Pioneer Braid Scarf

Pioneer Braid Scarf

Specifications:  As written, requires approximately 300 yards (272 m) of worsted weight yarn (approximately 20 stitches per 4 inches/20 cm in stockinette stitch) to make a scarf 5 1/2 by 63 inches (14 x 160 cm)

Gauge in pattern stitch (garter stitch) : 18 stitches per 4 inches/20 cm.  Gauge is not critical.

Pattern gives suggestions for adapting to lighter or heavier weight yarns.

Scarf shown below is knit in Twisted Fiber Art ( Lotus yarn, a limited edition colorway, “Fortune”.  Any hand-dyed yarn is likely to work well.

Base triangle:

Cast on one stitch by any method.

Increase by knitting into front and back (kf&b) of stitch.  (2 stitches)

Kf&b, k. (3 stitches)

Kf&b into first stitch, k to end of row.

Repeat last row (Kf&b, k to end of row) until 36 stitches are on the needle.*

This completes the base triangle and won’t be knit again.

Set-up for Braid Sections:

Kf&b into first stitch, then SSK (slip one stitch as to knit, slip a second stitch as to knit, knit two slipped stitches together).  [If desired, you can substitute (slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over) for SSK.] Turn work and knit back to end of row.

Kf&b into first stitch, k1, then SSK.  Turn work and knit back to end of row.

Kf&b into first stitch, k2, SSK.  Turn work and knit back to end of row.  Notice you are always performing the SSK ‘across the gap’ between the new knitting and the old knitting.

Continue in this manner, knitting until there is one stitch left before ‘the gap’, then SSK, then turning the work and knitting back, UNTIL at the BEGINNING of the row as you are ready to start knitting, there are 24 stitches (2/3 of the total stitches) before ‘the gap’ and 12 stitches (1/3 of the total) after ‘the gap’.

For this last row, knit as usual to one stitch before the gap (kf&b, k 22 assuming 36 stitches as written), SSK, but now continue knitting forward to the end of the row instead of turning the work (k11, or 1/3 of the stitches minus 1).

Braid Sections (you will repeat this section until the scarf is desired length)

Turn work, ready to begin on the other side.  There is no right or wrong side to this pattern as such.

Kf&b, k10 (because of the kf&b, there will actually be 12 stitches, 1/3 of the total number, on the right needle at this point, which is how I remember what to do next.   12 is the magic number for this scarf at worsted weight!).  SSK and TURN work, knit back.

Now resume as previous:

Kf&b, knit to one stitch before ‘the gap’, SSK, turn work, knit back to end of row.

Continue in this manner, knitting until there is one stitch left before the gap, then SSK, then turning the work and knitting back, UNTIL at the BEGINNING of the row as you are ready to start knitting, there are 24 stitches (2/3 of the total stitches) before ‘the gap’ and 12 stitches (1/3 of the total) after ‘the gap’.

For this last row of the section, knit as usual to one stitch before the gap (kf&b, k 22 assuming 36 stitches as written), SSK, but now continue knitting FORWARD to the end of the row instead of turning the work (k11 or 1/3 of the stitches minus one).   Now begin another braid section as above.


When scarf is approximately desired length, start a new braid section in the usual way.  However, knit only six repeats (1/6 the number of stitches) of  *Kf&b, knit to one stitch before ‘the gap’, SSK, turn work, knit back to end of row*.  After doing this, you should have 18 stitches (1/2 the total number of stitches) on each needle at the beginning of the row.

Now, *SSK (decrease instead of increase on first stitch), k to one stitch before the gap, SSK, turn work and knit back to end of row*. (34 stitches remain, 17 on each needle: 1/2 the original number of stitches minus one on each needle).

Repeat between * and * above until 6 stitches remain, 3 on each needle at the beginning of the row.

SSK,  SSK, turn, k2. (4 stitches remain)

Slip 1, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over; k1, turn. (2 stitches remain)

K2tog. Break yarn, pull through single remaining stitch.  Weave in ends.

Scarf will benefit from gentle steam blocking.


*To modify scarf for heavier or lighter yarn, or for a different size:

Knit first triangle until either side of the triangle (not the side on the needles) measures approximately the desired width of the scarf, and at the same time the number of stitches on the needles is a multiple of 6. (such as 30, 42, etc.) Follow the pattern as written, except where the pattern states a number of stitches followed by a specification such as “(2/3 the stitches)”, substitute the appropriate number for your total number of stitches.

