Bow Tie Keyhole Knitted Scarf (For Kids Too!)

My favorite knitting pattern for a scarf has always been my bow tie knitted scarf with the keyhole opening. This ascot style of scarf is much less bulky than traditional scarves, you don’t have to worry about knotting the scarf to keep it on, and they do a great job of keeping your neck warm. In my opinion, they are the perfect little scarves!

However since I first shared this scarf knitting pattern a few years ago, (click here to read the original scarf post), I’ve gotten several requests for this same type of bow tie scarf in smaller sizes for children. All the things that make this a great scarf for adults (not bulky, lays flat and stays tied without knotting it, and warmth), are the same things that would make this a handy little knitted scarf for kids too.

knit bow tie scarf in a child's size

So I finally got to work and came up with two new size adjustments for this bow tie keyhole knitted scarf so that we can make them in smaller versions for kids as well. The smallest size will fit children approximately ages 3 to 7, the medium size will fit children approximately ages 8 to 12, and the largest size (my original pattern) will fit teens and adults. You can now knit these scarves for the whole family!

Hand Knit Bow Tie Scarf in adult and child sizes

This pattern is an oldie but a goodie that’s been around in some form or another for many years. It’s knitted in one long piece, with each end having a leaf-shaped pointed end that fits through the opening (or the keyhole) above it when it’s wrapped around your neck. I knit my scarves with a keyhole opening at each end so that no matter which end you grab you can push it through when you put it on.

The strategy for knitting the keyhole openings is to divide the stitches on the needle, knitting one stitch, and then slipping the next stitch onto a needle to hold them for later, as you work across the row. Each side then gets knit in ribbing, and the two sides are joined together again to complete the keyhole.

And even little kids seems to be able to push the leaf-shaped end of the scarf through the keyhole and put the scarf on themselves.

Homemade knit scarf in a child's size

So whether you’re young or old, this quick little homemade scarf will give you just the right amount of warmth around your neck while still being small enough that you almost forget you’re wearing it. Put one on, go outside and enjoy!

See more of my knitting patterns here – – > Make Your Own Zone Free Knitting Patterns

Homemade knit scarf on an adult and a child

Bow Tie Keyhole Knitted Scarf (with sizes for kids too)

This handy little scarf is just the right size to fit around your neck and gives you added warmth without any bulkiness.
Gauge: 4 sts = 1"
Knitting Abbreviations:
K = Knit
K2 Tog = Knit two together
Inc = Knit into the front and back of the stitch to increase
Pattern is written for Small Child size ages 3 to 7 with adjustments for (Medium child ages 8 to 12, and Large ages Teen/Adult).
Author: Beverly


  • US Size 6 straight knitting needles
  • Stitch Holder or Double Pointed (DP) Needle
  • Medium weight (4) yarn (about 1 oz for small, 2 oz for medium, and 3 oz for large)


  • First Leaf Shaped Point:
    Cast on 2 stitches.
    1st Row: Inc in first stitch, K next stitch
    2nd Row: Inc in first stitch, K to end of row.
    Repeat this row until there are 14 (18, 22) stitches.
    Work even in garter stitch (knit every row) for 18 (20, 24) rows or until total length of point is 3.5" (4.25", 5").
  • Loop Opening:
    1st Row: *K1, slip next stitch to a DP needle or holder, repeat from * across. There will be 7 (9, 11) stitches on needle and 7 (9, 11) stitches being held to be worked later.
    2nd Row: P1, *K1, P1 Repeat from * across
    3rd Row: K1, *P1, K1 Repeat from * across
    Repeat these last two rows alternately until 13 (15, 17) rows have been completed. Place these stitches on another DP needle or holder and break yarn.
    Attach yarn by stitches being held on first DP needle. Knit 1 row.
    Then work ribbing as before for 13 (15, 17) rows.
    Next row: * K1 from stitches being held on DP needle, K1 from stitches being worked. Repeat from * across. 14 (18, 22) stitches are back on the needle and the first loop opening has been made.
  • Middle of Scarf:
    Continue to work in garter stitch (knit every row) until the middle of the scarf (after the loop opening) measures 11" (12.5", 14")
  • Finish:
    Work second loop as before.
    To make second point, work in garter stitch for 18 (20, 24) rows or for approximately 2" (2.25", 2.75").
    Next Row: K1, K2 tog, K across remaining stitches
    Repeat this row until 2 stitches remain.
    Bind off. Weave in any yarn ends.

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  1. Thank you for this pattern, Beverley. There appears to be a discrepancy in measurement for the total length of the first and second leaf shaped points i.e. 18 (20, 24) rows or (1) until…point is 3.5” (4.25”, 5”) / (2) ‘…or for approximately 2” (2.25”, 2.75”). Please can you confirm the correct measurement for both points. I mistakenly used DK (as in UK) but know now from your advice that I need Aran for my next attempt.
    Best wishes.

    1. For the first point, you begin at the small end with the increases and then knit even until the lengths given (3.5″, 4.25″, or 5″).

      But for the second point as you are finishing the scarf, you begin with the wider end of the point, and you want to knit those rows even until the length given (2″, 2.25″, or 2.75″). Once you get to that length, then you are ready to begin the decrease rows and create the point. Then once those decrease rows are finished you should have the same total final length as the first point.

  2. Hi,
    I have a question. I am trying to make this keyhole scarf and am not quite sure how to do the loop opening. I am doing the smaller size and where it says row, 1,2 and 3 I want to know if that is included in the 13 rows. I can’t figure out what side my working yarn will be on when I break the yarn to start the other side. I just seem stuck on that! Thank you so much.

    1. When it says to complete 13 rows for the loop area, Rows 2 and 3 that repeat are included in the 13 rows (but not row 1 where you divide the stitches). And I think whichever end you choose to reattach the yarn for the other side will be OK as the ribbing will look OK on the finished scarf whether you start with the outside of the loop facing you or the inside.

    1. Yes, this scarf can also be knit for boys. Here’s a picture of one of these scarves that I made for my grandson using a variegated yarn in grays and blacks in the medium child size.knit scarf for boys

  3. Hi! I was wondering if you used acrylic or wool for your yarn. The weight is so different for the same length of yarn between the two, and I want to make sure I get enough!

        1. I use the US size 4 yarn for these scarves and the UK equivalent would be Aran yarn (not DK). Quite often this scarf is used for warmth around the neck which is why the worsted/aran yarn is usually used instead of the lighter weight DK yarn.

  4. Hi Bev !! I love your blog…..happened upon it this a.m. & have been glued to it for a couple hours now….we are also very self-sufficient folks & pride ourselves on it. Live in the heart of PA Dutch Amish country….lots of do-it yourselfers around here. Can’t wait to start knitting my new swiffer cover ! I am also a devoted straight needle knitter. Enjoyed perusing your Christmas crafts…we have a big garden & do much preserving for the winter months. Thanks for all your hard work on this blog !! Gail

  5. I have looked for this pattern for years, I had one of these scarves when I was about 10 years old (I am 69 now) and loved it and almost the identical colour as your pattern 😊

    1. Yes, this pattern is an oldie but a goodie. I’m so glad you were able to find the pattern here after looking for years!