Mastodon Leftover Laceweight Fern Lace Scarf —

Leftover Laceweight Fern Lace Scarf

Updated October 17 2008 with better edging instructions!

I had about 38 grams of a 50-gram skein of Knitpicks’ Shadow merino laceweight leftover from my sister’s Print o’ the Wave stole, and I wanted to whip up a bit of lace to enter in our fair this summer. So I planned out an easy little lace scarf. I knit the edging on the long sides as I went along, so I was able to use up almost all the yarn and then just save a little for the edging on the two short sides.


Yarn: any leftover laceweight, 30 grams or more (less is fine but will make a rather short scarf)
Needles: your favorite lace needles. I used Knitpicks Harmony circs size 2, but I am a notoriously loose knitter, and I think it would have looked better if I’d used bigger needles anyway. You’ll probably want size 3 to 5, or even larger if you knit very tightly. Larger needles = longer/wider scarf.
Finished Dimensions: Mine turned out to be about 9 1/2″ x 52″ after blocking. Yours will surely vary somewhat!

Ok, think of this scarf as being made of several columns. The right-side edging is the first column, then a 2-stitch always-purl garter column, then a fern-lace column worked over 16 stitches, then another 2-stitch column of garter, then another fern-lace column, then another garter column, then the left edging. If you want a wider scarf or a stole and you have plenty of yarn, you can work more fern lace columns separated by garter columns. If you want skinny, just work one repeat of the fern lace (just like the chart).

Wrong sides: always knit the wrong side of the edging, always purl the wrong side of the fern lace and garter columns. I’ll say this again later on so you don’t forget.

Start by casting on using your favorite provisional cast-on. I prefer this one.

You’ll need 4 st for the right edging, 2 for the first garter column, 16 for one fern repeat, 2 for the garter column between fern repeats, another 16 for the second fern repeat, 2 more for the last garter column, and then 4 for the left edging. Which makes, um, 46. Yes, cast on 46! Place ring markers between every column so there’s never any doubt what’s what and where you are. Seriously. I don’t usually have to do that, but I messed up a lot until I gave in and placed markers.

Now begin following the chart. Chart shows only odd-numbered right side rows (if I’d remembered to write the numbers in they’d be 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) Go ahead and write them in :) For even-numbered, wrong-side rows, KNIT the edging stitches and PURL all the other stitches.

(D’OH. I forgot a symbol key. Circle = YO. Dot = purl. Right edging dec: ssk. Left edging dec: k2tog. Right side of fern lace dec: k3tog. Left side of fern lace dec: sl1, k2tog, psso) (Another note: the edging is an 8-row repeat. The fern lace is a 12-row repeat. The chart shows 24 rows so the two patterns work out even.)(Chart shows only odd-numbered, right-side rows)

Casting off for pointy edging:
When you complete the 7th row, you’ll have 8 edging stitches on each side. On the 8th (wrong-side) row, cast off the first 4 stitches so you only have 4 stitches remaining before the first marker. Work across. When you turn to begin the 9th row, immediately cast off 4 stitches (4 stitches remain before first marker) — then follow chart for row 9 (k1, yo, ssk, yo, k1).

Ok, so keep working until you’re nearly out of yarn. End after having cast off the edge stitches so there are 4 stitches remaining on each side next to the purl columns (you might have to fudge this a bit). I put my working stitches on a string after a while and worked the edging across the cast-on stitches using the other end of the yarn, and then I knew I really only needed a little bit left for the last short edging.

To work the short-end edgings:

If you’ve ever knit an edging onto a piece of lace, you know what to do. If you haven’t, well, I’ll do my best to explain :)

Hold the scarf right-side facing you, and cast-on edge up. Slide a needle through 6 cast-on loops from left to right – 4 loops for the edging and 2 loops for the garter column. The tip of the needle will be pointing toward the rest of the cast-on loops. Ok. Now, slide the other end of your circular needle through the rest of the loops from right to left.


Start working from the point between the needles, toward the left . You’ll be working the garter column and edging according to the left side of the chart. Always SLIP the first stitch of EVERY RIGHT SIDE row. So, for the first row: sl1, p1(place marker here to divide edging from garter column), k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1. Turn, work wrong-side row: K5, slip marker, p1 — NOW ssk the last st together with the first stitch from the other needle. Drop the right-most loop of the ssk’d stitch but leave the left-most loop on the needle, and use it next time to help the corner lie flat.


