Monday 14 December 2015

Aran scarf

It seems to have taken me forever to get this baby off the needles. Aran patterns take time with all those intricate cables and designs, but when you’re done they’re totally worth it.

I don’t use traditional weight Aran wool as it bulks up too much for my liking so I downsize to something closer to a double knitting weight. On this occasion I’ve used some wool from my stash: SMC Super Fine Merino Opera wool, which is now an obsolete product line. I must have bought it a couple of years’ ago at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show. I’d totally forgotten about it and, when I  found it squirrelled away, I decided that Aran with a few winter sparkles might work in the run-up to Christmas. I rather like how it’s turned out, and there’s a part of me that regrets not having enough left to make some sort of cardigan that would look cool over a party dress. Instead I may have to think about a sparkly beanie to co ordinate with the scarf for a dash of après ski chic.

I added some faux fur(ry) pompoms, also resurrected from the depths of my stash, for a slightly more decadent look, but this scarf would look really lovely with a long-tailed fringe made from the sparkly wool along both ends.

My scarf measured 137 cm/ 54" in length and was 20 cm/ 8" wide. On the aran pattern this worked out as an average tension of 41 stitches x 30 rows on a 10 cm x 10 cm swatch, and I used about 650 metres or 707 yards of wool, which translates as 4 and a bit 50g balls. 

If you’d like to make one for yourself,  just read on for the pattern.

Now I should explain that this is really a scarf knit in 3 panels. At either side there is a double cable panel, and, sandwiched between the double cable panels, is a central panel with a sort of thread-of-life thing going on. I've posted graphs for these panels below.

Cast on 82 stitches on 4mm needles and work one set of 23 stitches according to the double cable graph, then a set of 36 stitches for the central panel and, finally, another set of 23 stitches for the second double cable panel. 


k = knit, p = purl, c = cable 3 front i.e. slip the first 3 stitches onto the cable needle. Knit the next 3 stitches from the left needle, and then knit the 3 from the cable needle.


k = knit, p = purl, b = cable 2 back i.e. place first 2 stitches on cable needle at the back of the work, knit next 2 stitches from left needle, and then go back and knit the 2 stitches from the cable needle. l = cable left i.e. place first 2 stitches on cable needle at the front of the work, purl next 2 stitches from left needle, and then knit the 2 stitches on the cable needle. r = place first 2 stitches on cable needle at back of the work, knit next 2 stitches from left needle, and then purl the 2 stitches held on the cable needle.

The Thread-of-Life is shown as 14 rows, but the first 2 rows are simply to open the design out for a suitable beginning. You only repeat rows 3 to 14 on each pattern repeat - hence the red line on the graph after row 2. At the very end, when you've got your scarf as long as you'd like it to be, you should repeat rows 1 and 2 after your last pattern repeat on this central panel to make sure that the design is the same at both ends.

The side cable panels repeat over 8 rows, whereas the central panel, as I’ve said, repeats over 12 rows, so they run out of step with one another. It’s not rocket science: I keep the two running together by making pencil notes of where I am, and then marking every 8th pattern repeat on the cable sections with a square bracket and every 12th pattern row repeat on the central section with tramlines. You soon get into the swing of how the patterns work. The cables are really easy, simply involving a 3 stitch twist on the 7th row. But until you do it’s easy to see where you are by counting rows from square brackets and tram-lines in your notes.

I carried on knitting for 422 rows until the scarf measured 137 cm/ 54". Then I repeated rows 1 and 2 on the graph for the central panel, carrying on with the cable at the same time, cast off, blocked it, darned in my loose ends and sewed on the pompoms. And ta-dah! Job done!

All the best for now and Happy Knitting!

Bonny x
P.S if you like this you may also like the matching beanie hat: Aran Beanie Hat


  1. hi bonny... lovely and intricate pattern...thank you for that and also for the information on the yarn you used and the why...may i wish you and yours a peaceful, healthy and joyous holiday season...take care...sally

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Sally. Wishing you and your family a super Christmas too. All the best, Bonny

  2. Gorgeous scarf. I am going to make this for a friend of mine as a gift and then I think I am going to make one for myself as well. Thank you for your hard work on this pattern.
    Happy New Year

    1. Thank you, Dixie. I hope they work out really well for you. Happy 2016! Bonny

  3. This is beautiful. I must have looked at 100 or more different designs today and this one is my favorite. Absolutely wonderful. Not too much, just right. And very clean looking. Some cable knits can get over crowed with too many cables and bobbles. Thanks for sharing your beautiful creation.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Erin. 🙏 So glad that you like the pattern. All the best, Bonny