When you know how to crochet a scarf you have the foundation of skills needed to create blankets and clothing from yarn. Learning how to crochet a scarf or knit or weave increases our personal preparedness to the next level of sustainability. Now you will be able to go on to making other garments for warmth and protection. Connecting threads to make cloth is the foundation for making many useful items.
Many people shy away from learning how to crochet a scarf or even a pot holder or dishcloth. Often patterns are written in a type of symbolic shorthand that makes little sense to a beginner. Crocheting and knitting are relaxing hobbies. Taking the time to learn how to knit or crochet will provide you with a lifelong pastime.
When you learn fiber techniques like crocheting a scarf, knitting a sweater, weaving a bed cover or felting slippers, you increase the amount of products provided by livestock animals. Sheep kept as wool-yielding animals do not need to be slaughtered for meat in order to use their fleece. If you raise sheep for meat production, the wool fleece can still be used including the fiber, hides for leather, bones for tools, and of course meat for the table and bones for stock. This method is the essence of homesteading today, creating as little waste as possible.
The History of Crochet
There is no clear date or historical beginning noted for crochet. Sometimes called poor man’s lace, crochet work was used to make utility gear. There are references to crochet in the 16th century and earlier forms of similar stitches even further back in time. Early uses of crochet were found in ceremonial costume embellishments and personal decorations. The Potato Famine in the mid-1800s in Ireland created a surge in crochet and sale of crocheted items. The famine-stricken farmers crocheted collars and doilies to sell in order to stay alive. During the Victorian Era, crochet was used for chair headrest covers, bird cage covers, and tablecloths. Surprisingly, the potholder was not a common crocheted item until the early 1900s.
Items Needed to Crochet a Scarf
There are three things you will want to have handy when learning how to crochet a scarf. A hook, yarn and a ruler. Scissors are nice to have or some yarn clippers, although I have been known to use my teeth or a pocket knife when I forget to pack the scissors!
The Crochet Hook
Crochet hooks are commonly found for sale in craft stores, sewing stores, and yarn shops. Early crochet was done using the fingers when necessary or a crochet hook was fashioned from a long needle with a hook bent at the end. Even a piece of wire was used to make a crochet hook. Today we have many options. There are more than 25 sizes of hooks available in the shops. These modern crochet hooks are made from metal, wood, and plastic. Since we are learning how to crochet a scarf I recommend using sizes F, G, H, or I to begin.
Choose the yarn depending on the item you are making. A scarf is generally made using a sport, DK or worsted weight of yarn. In some patterns, chunky style scarves are made using a thicker yarn. Socks are normally knit but can be crocheted using a sock or other lightweight yarn. There are many styles, blends, and colors to choose from. I prefer to use natural fibers, including wool, alpaca, mohair, and llama. Plant fibers are found in yarn too, with bamboo, cotton, and silk. If you are creative you can even make your own yarn by purchasing the raw fleece, combing, carding and spinning the yarn blend that you prefer. Perhaps one day you will want to try natural dyes for wool, too. There is no end to the creativity once you learn how to knit and crochet.
The amount of yarn needed to learn how to crochet a scarf will depend on how long and wide you want the scarf to be when complete. The normal range would be 100 yards to 250 yards. Purchase all the yarn for the project at one time. You may be able to return unopened skeins of yarn, so check with the individual store for the return policy. Purchasing all the yarn you think you need at the outset will prevent disappointment if you near the end of the project and run out of yarn. The dye lots might be different for different skeins so check that on the label before purchasing the yarn.
The Basic Crochet Stitch
The technique of the basic crochet stitch has evolved over time to today’s standard. The single crochet stitch is made holding the hook in the right hand and the yarn in the left hand. (For right-handed people.) The single crochet stitch is used when learning how to crochet a scarf and other useful items.
Begin the single crochet stitch by making a loop and a knot at the end of the yarn.
Holding the yarn in the left hand, pull the yarn through the first loop using the crochet hook. Now you have one loop on the hook and one hanging below the hook. Repeat to make a chain of 16. This is the foundation row.
Chain one additional loop for turning. Turn the work and begin to make a single crochet stitch in the first loophole of the foundation chain.
Single crochet to the end of the row.
If you prefer, you can single crochet an entire scarf this way. Make sure you always chain one stitch at the end of each row, for turning.
Count the stitches in each row from time to time to make sure you are staying consistent with 16 (or whatever number you chose to have in the row).
If you prefer to add a slight variation, the pattern below is a very simple to make a beginner level scarf. It looks different than a long traditional scarf and closes with a buttonhole and button. To make the pattern below you will also need to learn the double crochet stitch.
You can practice the double crochet with this video.
Page 2 of the Button Hole Scarf pattern.
Let’s get started learning how to crochet a scarf. If you have already learned how to crochet a scarf, please try the simple pattern for crocheted hand warmer gloves, I created and shared here. I would love to know how you are doing as you learn to crochet a scarf. Please let me know in the comments section below. What types of patterns would you like to learn to crochet next?