Stop Fingering My Linen

a friend asked if he could commission me to knit him a spring scarf. I already recently gave him a great scarf in autumn colors, but I said OK, not really understanding what he meant by 'commission'. I'm not a fast knitter and if he was planning to pay me by the hour, he can't afford me. (Actually he CAN afford me, but that's beside the point.)
He picked out some lovely alpaca yarn.. but wait.. it's like fingering weight! Knit a whole scarf in that? Already getting a vague sense of dread, I forged ahead. I wanted to do something new and interesting for me so I decided to try knitting it in a linen stitch - end to end. I knit a stockinette swatch using size 4 needles and determined I had to cast on 400.. count em.. 400. I knew it would take me awhile but I'm a patient person.
Here's the problem.. it seems that the linen stitch is knitting up much more dense than stockinette does. I love the weight of the fabric but I'm getting 3 more stitches to the inch than I had planned. I've already spent hours on it and I'm reluctant to continue because (1) it's less than one inch wide still and (2) I think it's going to be not much longer than 4 feet because of the gauge.
What to do? Add a super long fringe? Turn it into a cowl? Or the dreaded words... rip it out!
If I do rip it out there's no way I'm going to cast on 500 and start over so I'd need to come up with another stitch that will work well for a scarf using fingering weight yarn. Yeah I guess doubling up the yarn is an option but I'd rather not. I want to do it end to end because the yarn is variegated and I want the color changes to run lengthwise. Am I asking too much?


davidUK's picture

Can't you use it double...or triple.....and save your sanity!!!!!!

I love this rib for scarves's the same both side

Co a multiple of 6 stitches

1. K1 p1
2. Purl


Good luck!

David x

TinkerJones's picture

that sounds too complicated!
Actually a simple knit would be a nice tonic.. would that work end to end?
I'm about ready to cable knit it and be done with it. Call me dull, but I rather like the look of scarves done in cable.

Crafty Andy's picture

Actually it's better to get paid by the yard, lol. honestly. Brioche stitch seems to be very accomodating. A scarf on bigger needles than call for may look nice. I sell stuff I have already made, once in a while I get someone who wants a hat and if I am in the mood for that I will go for it. I they can not afford to buy one of my hats they can learn to make them thmemselves.

Very funny, whenever anyone approaches to make something, the first thing I tell them they can learn to make it themselves. I actually reject 95 % of people who want me to make something for them. I really don't have the time. I do design a lot of stuff, that is where I spend most of my energy. I teach once in a while, but that's about it.

See if he will like a triangular shawl, like one of Stephen West. They are nice looking and they are very good fashion for most males. SHow him some and see if he cares for one of the models.

TinkerJones's picture

Thanks for the advice. I enjoy the brioche stitch so I'll have to see if it will work in this yarn. I'm thinking he won't go for the shawl idea... even though he might care for one of the models ;-)

Knitting for me is purely an escape so I should have known better than to accept a 'commission'. I only want to knit what I want to knit.. and when. I guess I was lured in by the prospect of friends gushing over the end result... feh!

superi's picture

Have you looked at the Henry scarf pattern from knitty? It's done in fingering yarn, lengthwise and the stitch pattern is a little like linen stitch. Here's a link:


TinkerJones's picture

ooh I love that! Looks like lots of work but I'll consider it. Thanks!

Bill's picture

It might be worth putting it partly onto another needle and letting it stretch out...all the scarves I've knitted the long way have stretched a lot. The linen stitch will prevent some of that...but you may have more than you think...

TinkerJones's picture

It's worth a try.. the fabric feels like it'll stretch some, so maybe I can get more length when it's blocked

Tallguy's picture

I think all my books on knitting say that, when you are doing a swatch, you are supposed to use the stitch you plan on using in the item you are going to knit. It also said that if the thing is knit in the round, you also knit your swatch in the round. You are going to get a different gauge if you do stocking stitch or garter or some lace stitch, and you get a different gauge if you knit back and forth or in the round.

So start over, with a swatch in the linen stitch!

Here is something I think you might like to see: the Mini Mania Scarf. There is a download link on this page:

TinkerJones's picture

swatching in the same stitch? It's so logical.. no wonder I didn't do it. I have no idea how knitting in the round will impact gauge. I like to think of knitting in round as 'magic' so I don't want to know how it works.
I love the Mini Mania Scarf too. So many scarves so little time.

Tallguy's picture

Your tension is going to be different in knit stitch from the purl stitch. Do a sample and see. If you knit all round, or purl back, these pieces will not be the same. Usually, they are close enough for some situations that it won't make that much of a difference, but purists will tell you it's enough to make your work look not quite right.