Turn, work next RS row from chart: sl1, p1, slip marker, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.
Turn, work next WS row: k6, slip marker, p1, ssk with the stitch you didn’t drop last time to help the corner lie flat. Drop the whole ssk’d stitch this time.

Next RS row: sl1, p1, slip marker, k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k1. Turn. WS row: k7, slip marker, p1, ssk (drop only right loop of ssk’d stitch again, and save left loop for the next ssk)
RS row: sl1, p1, slip marker, k4, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, turn.
WS row: this is the 8th row, the one where you cast off four stitches to create a point. CO 4, k4 (make sure you have only 4 loops left before marker), slip marker, p1, ssk with leftover loop of last ssk.



Keep working edging and purl column, decreasing away stitches from the original cast-on stitches on every wrong side row (don’t double up ssks anymore) until there are only 8 cast-on stitches left. (Better put a marker 8 stitches in from the other side so you remember that that’s the time to double up your ssks again (ask me how I know that you’ll forget otherwise… )

For the last repeat, double up the decreases again so the corner lies flat. That will eat up two of the last 8 stitches.

Then when you’re all done, weave the 6 remaining cast-on stitches together with the 6 working stitches. Voila!



Do the same thing with the live stitches at the other end of the scarf.

Gently wash and block your scarf. Enjoy!


UPDATE (July 8 2008): At our County Fair this year, my scarf won first prize and a special donated award — a $50 gift certificate to a local yarn store, Common Threads, in Encinitas.


Here’s Marlene‘s scarf:

marlene’s scarf

Category: Blog, Free Patterns, Handmade 54 comments »

54 Responses to “Leftover Laceweight Fern Lace Scarf”

  1. Amy

    I am BEYOND excited about this pattern, Kara!! Can’t wait to cast on!! :)

  2. kara

    Wow, awesome, I can’t wait to see how it turns out, Amy! I can’t believe the nice reception this pattern is getting over at ravelry, too. It’s in 13 queues already!

  3. Beverly

    Kara, what is the finished size of yours? Just for reference . . .

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. kara

    Oh yes, mine turned out about 9 1/2″ x 52″ . I’ll add that info to the pattern!

  5. ldsvenus

    Love the design. I do have one question. Is it in a written out form? I am unable to knit from charts but would love to do this scarf from some hand spun.

  6. kara

    Idsvenus — so sorry, I don’t have it written out. I’m a chart girl, and it makes me feel slightly ill to think of writing out all that lace… but if someone out there would like to translate it for you, I’ll be glad to post the translation.

  7. Angie

    Wow! I’ve never posted a comment before, but this scarf is amazing! I went and dug up some KP Alpaca Cloud I had, and am ready to cast on. This scarf is going to be popular! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  8. Guro

    Thanks for sharing this pattern. It’s really beautiful and just right for a ball of some fuzzy Chrystal Palace yarn that I’ve tried to make something of for ages. It’s in my queue on Ravelry and will be cast on soon!

  9. Joye

    thanks for sharing and I know you’ll get the blue ribbon with this beauty.

  10. Christine

    Wow, Kara! a woman after my own heart!!! she writes out her charted patterns by hand!! (vs. puter) I have so many of those around…have to chart out everything, as I hate reading the pattern and knitting.

    Quite gorgeous and amazing to get so much out of so little yarn. On the way to cast on (eventually)…..I will definitely send you a photo if I ever get to a point that’s photographable.

  11. kara

    Heheh yeah I have a three-ring binder stuffed with odd little charts :) I’ve tried a few methods of charting by computer but it’s always more trouble than it’s worth. Good luck with the scarf, and I’d love to see photos when it’s done!

    (And, yes, I won a blue ribbon plus a special donated prize from a local yarn store — a $50 gift certificate!)

  12. Louise

    Have been looking for a lace pattern to make something for my eldest daughter, since she seems a wee bit jealous of the lace shawls I’ve made in the past year. Who’da thunk my beautiful, funky, slightly twisted (in a great way) 21 yo would want something feminine like that?? *LOL* Anyway, love this pattern and thinking I’d like to try making it in a heavier fiber…instead of a scarf, turn it into a wrap? Hope it will work!!

