How to Knit a Horizontal Scarf

Sideways Knitting

Horizontal Scarf pattern
(c) Sarah E. White, licensed to, Inc.

Most people are familiar with knitting a scarf from one end to the other, casting on a small number of stitches and working many, many rows. But it's also possible to knit a scarf sideways, casting on a large number of stitches and working just a few rows to get your scarf done.

This scarf uses a different color yarn on each row (repeated randomly throughout) and the tails of each strand create a fringe edge.

This is a fun project because it offers a way to use up your yarn stash, and it's also adaptable to your taste. You can make the scarf as wide or as narrow as you like, and you can mix and match colors. The overall effect can be quite random—if you run out of one color, simply join another color.

Because this scarf is knit in garter stitch, it is reversible—there is no "right" or "wrong" side. Plus, since you make all the choices of materials, colors, and size, this scarf is gender- and age-neutral, making it a perfect gift or beginning knitter's project.


  • Six to 12 or more spare balls of yarn, in similar or contrasting colors, tennis ball size or smaller (about 400-500 yards total). The yarns can be slightly varying weights.
  • One size 13 US circular needle with the longest cable you have
  • Scissors


11 stitches and 24 rows per 4 inches (2.75 stitches and 6 rows per inch) in garter stitch. Gauge is not critical.


Finished size is 4.5 inches wide and 7 feet long without the fringe.

Choosing Colors

This particular scarf was made with different shades of blue—with some gray, purple and black thrown in—and almost all medium weight wool. There are also some heavier yarns and some thinner ones, which were knit with two strands held together.

The striping is random and most of the yarns repeat a couple of times throughout the scarf. Here, the "tassels" were created with varying lengths of yarn, but you can make the lengths consistent if you prefer.

You can also experiment with different color combinations or a try a different shade family—there are limitless possibilities for this project!

Knitting the Scarf

  1. Leaving a tail about 10 inches long, cast on 200 stitches using the wrap cast on, or another method of your choice that doesn't require a long tail. Cut the yarn at the end of the cast on, leaving a tail of about 10 inches.

  2. Join new yarn, leaving a tail of about 10 inches, and knit one row. Cut yarn, leaving a 10-inch tail.

  3. Continue in this manner, changing yarn each row and leaving tails at each end, until width measures 4.5 inches or width of your choice.

  4. Bind off in another color, again leaving tails.

  5. Tie tails in bunches of three or four to secure edges. Trim to the same length if desired.