Stay-at-Home Auxiliary Scarf, Day 14 (and counting): Two Approaches to Finishing.

There are two* ways to finish the Stay-at-Home Auxiliary Scarf: with a knitted border, which was the original idea but will definitely take some stitch management, or with i-cord, which might be easier, given the length of the edges of the 14-square scarf.

For the knitted border, you’ll need the longest circular needle available (I used a 48”/120cm needle, and it was tough going); for the i-cord, two DPNs are recommended.

*Or two ways I am going into, I guess.


I-cord worked over 5 sts.

The I-cord border can be worked over 3 or 5 sts, depending on your preference. Two double pointed needles (in size used for overall gauge) will make it easier, but this can also be done with a circular, if you can’t find your DPNs and are only doing a few rounds to show how the technique should work. This is a weird, unlikely scenario, though, in no way related to the photos. (The sentence preceding this one is not sincere. I could not find my DPNs. I did the thing I am talking about.)

When finishing the 14th square, do not bind off.
This will leave you with 3 live sts.

Switch to DPNs.

(For the 5 st version only: flip to the WS, and, using the cable cast-on method, add 2 sts.)

Work attached I-cord border:
*slide sts to working end of the needle.
k2(4), slip last st as if to knit, pick up 1 st from next selvedge.
k last st tog with picked-up st, as if working a ssk.*

Repeat ** until i-cord edging has been applied all the way around. On the corners, you can pick up 2 sts in the same selvedge or cast-on bump, but other than that, pick up 1 st per selvedge.

Finish i-cord by weaving the live sts together with the first sts, as if working Kitchener st.

Weave in ends, block, and you’re done!

Knit Border.
(This version was the original, but it can be genuinely tricky to keep >902 sts on a long circular needle. Putting the project down can result in mild heartbreak and dozens of stitches popping off; there is a palpable risk of breaking a wooden needle. Mine held up, but it was a close thing for a while.)

Finish the 14th square according to the line instructions. You’ll be left with 1 live stitch on the needle.

Pick Up Sts.
With the RS facing up, working right to left, pick up 30 sts per each mitered square, for a total of about 420 sts. (See Note, below.)
Turn work 90 degrees. Pick up ~31 sts along this side. Place a removable marker on the first and 31st sts.
Turn work 90 degrees. Pick up ~420 sts along the side.
Turn work 90 degrees. Pick up ~30 sts along this side. Place a removable marker on the first st, and on the live stitch from the bindoff.

There will be about 902 sts.

Note: the exact number of stitches, especially on the long edges, isn’t too important; the instructions that follow will still be functional if the stitch counts are slightly off.

Work continues from here in the round.

Begin Work.
Round 1. [k1, p to next marked st] around.
Round 2. [k1, m1l, k to next marked st, m1r] around (8 sts inc) 910 sts total.

Repeat Rounds 1 & 2 two more times. (926 sts total)
End with a repeat of Round 2.
Bind off using the basic method. Break yarn, weave in ends, and block!

Mine isn’t blocked yet. It turned out way better than I’d hoped, though, and I hate to admit it, but 14 squares looks about ideal for a scarf.
knitting · photo posts · stay-at-home auxiliary

Definitely too many stitches.

There are going to two ways to work the finishing/border on the Stay-at-Home Auxiliary Scarf, because if you do all 14 squares and pick up stitches to knit the border the way I had planned it, you are going to have something like 902 sts crammed on a 48”-60” needle, and that is not the most fun knitting I have ever done. (I’m doing it, because it is wrong to tell people it could be done without trying it and finding out how potentially frustrating it really is, but I think the alternate method also looks nice, and you probably don’t have to be painstakingly careful about how you set the knitting down to keep 20+ sts from coming off the needle just because there is No Room.)

The first step for this project went out on April 2, so the official end date, if you’ve been doing a square a day, would be April 15th or 16th, depending on how you approach it (is the border part of Day 14, or something you do the day after?). The finishing step should be live within the next couple of days, so please watch this space. Take care!

knitting · photo posts · tutorial

Stay-at-Home Auxiliary Scarf: Day Two

Work continues where it left off on Day 1.

This entry is photo-heavy! Essentially, the steps are simple: with the WS facing you (and the tail from the cast-on edge on the lower righthand corner), pick up 31 sts from the RS along the selvedge sts. Once that’s done, flip the work again so it’s RS up, and add 30 sts using the cable cast-on, for a total of 61 sts. Work continues from there with a repeat of the mitered square instructions from Day 1. But this may not be intuitive at first, so we’re going the photo tutorial route.

Work Continues: Attached Mitered Squares (Make 13).

The previous step ended with a bound-off mitered square. One st is live on the needle, with the working yarn attached. The RS (right side) should look similar to the sample in the photo below.

Now turn the work so that the WS is facing up. Leave the live st on the needle, and continue not breaking the working yarn. (Note the angle of the decrease spine. For the first square, the cast-on tail will also be in the lower right corner; for the rest of the attached squares, the scarf will trail out from the lower edge, so it will be a little more obvious how to orient each new square.)

Using the working yarn, pick up 30 sts at the rate of 1 st per selvedge. Sts are picked up from the RS, with the WS facing you. With the loop left on the needle from the bind-off, you’ll have 31 sts total.

For the sample shown, I picked up sts from only the back leg of each selvedge st, to create a pronounced faux seam. You can pick sts up from both loops/legs or just one.

After picking up sts until you have 31 sts, turn work RS up again. It should look similar to the photo below.

Starting between the last two sts, CO 30 sts using the cable cast-on method, for a new total of 61 sts.

(I am working a few days ahead, so there’s more scarf in the photo than there should be at this point, but other than that, work should look similar to the photo below.)

