The Magic Scarf has been much discussed around and about. It's basically a scarf knit to 1/2 or 1/3 of the final desired length and utilizes dropped stitches, unravelled to the cast on row to provide the remaining length. A pattern resides on the Knitlist's Gift Exchange here, but I was having trouble understanding how the cast off is done. Below is the result of asking the incredibly talented and ever helpful Kate to explain her version to me. These are my pictures and her words.

This is the before picture. Rather than working flat in stockingette stitch, I cast on an even number of stitches, joined and worked in the round with fat needles until the scarf was about 3 feet long. (Note: If you're working your scarf flat, cast on an odd number of stitches.) Nice, mindless knitting. The yarn I used here was Sirdar Denim Chunky, most of a 100 g skein.

You want to do a crochet cast off with a twist. What you do is stick a crochet hook into the first stitch and knit it like normal. Use a crochet hook in the same size if you have it. If not work as loose as necessary to mimic the stitch size.

Then (watch, it's getting tricky now) you drop the next stitch...

...and make a crochet chain stitch ...

... by pulling a loop of yarn through the loop on your hook. Leave the dropped stitch alone, it just hangs out. You should only have one loop remaining on your crochet hook.

Use the crochet hook to knit the next (third of all) stitch...

which leaves two loops on your hook.

You will now pretend everything's normal and take the first (right-hand) loop up and over the second (left-hand) loop on your hook and off the hook as with a regular bind off.

Now you repeat this process by dropping the next st, crochet one chain stitch over it, "knit" into the next stitch, bind off one stitch, etc...

It's actually very easy but pay attention! It's easy to miss a step when you get confident and into a rhythm.

When all stitches are worked, rip all of the dropped stitches down to the cast on row.

Ripping the dropped stitches takes much more time and work than you would think -- you'll have to pull alot and harder than you might want. It helps if you pull sideways occasionally to loosen the stitches up a bit.

Fringe is necessary as the cast on edge gets very loose and unattractive -- with a tube I like to fringe both layers to close it up and make it tighter.

Copyright 2002 Theresa V. Stenersen. All rights reserved.