The Garter Stitch is a Perfect First Scarf Pattern for Beginners

The Perfect Pattern for Beginners

The Garter Stitch Scarf is a great first knitting project
© Sarah E. White, licensed to, Inc.

Many novice knitters begin with a scarf as their first project since the design itself is simple. Choosing to make the scarf with a basic garter stitch makes it quick and easy, but still a project you are sure to be proud of when it's done. If you are familiar with casting on, knitting, and binding off, then you already know everything you need to make a garter stitch scarf. If you are new to knitting a scarf, all you need to know is right here in this simple scarf pattern—you can even use the knit cast on and learn how to knit as you're getting the stitches on your needle. It doesn't get any easier!

And even when you are no longer a novice knitter, a garter stitch scarf is a great go-to pattern. It knits up quickly and you get quite a different look with the smallest adjustments. You can add different textures or use various weights of yarn, bigger needles, and make it skinny or wide. The options are limitless, even with a simple project like this.

Materials Needed

You will need yarn, needles, scissors, and a crochet hook for this project. Buy one skein 6-super-bulky yarn, around 100 yards (Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick is a nice choice), or two skeins if you want a longer scarf. The larger the yarn, and the lighter the color, the easier it will be to see your stitches.

For needles, you will need Size 13 US (9 mm). It is also helpful to have a crochet hook; with the bulky yarn, it is easier to weave in the ends of the yarn with a hook rather than a needle.

Pattern Gauge and Scarf Size

Gauge means how many stitches there are per inch and is created by the balance between the yarn weight, needle size, and your knitting tension. With the suggested yarn and needle combination for this project, you should get around 2 1/2 stitches per inch in garter stitch. If changing yarn weight, you should also change the needle size to get that yarn's recommended gauge.

The finished scarf is about 5 inches wide, but the length will vary depending on the yardage of your chosen yarn and exactly how long you want to make it. 

Garter Stitch Scarf Pattern

This scarf pattern is made up entirely of the garter stitch. It is nothing more than repeating the basic knit stitch over and over again. That's why it's the perfect beginner's project! By the end of this scarf, you will have this knit stitch down pat and be ready to learn the next stitch.

To create a scarf using the garter stitch, follow these steps:

  1. Cast on 12 stitches; this will give you a scarf that's almost 5 inches wide—adjust for a wider or narrower scarf keeping in mind how many stitches there are per inch. There are a few different ways to cast-on—you can use a long-tail cast-on or try the simple wrap cast on.
  2. Then you simply knit! Knit every stitch and every row with the same garter stitch until you have about a yard of yarn left, or the scarf has reached your desired length. You can also add a new ball of yarn to extend the length or add a different color.
  3. Next, you need to bind off.
  4. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail of about 6 inches.
  5. Use your crochet hook to weave in the ends at the top and the bottom.

Make the Project Your Own

This is a wonderful all-purpose scarf pattern that is the perfect basis to personalize. You can make it with any kind of yarn or combine two different kinds of yarn. If you want to use a different weight of yarn than the super bulky, check the label to see what size needles are recommended and use them instead of the size 13. You might also need a few more stitches if you are using a lighter weight yarn in order to get a nice width—or you can make a super-skinny scarf.

Once you have a few projects under your belt, you can also knit a striped scarf with the leftover bits of yarn. A basic garter stitch scarf is no doubt a project you will keep coming back to again and again throughout your knitting career. When you are comfortable with garter stitch, learn how to purl and then you can try some stockinette projects as well.