Once all 61 sts are established, repeat Rows 1-5 from Day 1. (They’re reproduced below, so you don’t have to click back.)

Row 1 (RS). sl1, k remaining. 
Row 2. sl1, k29, p1, k to end of row. 
Placing a removable stitch marker on the purled middle stitch is optional. The purled stitch is referred to later as the middle stitch. 
Row 3. sl1, k to 1 before middle st, s2kpo, k to end of row (2 sts dec) 59 sts remain. 
Row 4. sl1, k to middle st, p middle st, k to end of row. 

Repeat Rows 3 & 4 until 5 sts remain, ending with a Row 4 repeat. 

Row 5 (Bind Off). sl1, s2kpo, slip previous st over, k1, slip previous st over. 
Do not break yarn. 
Leave last st on needle.

For squares 2-14, go back to the beginning and repeat this section.

knitting · photo posts · stay-at-home auxiliary

The Stay-at-Home Auxiliary’s Mitered Square Scarf

So, there’s a pandemic going on, and it is so far beyond my pay grade that I essentially have very little ability to even acknowledge it here. It’s hard to be flippant about it, and there is no solemn official stance to take with knitting patterns. (We’re doing everything we can to reduce risk by changing nothing! Enjoy instant curbside e-delivery of all .PDFs! If you go and stand by a curb, I guess!) Personally, I am having a lot of angst and not focusing very well, but that only bears mentioning because it means I am pretty much entirely off doing the type of small domestic things that theoretically ought to alleviate some of the psychological pressure. It makes it ridiculously hard to knit a thing, and describe knitting a thing in an effective way.

I had the idea for this scarf a while ago, but have generally been succumbing to morale problems and not working fast, so I’ve decided to launch it early as a very casual knitalong with no accountability, before my sample is done. It could be worthwhile; it could be an amazing trainwreck. But I think I’m at a sort of now or never point with it.

  • It’s not done yet. I was working on a different design with similar elements, but there is no final photo. It’s a MysTeRy KnItAlOnG. (It isn’t. Those are usually well-planned from what I understand.)
  • It’s made up of little (well, big, for mitered squares) mitered squares.
  • It’s a scarf. It ends up being a pretty long scarf. I am working without a measuring tape, bro. But I did the math.
  • Oh no

So with that being said, please join the Stay-at-Home Auxiliary‘s Campaign to Not Destroy All Humans, and enjoy this free pattern for a scarf!

The Stay-at-Home Auxiliary Mitered Square Scarf will consist primarily of 14 large mitered squares, knit together as you go, to minimize loose yarn-ends as much as possible. Gather up your DK scraps and partial skeins, don’t go out,* and knit a square a day to count off two weeks. Or knit the whole scarf, relentlessly, all in one or two sittings. I am not really here to tell you how to knit. I mean, I am here to tell you how to knit a scarf, but not how to knit while you knit it.

This pattern is offered as a free, serialized pattern to help pass the time while we’re all avoiding each other because of how we like each other.

(It won’t be a very complicated mystery knitalong. There are really only three parts.)

*You could also order in from your LYS, in order to support small yarn shops, while observing all precautions. But scraps are good, and that’s what I’ll be using for this very informal knitalong. I think they originally came from The Loopy Ewe in Colorado, which I kind of regard as my foster LYS, because they’re not really local to me, but they are kind of, if you feel like you have a pretty big range under ideal conditions.

Fun Horrible Fact: as mentioned above, I’ve also never done anything with mitered squares before, and I’m launching this as a knitalong, in stages, before my project is completely done—so this really does have an entertaining potential to really go badly wrong. (As of this writing, I’m working a few days ahead.)

Gauge is not too important for this project, but will affect total yardage and the dimensions of the project. Gauge shown is 20 sts and 44 rows in unblocked garter stitch, using light DK/sportweight yarn. A dense gauge gives the squares a nicer shape—in theory.

Yardage estimate: about 600+ yards of DK yarn. Please note that this is a very broad estimate! Scraps are fine; full skeins are fine if you’ve got them on hand. I’ll be knitting mostly DK, but worsted weight is also fine; it might result in a slightly bigger scarf.

(Estimated) Measurements: a pretty broad estimate, again. Ideally, the squares as shown, knit in light DK/sport, will end up being about 6.5” X 6.5”/16.5cm X 16.5cm. This results in a scarf that’s 91”/2.31m (oh no) long before working the border. Borders should/will be about 1-2”/2.5-5cm wide, so the totals should be around 93”/2.3m long by 8.5”/21.6cm wide. This is a pretty massive scarf, so feel free to cut a couple of squares, though obviously it won’t give you 14 days at a square a day if you do not knit 14.


  • For the sample shown: 
  • 600+ yds light DK/sportweight yarn 
  • 1 40-60” circular needle in US4-5/3.5.5-3.75mm, or size needed for  gauge. (You can also work on a shorter needle—16” circular, straights, or even long DPNs, if you’re careful—and this may be a lot more comfortable in fact, but a long circular will be required for the last part of the pattern.)
  • tapestry needle, for weaving in ends

Please note: if this scarf is approached as an any-yarn project, then yardage and needle sizes required will vary; choose needles the work with your choice of yarn.

LH/RH—left hand, right hand
RS/WS—right side, wrongside
s2kpo—slip two, knit 1, pass slipped sts over, a centered 2-st decrease
sl1–slip 1
st/s—stitch, stitches

So that’s Day 0: gauge, measurement estimates, yardage estimates, and materials. The next update should be on Wednesday or Thursday, with the first instructions. I will apparently be writing these with a 70-pound poodle trying to be on my lap because he’s upset by changed schedules. Not much of him fits.