of yarn (Yarn B) in another color way and knit across the front and back of the scarf (two rows total) with the second ball. You should now have two balls of yarn hanging off the right side of your scarf. Twist Yarn A around Yarn B against the selvidge, and start knitting with the Yarn A. Alternate between the two yarns and watch the random striping unfold like magic!

For even more dramatic color changes, replace one of the yarn colors with a third colorway. For example, I knit half of my scarf alternating between Arcadia and Strawberry Fields and the other half alternating between Arcadia and Ruby.

For tidier scarf edges I slipped the first and last stitch (purlwise) of every second row of every stripe. The slip stitches hid the carried yarn changes better than I could have ever hoped.

Continue to alternate yarns until your scarf reaches the length you want. Bind off loosely. Now, instead of having to knit in hundreds of loose ends, you now only have to weave in a handful to finish your scarf!

Note: I reserved enough orangey-pink yarn to make a matching two-inch border on both ends of my scarf.

This video is a great instructional on how to create stripes without having 1000 ends by carrying yarn along the selvedge.


  1. Posted January 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Permalink


    I’m the editor of and I’m pleased to let you know that we’ve linked to one of your knitting patterns on our yarn blog, Stitch & Unwind.

    Here is a link to the post:

    If you have any free patterns that you’d like for us to link out to from (along with showing a small picture of the finished project) please let me know. We’re always looking for more people to work with.

    Hope you’re having a great day,


    Caitlin Eaton
    Prime Publishing LLC
    3400 Dundee Road, Suite 220
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    847-205-9375 Main | 847-513-6099 Fax

  2. Posted January 27, 2013 at 4:23 am | Permalink

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