  13. kara

    Sure, and you could add a few more repeats of the fern pattern to make it the right width! I’d love to see photos when you’re done :)

  14. Louise

    Thanks Kara…will share photos when it’s done! I may just make one for myself too!! *LOL*

  15. Dana Murray

    I hate to appear so stupid but I cannot knit by graph. I tried to write out the instructions but am doing something wrong. Can you help me with the written instructions. I love your scarf and would love to make one.

    Thank you in advance


  16. kara

    Hi Dana, if you want to email me what you wrote out, maybe I can compare it to my chart and see if I can help you. kara at nyip dot net.

  17. Marlene

    This is a gorgeous pattern, thanks so much for sharing! I want to make something special for a really dear friend for Christmas, I want her to have something beautiful and this is it! We don’t normally exchange gifts, but at our age (both over 70) I think she deserves it!

  18. kara

    Wonderful, Marlene, I’d love to see pictures when you’re done!

  19. Laura

    I’ve got this all done, but am completely baffled as to your directions about the pointy bits on the ends. Any clarification available? this is only my second lace project, but I’d like the ends to “work”. Thanks!

  20. kara

    Laura, I just re-read my short-end edging instructions and I really don’t know how to make it any clearer. If you just try it, I’ll bet it will suddenly make sense. And if it turns out funny, you can rip back that bit and try again — it’s not much knitting, so you can be brave about just jumping in!

  21. Ginger

    Kara, I am just attempting to knit lace and also trying to learn to read charts. Please tell me if the first stitch on row 5 and above of the fern pattern is knit 2 tog or 3 tog. I am so excited about your beautiful pattern and can’t wait to see the finished product. Many thanks.

  22. kara

    Hi Ginger! The fern pattern starts with a k3tog and ends with a ssk. I described it a little bit in the text right below the chart: “Right side of fern lace dec: k3tog. ” Not as good as a symbol key, though :) Have fun!

  23. Ginger

    Hi Kara, I’m afraid I’m having the same trouble as Laura. I really don’t understand how to handle the scarf ends. I didn’t know how to initially do the provisional cast on so I ran a “lifeline” instead. I have picked up all of those stitches (right side facing me) on a circular needle leaving the lifeline in place. Do I knit those picked up stitches across and then do a cable cast on of the six stitches or what? I spent all day yesterday knitting and ripping because what I did didn’t come out like yours. I ended up with too much space between the new end point and the side point. I understand the concept but am doing something (or not doing something) correctly. This is truly an incredibly gorgeous pattern and I really wish to do it justice by finishing well. Many thanks for sharing this lovely pattern and for any additional help you can give. Sincerely, Ginger

  24. kara

    Ginger, you need to pick up 6 of your cast-on stitches on your left needle (4 edging and 2 garter), the put the rest on the right needle, so the tips are facing each other and you’re ready to knit.

    Your knitting will just continue the edging bit around the corner and across the end of the scarf, until you round the last corner and weave the last 6 remaining cast-on stitches together with the six live stitches on your needle.

    Hope this helps, but it probably doesn’t.

    I suppose I’d really better whip up a demo, eh? :) Stay tuned…

  25. kara

    Ok, folks, I have updated the edging instructions with lots of photos and, I hope, better written instructions. please let me know if this helps or if something is still unclear :)

  26. Victor

    I personally prefer charts as well, but some people not!

    Will this help?

    YO. Dot = purl.
    Right edging dec: ssk.
    Left edging dec: k2tog.
    Right side of fern lace dec: k3tog.
    Left side of fern lace dec: sl1, k2tog, psso

    Includes edges and garter colums

    For even-numbered, wrong-side rows, KNIT the edging stitches and PURL all the other stitches.

    1st rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k1, p2, * k 9, yo, k1, yo, k3, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    3rd rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2, p2, * k 10, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    5th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k3, p2, * k3tog, k4, yo, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k1, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    7th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k4, p2, * k3tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k9, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDD times, p2, k4, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    8th rnd: BO 4 sts, continue as indicated for even rows.

    9th rnd, BO 4 sts, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k1, p2, * k3tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k10, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDD times, p2, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    11th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2, p2, * k3tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k4, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    13th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k3, p2, * k 9, yo, k1, yo, k3, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    15th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k4, p2, * k 10, yo, k1, yo, k2, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k4, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    16th rnd: BO 4 sts, continue as indicated for even rows.

