Knitting for Both Sides: Reversible Knitting with Scarves

This week’s free pattern, Calafia, is a super cozy super scarf knit in Berroco Briza®. Beginner-friendly brioche knitting creates a reversible rib-like fabric that looks great from both the right side and wrong side—and in fact, it can be difficult to remember which side is which while knitting it! I recommend using a removable marker to “mark” the right side of the work, just so you always know which row to work. While scarves are a great accessory, and frequently the stepping off point for people who start knitting, making scarves attractive on both the right side and wrong side can be tricky. Here’s a guest post from designer Audrey Knight—her book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues is a great resource!

As a new knitter, I wanted to make a thank-you gift for Margaret, my knitting mentor. I chose a lovely scarf pattern, only to find out after I lovingly and painstakingly finished that it curled hopelessly. No amount of blocking flattened it out. Later I made scarves for my sister-in-law, which she often unwittingly wore with the wrong (unattractive) side facing out.

These are all-too-common downfalls of many hand-knit scarves. My disappointments led me to learn all I could about reversible knitting techniques. To say that I became happily obsessed is an understatement. My book Reversible Scarves: Curing the Wrong Side Blues was born.

The book covers a variety of techniques, from the simplest knit/purl stitch patterns through more complex double knitting. All 30 patterns have two things in common—they are attractive on both sides and they lie flat.

Knits and purls can be combined in a variety of fun stitch patterns, as in the “Mixer” design:

The Double Eyelet and Cables scarf delights knitters with cables on one side and lacy eyelet ribs on the other, all finished off with a reversible ruffle:

Lace patterns can be re-invented to look pretty on both sides, as in my reversible version of the popular feather and fan:feather-fan

For more adventurous knitters, double knitting is a technique that lends itself especially well to reversible scarves. Knitters who haven’t tried it can be intimidated, since the idea of creating essentially two fabrics at once seems complicated at first. I write all my double knitting patterns in a simple way that appeals to less experienced knitters, using only knit, purl and slip stitches and one color at a time, with easy-to-follow charts. Knitters who are more practiced in the two-color-at-a-time method can easily use the charts too.

One of my all-time favorite yarns for double knitting is Berroco’s Ultra Alpaca Light. Because double-knit fabric is a double thickness, I like using a yarn that has good drape. The 50% alpaca content gives the yarn the drape I need, while the 50% wool helps the scarf retain its shape. The yarn comes in plenty of color choices. I like to use contrasting colors that let the pattern pop.
Here, the “Sprouts” pattern from the book show how the colors on one side are reversed on the other: sprouts
My most recent reversible scarf knitting pattern, Let it Snow, again uses Ultra Alpaca Light in a wintery motif:

Audknits scarf photo shoot  Audknits scarf photo shoot
Download the Let it Snow scarf

Whether you’re looking for an easy project or one a bit more challenging, there are reversible techniques to suit your skill level and mood. Scarves that are beautiful on both sides make great gifts, or additions to your own wardrobe.

6 thoughts on “Knitting for Both Sides: Reversible Knitting with Scarves

    1. Hi Zoya,

      If you click on the linked name of the book at the top of the post, that will take you to the product page on Amazon.

  1. I totally love the Double Eyelet and Cables scarf. It’s the most clever construction I’ve seen in a long time, and believe me, I look at a lot of pattern constructions. Congratulations!

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