Copyright 2008 Catherine Ryan, Hither and Yarn.  All rights reserved.  Permission granted for personal use or for benefit of charity.  Neither this pattern nor items made from it may be sold for personal profit. 
Revised with minor correction 9/13/2010.

96 responses to “Pioneer Braid Scarf

  1. this looks like a great project. Thanks so much for sharing the pattern.

  2. Really beautiful!

  3. very beautiful,neat work.Best part is that it can be worn either side,something very essential for scarf.

  4. That is so pretty, thanks for sharing your pattern.

  5. I like it very much, it’s so pretty, I like the combinations of colors but I cannot understand the terms on instruction… Can you please help or teach me so I would know exactly what to do?

    Thanks a lot!

  6. nice pattern, thanks so much

  7. OK I found this pattern.

  8. That’s so gorgeous! Thank you for sharing the pattern. Is that yarn variegated or striping?

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  10. I cannot get the ending off of the pattern to work. Can you help me…are there any helpful hints? Thank you…I just love the pattern.

  11. BEAUTIFUL! I want one! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  13. Ending of pattern has been changed as of 1/31/2010 to a slightly more elegant version (and which takes less yarn!) I hope this is easier to understand as well. Look for an illustrated pattern to come in the future.

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  15. HELP: I knitted the base triangle and don’t get the next step is there anyway to explain it better. I am completely frustrated with it.
    Thank you

  16. Thanks so much for the pattern, I’ve been working through it and I’m amazed how much easier it is to knit than I was expecting. I’d never turned my work in the middle of the row before, but with this pattern it’s surprisingly easy. I’ve been doing it with a solid-color yarn and it’s looking much more of a zigzag than a braid, but it’s still lovely, so thanks!


  18. I just finished this scarf earlier today. I needed to get some expert advice on finishing it but it came out beautifully. I can not wait to give it to my best friend for Christmas.

    • Mary Beth Keidl

      I don’t under this pattern at all after the base triangle. I had two expert knitters look at it and they don’t “get it” either. In setting up for the braid sections where it says continue in this matter, knitting until there is one stitch left before the gap, then SSK, then turning the work and knitting back UNTIL at the BEGINNING of the row you are ready to start knitting, there are 24 stitched before the gap and 12 stitches after the gap – where is the gap supposed to be and how do you get it there?
      Anyone know what the fix is? Or is there a correction to the pattern?

  19. I will try this for the skeins of Zombie BBQ I just ordered from Lona’s Laces! I think it will look amazing. 🙂 Thank you!

  20. Do you have any recommendations for knitting this with Sport weight, and only having 200yd?

    • Hmm. It will be a smaller scarf no matter what. Garter stitch scarves stretch lengthwise as you wear them (and get skinnier), even this one knit on diagonals. Since you have limited yardage, I would not cast on more stitches despite the slightly finer yarn; I would probably go with 36 stitches still and accept a slightly skinnier scarf. Then knit till you’re done, knowing it’s going to be a scarf that you would wrap around your neck rather than one that will hang down a lot. On the other hand, if you want a longer, skinny scarf, try casting on 30 stitches instead (and follow the percentages in the pattern).

  21. I would love to try this but I just can’t picture how it works after the base triangle – how does the next triangle connect to the base, without having to sew it together once all is finished or somehow slip the yarn through a stitch on the connecting edge of the base triangle? How do you perform the SSK “across the gap”, as you say?

  22. Ooh, I started knitting it and by george I think I’ve got it. Please ignore previous comment about “how does the next triangle connect to the base”. This is so much fun! How will I ever put it down and go to bed? Thank you!

  23. I intend to make this scarf for a very dear relative, and plan to splurge on the gorgeous Lotus yarn. So how many skeins of Lotus did you use on this particular scarf?

    • I used one skein, although it was a club shipment way back when and I don’t know what the yardage was. Looking at it now, I am pretty sure it is not the same yardage, since Lotus now only comes in Evolution skeins, which are smaller than the self-striping skeins. However, I can say that I made another scarf out of one skein of Duchess (240 yards) and it was a reasonable size (see it here):

      So, 240 yards was a reasonable but on-the-smaller-side scarf. I think 180 yards would be, sadly, a little small unless it were a purely decorative scarf. 360 yards would make a nice full-size winter scarf, the kind that hangs down far enough, and that you can wrap around once and still have enough length (I would make it wider than 36 stitches, possibly, if you had this yardage).