    17th rnd: BO 4 sts, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k1, p2, * k3tog, k4, yo, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k1, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k1, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    19th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2, p2, * k3tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k9, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDD times, p2, k2, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    21st rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k3, p2, * k3tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k10, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDD times, p2, k3, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    23th rnd: k1, yo, ssk, yo, k4, p2, * k3tog, k1, yo, k1, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k4, sl1, k2tog, psso; repeat from * NEEDED times, p2, k4, yo, k2tog, yo, k1.

    24th rnd: BO 4 sts, continue as indicated for even rows.

    Repeat this 24 rows.
    At beginning of 25 row, BO 4 sts, continue SAME as 1st row.

  27. Marlene Dufresne

    I’ve finished and blocked the scarf for my friend’s birthday – it turned out beautifully thanks to your lovely pattern. I made it in Elann Peruvian Baby Silk, 80% baby alpaca, 20% silk, on my brand new Addi Lace circs. I’d love to send you a picture, I just don’t know how to add it here – maybe you could let me know if you have a minute. Meanwhile I’ll post it on my blog.

    I want to thank you for one thing, tho…..thanks for getting me back to reading charts once again!

  28. kara

    Hi Marlene, I’m glad you had such great success with your scarf. I’ve grabbed the photo from your blog and put it at the end of this post! It *is* beautiful! What a luscious color. Thanks for posting, and feel free to link back to this post from your blog so others can find the pattern :)

  29. Tess

    I’m definitely going to knit this as a stole, but I’d also love to figure out how to adapt its slightly spiky goodness into a circle shawl. I’m pretty new to any knitting more complicated than ribbed scarves but I’m a quick study and very very stubborn! Also, I love your handwritten chart – I have scrawled let’s-try-this-out chart bits on tons of scraps of paper at this point. Very useful for experimenting with different lace ideas.

    I feel like this chart should adapt pretty well – your center fern panel can become three of them, separated by garter spines. I just need to sort out how to increase the ferns appropriately. Does that make sense? I welcome help from anyone better at this than I am. :)

  30. kara

    Great idea, Tess! Let me know how it goes!

  31. Shirley Sonneman

    Hello Kara,
    I have just come across your beautiful scarf. I am looking for a scarf to knit for my modern, just turned 17 years old grand-daughter. This scarf is beautiful but I cannot quite understand the directions, maybe its because I live in Aussie and I am an Australian. Is there any chance of getting an easier versioned pattern of this scarf. I really want to knit it. I also love Marlene’s pattern.

    Kind regards,

  32. Anne Tebo

    I’ve been drooling over this scarf for quite some time, so I’m going to make it with Cascade Baby Alpaca Lace. Although southeastern Arizona doesn’t scream for scarves, I’m addicted to knitting lace…go figure. Your chart and directions are wonderful! Thank you for sharing.
    Anne in Arizona

  33. LDSVenus

    Victor, thank you so much for the translation. I’m getting ready to spin up some baby alpaca roving and I think it will make a beautiful scarf!!! :)

  34. Jenny Tim

    What a gorgeous scarf! I’ve been looking for a lacy scarf pattern and this is just awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  35. Ginger

    Hi Kara,

    You might remember me from about a year ago when you so very kindly rewrote your pattern and made so many pictures that cleared up all of my questions and allowed me to finish my beautiful scarves (plus benefited so many others).

    I am thinking about using your beautiful pattern for placemats. Have you ever done this? What kind of yarn would you suggest?

    I look forward to hearing from you.


    Ginger Hopp
    Marietta, GA

  36. kara

    Hi Ginger,

    That sounds like a good idea. I’d use a washable cotton, like that cheap dishcloth cotton they sell at every craft store, and a firm gauge. Let me know how it goes!

  37. Karen Kirstein

    I just finished a scarf that I adapted from your pattern, but since I was using a slightly heavier yarn, I had to change the center panel a bit, but used the edging. Oddly it is blocking to 9.5″ by 57″. I just had the one skein of rayon yarn, and wanted to use it all. I have taken a photo and will try and send it tom. Thank you for the inspiration!

  38. kara

    Hi Karen, I look forward to seeing that photo. :)

  39. Vikky

    thanks I spun some silk that I dyed in Easter Egg dye and I used a light drop spindle. It is extremely light and fine. the green is mutted and varies just a bit. I get rave reviews. Your pattern was perfect for the small amount I had. thanks for sharing it.

  40. Stephanie

    I really need help understanding with the short-end edgings.

    I did the 1st row (right side) just fine and part of 2nd row (wrong side) K5, slip marker, P1. I don’t understand the ssk method for the rest of row 2.

