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My friend Uslan is a snappy dresser, but he never wears a proper coat. I worry for his chattering teeth and decided a scarf would do him good.

During the cold months, wrapping something round your neck adds warmth to the whole thick coat and mittens getup -- likewise, come spring, it can make up for the lack of proper thermal underpants. As all good online knitters know, a clapotis isn't just for Christmas. "Cast ne'er a clout till May be out,"* as the Grannies do say.

Exchequered was inspired by the patterns windows make on the sides of office blocks at night; irregular patches of yellow where people have left the light on or are working late. This irregularity makes it perfect for knitters who tend to get bored working the same pattern again and again (and so normally shun scarves for more varied projects like socks).

The pattern is designed as an introduction to double knitting and it's nothing if not adaptable. I think a variegated yarn would work well; my 'to knit' list currently contains a hand-painted sock-weight version which loses the check in the middle instead of the end of the scarf.

*traditional British saying. Translation: don't get too excited by the prospect of your summer wardrobe until at least June.

model: Uslan Cevet photos: Alice Bell


Length: 64 inches
Width: 5 inches



[MC] Robin Double Knit [100% acrylic; 328/300 per 100g skein]; color: Yellow; 1 skein
[CC] Patons Diploma Gold DK [55% wool, 25% acrylic, 20% nylon; 131 yd/120m per 50g skein] color: Black; 2 skeins

1 set US #3/3.25mm needles
Tapestry needle

25 sts/ 32 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

This scarf is worked in double knitting. This is a technique which allows you to form two layers of fabric at once. It can be used in different ways, but in this case, it is used to make a reversible scarf with a stockinette surface on each side. One side will be predominantly yellow, and the other side will be predominantly black.

When working a two-color pattern in double knitting, it is helpful to think of one side of the fabric as the 'Right Side', even though both sides of the piece will look equally good. Each stitch in the color pattern is really made up of 2 stitches: one stitch on the 'Right Side', in the pattern color, and one stitch on the 'Wrong Side', in the other color. The pattern will explain how to do this, in more detail.

I have included a chart, but it is worth knowing the logic behind the pattern, because you can write your own, or even work without a chart. In essence, it is a form of decomposing check; how it goes through this decomposition is up to you. You start from nothing, adding first one odd square, then another, then another, until you've achieved a checkered pattern. You can decide whether you want to add or lose squares as you go along, depending on how you feel.

It is easy to end up with a loose fabric when working in double knitting; be sure to knit with a firm tension.

Note: To make this pattern easier to understand, the predominantly yellow (MC) side will be called the RS, and the predominantly black (CC) side will be called the WS.

CO 48 stitches using CC. I recommend using a cable cast on, but a tubular cast on is also nice for double knitting.

Now it's time to add the second color, and work the first row. You will have to get used to holding both yarns at once. Throughout, you carry both colors forward or back between the needles before each stitch, though you are only knitting or purling with one color at a time.

The first row is worked entirely in MC on the RS, and CC on the WS. Knit the first stitch using MC. Bring both yarns between the needles to the front of the work. Purl the next stitch using CC, then bring both yarns between the needles to the back of the work. Knit the next stitch in MC. Continue working in this way to the end of the row.

You should have what looks like the first row of 1x1 rib, but with the purled stitches in a different color from the knitted ones. If you are using black and yellow too, it'll look pleasingly like a bee.

Turn the work, so the WS is facing. The last stitch of the previous row was worked using CC, so the first stitch of this row will also be worked using CC.
Bring the strand of CC up underneath the strand of MC, effectively twisting the strands around each other, and knit the first stitch using CC. Bring both strands of yarn between the needles to the front of the work and purl the next stitch using MC. Bring both strands of yarn between the needles to the back of the work and knit the next stitch using CC. Continue working in this way to the end of the row.

You have just worked 2 rows in double-knit stockinette stitch, with one side (RS) worked in MC, and one side (WS) in CC. Work 12 more rows in this way. Remember always to wrap the yarn for the first stitch of each row, around the other yarn, before working the first stitch.

Begin Chart Pattern:
When working from this chart, the odd-numbered rows will be RS rows, and the even-numbered rows will be WS rows. The MC (white) squares indicate that a MC stitch is worked on the RS, and a CC stitch is worked on the WS. CC (black) squares indicate that a CC stitch is worked on the RS, and a MC stitch is worked on the WS.

This means, for example, that if you are working a WS row, and you see a MC square, you would knit that stitch using CC, and purl it using MC, so that the stitch would be a MC stitch on the RS.

Work through all rows of the chart, then repeat rows 97-102 until the scarf is the desired length. Most of the scarf will be checkered, though you can always throw in the odd 'missing' patch if you feel if looks right. It breaks things up if you get bored and, as Uslan often says, consistency is overrated.

BO all sts using CC.


Weave in the ends. You will find it easier to weave into matching colors if you weave diagonally. You should be able to tuck the very end of the yarn neatly between the two layers of knitting.

The edges of double knitting can look a little unruly; you might want to neaten it up with a bit of spare yarn and a tapestry needle, or you can work a row of single crochet around the edges.

Lay scarf flat and press lightly.


Alice spends her non-knitting time doing a PhD in Children's Science Literature. She knits on buses, in libraries, down the pub and every now and again, in the cinema. But mainly on buses.

Online, she can be found at slippedstitch.