      Before you do anything, though, email the dyer. Meg might make you a custom skein-and-a-half or something. 180 + 90 yds would be 270 yards, which would be a very nice size. (In my head, I always think 300 yards worsted weight for a solid size winter scarf.)

      Oh, and if you did get two skeins, 360 yards, I would suggest having them dyed separately, possibly, rather than one long Evolution. The color changes will be so gradual with one-skein dyeing that they won’t really show up in the pattern, and all the knitting work will be in vain! If you get two separately dyed skeins, it will go from one color on one end, to the second color in the middle, to the first color on the other end, and the braid pattern will show up much better because the progression is faster. (I speak from experience here…)

      (Also posted on blog)

  24. Thank you so much for your advice. Unfortunately, two skeins of beautiful yarn at $35.00 a skein just isn’t something I can afford right now. I did buy two skeins of Universal Yarns in Tutti Frutti, and it is impossible to be cranky while knitting with it. The scarf is gorgeous, and I know my relative will love it a lot. Thanks for a wonderful pattern!

  25. Hi, I’m not sure this is being checked any more, but just in case that is is, I’m a little confused at the “UNTIL at the BEGINNING of the row as you are ready to start knitting, there are 24 stitches (2/3 of the total stitches) before ‘the gap’ and 12 stitches (1/3 of the total) after ‘the gap’.” part of the instructions. Are you supposed to knit to the end of the row, SSK the gap, turn, and then kf&b at the beginning of the next row and then knit 22 so that a new gap is formed and work from there? This instruction is a little unclear and this pattern is too lovely to not do it. Any clarification would be wonderful thank you.

    • So the sentence you quote is just to alert the knitter when to stop the pattern as established (which is knit to the gap, SSK, turn and knit back). You stop that pattern when you have that number of stitches in that configuration on the needles. Instead of following the previously established pattern, on that row, you will knit until you get to the gap, SSK, and KEEP KNITTING to the end of the row. (written out stitch by stitch in the next sentence in the pattern, as “kf&b, k 22 assuming 36 stitches as written), SSK, but now continue knitting forward to the end of the row instead of turning the work (k11”)

      Then you will turn at the end of the row as you normally would; kf&b, knit 10 as stated, SSK, and then turn work and knit back to create a new ‘gap’.

      I believe I need to write out a row by row written pattern on 36 stitches as it would certainly make the pattern more clear. On my list of things to do when I have time!

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  28. I am finding the ending instructions confusing. after repeating the braid section (kfb, knit to one before the gap, ssk, turn and knit back to end of row) I would be at the begining of the row with all stitches on one needle, yet the instructions say I should have 1/2 the number of stitches on each needle. how is this possible. did you instead mean 1/2 the stitches before the gap and 1/2 after the gap? please help!

    • I can see that that is confusing.

      Without having one of the scarves on the needles, I am pretty sure that I meant that this is the configuration on the knit-back row, right after you turn and before you knit back (I agree that the wording is not clear). As you say, this is the same as the stitches before and after the gap — the number of stitches should be equal at this point before and after the gap.

      When I rewrite the pattern eventually, I will clarify that wording. Thanks!

      (Also posted on blog.)

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  31. very pretty hope I can do it

  32. I managed to fathom out the instructions only have the finishing triangle to complete it. Heres hoping i can figure that bit out too.

  33. Wow! This is really beautiful … and after making Miami Beach Shawl per Ravelry, I know how to do the short rows! Thank you SO much!!

  34. wow this is so neat x) To be honest, I’ve never knitted before but there is this special friend whom is really sick at the moment. I really want to knit a scarf for her. If you can, would you please upload a video on how you did it. I thank you in advance for all the trouble. Thank you for uploading this, I think it’s really great xD

  35. guadalupe alvarez rodriguez


  36. I just love the scarf. i wanted to know if have pattern for left hand person. i knit left hand or do have video show how is knit

  37. How do I go about getting the revised version of this pattern? You said something about changing it to understand it better as of 1/31/2010. Thanks a lot!