    You wrote “NOW ssk the last st together with the first stitch from the other needle. Drop the right-most loop of the ssk’d stitch but leave the left-most loop on the needle, and use it next time to help the corner lie flat.”

    Is the “last stitch” the P1 I just did on the right needle, and is the “first stitch from the other needle” the stitch on the left needle? How do you go about ssk those? What do you mean by dropping the loops of a ssk’d stitch? I have never heard of such a method.

  41. Julie

    Hi Kara!

    This scarf pattern is absolutely gorgeous! I am one of the editors of AllFreeKnitting and would love to feature it on my site with full credit to you. Please contact me if you are interested in more information!

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

  42. kara

    Hi Julie, sure, no problem :)

  43. Ginger

    Kara, I was so pleased to get your e-mail regarding the interest shown in your beautiful fern lace scarf by the knitting publisher. Your generous and patient help started me on a hobby which I have enjoyed for the last 6 years. You are a very talented lady. Thanks for sharing!



  44. Nancy

    In the chart the ‘sl1, k2tog, psso, are not indicated unless I am missing something.
    Rows 7, 9, 19, & 21 do not have “sl1, k2tog, psso,”
    All the other rows have “yo, k1, yo, k1, sl1, k2tog, psso”.
    Row 7 indicates ‘k9’
    Row 9 ” ” ‘k10’
    Row 19 ” ” ‘k9’
    Row 21 ” ” ‘k10’
    Could you please clarify as I am not adept at reading charts.
    Thank you,

  45. kara

    The symbol for “sl1, k2tog, psso” is the little christmas-tree looking thing on the left edge of the fern lace section of the chart.

  46. Annette


    THANK YOU so much for posting this scarf as a free download. I started knitting again after 6 year hiatus (and last time I only knitted basic stitch scarves). I was in a bad car accident and couldn’t do anything but sit around so I picked up knitting again. I Refreshed my skills on basic stitches by knitting 6-7 scarves for friends. I was getting bored and wanted to conquer lace stitiching. My last 4 scarves have been lace scarves. I LOVE yours bc of the elegant border and ends. I want to thank victor for writing the pattern out…I am not chart ready at this time, yet I do know how to pick up and knit borders and I just taught myself provisional cast on using a crochet hook. I hope Victors written out stitches are correct and I hope I can complete the ends properly. Sad thing is that I am using up a lace wieght (size 2 recommended needle)wool/silk yarn (about 80 grams left) that is black, and I am going to try it on #5. THANKS AGAIN KARA and VICTOR

  47. Andrea

    Kara, I get sooooooooooooo many compliments on this scarf! I recycled some off-white soft yarn from a cashmere sweater – a technique I learned & used working in a woman’s shelter in Mexico – & used that yarn in your BEAUTIFUL scarf pattern. It is STUNNING! Thank you for posting this – sorry to be so late posting, as I’ve enjoyed my scarf for about 5 years now :-)

  48. kara

    Wow, thanks for letting me know! Also, I’m impressed that you’ve used a scarf for 5 years without losing it! Hahaha!

  49. Deborah

    I started this scarf the other day and have taken it apart two times already. I for some reason cannot get the points to look like the picture. I know mine isn’t blocked yet but when I try to faux block it they look horrible.
    My wuestion is…which bind off method did you use?

  50. kara

    Hi Deborah,

    The points aren’t bound off. They’re always at the side of the knitting. I know that probably doesn’t help, but if you’re binding off the points you’re doing something funky!

    Are you remembering to knit the wrong-side rows plain? The chart only shows right-side rows.

  51. Deborah

    yes I am knitting both sides. Am I missing something because I believe you have to bind off 4 stitches on rows 8,9,16, 17, 24,, and the first row of each new pattern start

  52. kara

    I’m sorry! You’re so right. I knit this scarf nine years ago and I forgot about that :)

    It’s just a normal bind-off. You know, knit two stitches, lift the first over the second and drop it. Knit another, lift and drop the previous one. Make sure you don’t knit them too tightly.

  53. Sarah Gamble

    any chance of getting this pattern as a word doc or a pdf? its really lovely (as seen on ravelry) but none of the photos or diagrams appear on your website… would be most grateful if you could email me a copy…
    cheers! sarah

  54. Kay Johnston

    there are NO (that’s right, none) charts for this pattern; All the links go to a yarn website

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