Striped Mistake Rib Scarf

Man pulling a hat over a woman's eyes. Woman wearing ribbed, striped scarf.
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Sometimes the best things come from the mistakes you make, even in knitting. Case in point: A mistake rib scarf, which takes advantage of an accident in your stitches to make for a pretty accessory. Mistake Rib is a really easy knitting stitch that produces bold columns of knit stitches. If you want to whittle away at your yarn stash, a mistake rib scarf is just the way to do it.

If you don't happen to have such a big supply of leftovers, you can make each stripe a different color or use a pattern of several different colors of stripes of different widths. If you're using heavier-weight yarn, just use bigger needles for a wider scarf.

The final result will have an odd number of stitches and a shift that rib one stitch over, creating a texture that doesn't shrink up. Although this particular project uses the mistake rib for a scarf, the same type of offset stitches can be used to make blankets, pillow covers, or other cozy items. They make great gifts, and this particular stitch looks like it took a lot more effort than it actually does—your friends and family will be duly impressed.



Gauge is not critical, but estimate about 6.5 stitches and 8 rows per inch in Mistake Rib.


The finished scarf is 3.5 inches wide and 43 inches long. It can be made longer or shorter depending on how much yarn you have.


  1. Cast on 23 stitches in main color.
  2. *Knit 2, purl 2. Repeat from * across, ending with a purl 1.
  3. Repeat this row for 3 inches.
  4. Change to contrasting color and continue in pattern for 1 inch.
  5. Change back to the main color and work another 3 inches.
  6. Continue in this manner until scarf is desired length, ending with a section of the main color.
  7. Bind off in the pattern.
  8. Cut yarn and weave in ends.


  • Other than the line of yarn running up the side, this pattern is reversible.
  • A larger pair of knitting needles will provide a looser pattern, while a smaller pair will provide a tighter stitch. You can go as high as size 15 needles for a loose, airy scarf that drapes nicely around the neck.
  • To make finishing easier, don't cut the yarn you aren't working with as you go. Instead, each time you get to the right-side edge, twist the two yarns together, so the yarn you aren't working with is carried up the side.
  • If you're working on this project from your stash, you may want to vary the width of the stripes more or use more than two colors to include multiple types of yarn. If you're not going back to a color soon, go ahead and cut the yarn after a stripe is finished and weave in ends later.