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  41. A friend made a scarf that looks similar — but she did hers on a tri-loom! If I could send you a photo … you’d see.

    So, for those who don’t knit, maybe weaving on a tri-loom would be best.

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  44. a print button would have been nice

  45. Thank you very much for those explanations. I knitted this scarf with a rainbow color wool. This is beautiful.

  46. how can I print this pattern without printing all of the comments!

  47. Myra Jansen, DRAG your mouse from the top of the pattern to the bottom of the pattern and then do a copy of the highlighted area. Go to your word processing program and on a blank page, do a Paste. Then SAVE.

  48. Pingback: Knit Pioneer Braid Scarf - PRETTY IDEAS

  49. What size needles did you use?

  50. Gorgeous, did you write the pattern?

  51. I found this pattern by accident…I was shopping for yarn at my pharmacy which carries a small inventory of knitting supplies on our little island in the Puget Sound when I came across a sampler scarf knitted in Zauberwolle, a line of yarn I had not yet tried. This pattern lends itself perfectly with this yarn. I just be an the 2nd section and I am already thrilled with the results! I will be knitting at least 2 scarves for Christmas presents; hopefully I will be able to make 3! Thank you so much for sharing this pattern…I love both the pattern and the yarn. This pattern is a real winner! 🙂

  52. What size needles did you use?

  53. a row by row ie row 1 row 2.would be helpful in pdf pls. Thanks kelly.

  54. Kelly, as you knit, you can write it down Row by Row. Have you tried doing that?

    • Do you have a tutorial of this pattern or a “row by row” instruction in pdf. Very confusing for me and just love the scarf.

  55. Looks like someone is using your pattern to make some dosh. Thought I would let you know

  56. Can you do a video on utube on this pattern, that would be helpful, beautiful scarf

  57. I made this with a sock yarn, an alpaca/wool fingering yarn, and a fingering mohair all held together. Gorgious! I just followed the pattern as written until I got to the end. Then I followed the instructions, ignoring the things in the parentheses. Turned out cushy and warm.

  58. Just loved following the instructions and the end result was very satisfying , thank you for sharing this wonderful design

  59. Neide rodrigues

    Por favor ..
    Aguardo a receita

  60. Lindo, gostaria da receita traduzida, se possível.

  61. Alguém tem a receita traduzida em portugues

  62. maria fatima Bijolada de Araujo

    Não conseGui entender

  63. There is an error in your pattern = For the gauge printed is 20 stitches per 4 inches/20cm — the cm should be 10cm = 4 inches.

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  65. Daniela Compagnoni

    In italiano per favore. Grazie

  66. Very pretty thanks for sharing this

  67. Lovely pattern. I’m not understand the instruction for the 24/12 split. For the last row, kfb, isn’t that on the inside of the scarf? The ssk would be on the edge of the scarf.

    Please clarify. I’m not understanding.

  68. Shivalini Mohapatra

    Love it 😙😚

  69. Shivalini Mohapatra

    Love it 😙😚 thanks so much loved your wonderful creation 😊😚

  70. zahida sattar.

    i like this pioneer braid scarf.i need ur favour to knit this for my grand daughter.if u plz can make a video of this design..

  71. Great pattern. Thanks a lot for sharing <3!

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  74. Great pattern. Thanks a lot for sharing . i like the video it’s more clear for me.

  75. I just finished my pioneer braid scarf. I will say the ending sounded more difficult than it was. I somehow got through it. It looks great. Thanks for sharing your pattern Catherine.

  76. It took me awhile to figure out how the pattern was suppose to look, I love it! Will be knitting another scarf soon, thank you for sharing!

  77. Hallo, thanks for the nice pattern. Does anybody know, if the pattern is available in German? Thanks a lot for your help.

  78. Beautiful. Thank you

  79. l have tried for my neice.thank u.

  80. Pingback: I found the original pattern for this finally with some help on Ravelry. I wante… | Life Tank

  81. Do you have any video of the tutorial ..I m confused in 1/3 of total stitches minus ..
    If any video available plz provide a link ..
    This will b a great help .
    I m very desperate to knit this scarf ..This is very beautiful ..
    Thanku so much

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  83. Pingback: I found the original pattern for this finally with some help on Ravelry. I wante… – Life Style

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