Here's a first-rate beginner's knitting project-designed by Coats & Clark, the yarn manufacturer, and used here with the company's permission-that'll yield a warm 7" X 70" scarf. The scarf pattern features the rib stitch, which is useful for the novice to learn, since it's frequently employed in knitting.
Materials: You'll need ten ounces of four-ply yarn in a color of your choice (Coats & Clark recommends either its Red Heart Fabulend wool-blend worsted yarn or other Red Heart yarn) plus one pair of No. 10 knitting needles (an easy size to work with for a person who's just learning to knit). For this article of clothing, the gauge is not important.
To start: Measure off about 54" of yarn and cast on 50 stitches.
Row 1. With the yarn in back of your work, insert the needle from right to left in front of the first stitch and slip it onto the right-hand needle (this is called "slip one st as if to purl"), then K1, *P2, K2. Repeat from * across.
Row 2. With the yarn in front of your work, slip the first stitch as if to purl, then P1, *K2, P2. Repeat from * across. Repeat Rows 1 and 2 alternately until the length is 70" . Bind off in ribbing.
If you'd like to add an eye-grabbing fringe to your scarf, here's how: Cut four strands of yarn, each 16" long, and fold them in half. Working along one end of the scarf, insert a crochet hook in the center of the first knitted rib and draw the middle of the strands through. Next, draw the ends of the fringe through this newly formed loop and pull them up tightly to form a knot. Do this in each alternate rib across to the opposite corner, and then work the fringe along the other end in the same manner. Finish by trimming the yarn ends to a consistent length.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS asked a local knitter to try out this pattern. Because of the weight of the wool, the knitter cast on only 36 stitches. . . if a wider scarf is desired, you can cast on more stitches, but do so in multiples of four. (Our craftsperson noted that the scarf tends to draw together, so it might be a good idea to cast on more stitches than you think you'll really need.)
She made one pattern change, too, which helps to simplify matters for the knitting novice: If you cast on your stitches in a multiple of four, you can follow Row 1 of the above pattern throughout the entire project without having to worry about the instructions for Row 2.
Now that wasn't too bad, was it? Maybe you'd like to learn a little bit more about the craft and tackle one of the following projects!
Need a refresher on knitting basics? Would a list of abbreviations be handy? See How to Knit and Crochet.