Free Pattern Simple Rectangular Scarves and Shawls

Free Pattern Simple Rectangular Scarves and Shawls

A scarf is not only great to wear but can also be fun to make. We’ve put together a free pattern for you that will help you learn how to make a simple rectangular scarf. This article will help explain how to make and design your own scarf too!

The fabric is the foundation of any garment, so before you start sewing up your new item, take time to educate yourself on what to look for when buying it. There are many things to consider like weight, fiber content, colorfastness, drapeability and more.


These directions are for the “basics” on how to knit two types of rectangular scarves or shawls, both of which are reversible (no wrong side) when worked in garter stitch.  They look great in basic yarns or fancy furry or glitzy novelty yarns. 

Learn all about Yarn Ball Handling

The rectangular patterns can be made in any width or length.  Here is some basic terminology used here and in most shawl/scarf patterns – a scarf is worn around the neck and is usually rather small while a shawl is usually large enough to wrap the shoulders.  A shawl can be rectangular, round, triangular, square, etc.  A stole is a rectangular shawl.

SIZE: Depend entirely on your preference – can be narrow and long, wide and long, narrow and short, etc.  

SKILL REQUIRED:  Beginner for garter stitch rectangle.  Advanced beginner for diagonal scarf.


YARN:  Any yarn you want – from simple wools to handpainted and novelty wools, silks, cottons, rayons, acrylics, and novelties.  You can carry 2 or more strands of yarn, too, such as a thin “carry-along” strand of furry, sequined, or metallic tread.  You can make scarves out of a single yarn throughout or using lots of different kinds in it.

NEEDLES:  Always a larger size than you would choose for a stockinette stitch sweater – so the scarf/shawl will drape well.

MISCELLANEOUS:  Darning needle.  Optionally – you might like to thread beads on the yarn (make sure the holes are big enough for the yarn to fit through).

GAUGE:  Usually the first 10 or so rows of the scarf/shawl works great as a gauge swatch – if you don’t like the feel (hand) of the fabric or the width, just rip it out and start again with a different needle size (larger size if you want the scarf looser or smaller size if you want the scarf denser) or, for rectangular scarves/stoles such as in this pattern, you can change the number of stitches (more stitches if you want the project wider or fewer if you want the scarf narrower).



CO 15-40 sts, depending on how wide you want the scarf to be.  Much more if you want a wide stole.

Every Row:  K across, turn.  Work to desired length.  BO loosely in K, using a larger sized ndl if necessary.

EXAMPLE SHOWN IN PHOTO – 1 skein of Lion Brand Fun Fur with 15 sts on US Size 10-11 needles (6 -8 mm), makes a scarf about 3.5 x 47 inches (9 x 120 cm).


VARIATIONS?  Try slipping the first st of each row as if to P with yarn in front, then move yarn to back between the ndl tips and K to end; this creates a lovely chain-of-hearts up the side edge of the scarf.  Try using 2 colors of yarn – work 2 rows with one color, then 2 rows with the second color, always carrying the unused yarn up the side of the scarf.  Try working a simple lacy pattern in garter stitch.  Add a knotted fringe to the ends.


CO 30 sts or more, depending on how wide you want the scarf to be

Row 1:  K across.

Row 2:  K in front & back of first st, K across.  1 more st than previous row.

Row 3:  K2tog, K across.

Rpt Rows 2-3 for desired length, then BO in K.  If desired, use 2 colors, changing at the beginning of Row 2 (do not cut yarn, just carry it up the side of the work.

EXAMPLE SHOWN IN PHOTO – I skein of Fiesta LaBoheme divided into its 2 separate strands and knitted on 30 sts on US Size 10 needles (6 mm), creates a scarf about 7 x 104 inches (18 x 265 cm).

VARIATIONS?   Work all in one color with beads.  Work in a very simple lacy pattern in garter stitch.  Combine shaping sts within the rows to create chevron patterns, zig zags, etc.  Add tassels to the 2 points.

FINISHING FOR ALL SCARVES:  Weave in ends and block if desired – this is especially important if the yarn is very fine and/or if the work is very lacy.


BObind off
COcast on
K2togknit 2 together
SKPslip 1 as if to K, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over

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