Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf

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Today’s project is another one for the knitters.  Knitting has been a favorite hobby of mine ever since I was a kid in grade school and every so often I like to share another pattern here on the blog for others that might enjoy knitting as a past time too.

Because that’s so often what knitting is – a past time.  It’s a great way to keep yourself occupied during cold winter evenings where otherwise you might just turn into a couch potato.  Instead you can stay busy creating useful things, although I suppose at some point you can only use so many knit dishcloths and scrubbies 🙂

Update March, 2021:  Would you like to knit this scarf in smaller sizes for kids too? Click here for an updated version that includes 3 size adjustments (small child, medium child, and teen/adult):  Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf with Additional Sizes for Kids.

My latest project was this bow tie knit scarf, a scarf that’s all about good function.  It’s about keeping your neck warm without a lot of extra material or lumpiness.  This smaller sized scarf lays nice and flat in the neck of your coat and uses a loop opening to pass the other end of the scarf through so no knotting or other wrapping of the scarf is needed.

This type of scarf has been around for a long time.  It might not be in the height of fashion at the moment – BUT – it’s one of the best scarves I have used for giving myself a little extra warmth outdoors on those very cold Michigan days that I often have to deal with.

My husband’s grandmother first knit me a scarf like this as a gift many year ago (and I loved it and wore it a lot) but I was never able to get the pattern from her.  Then a co-worker showed up at work one day wearing this same type of scarf!  She shared her pattern with me, but it was a pattern intended for lighter weight yarn and wasn’t quite the same.

Sooo . . . this winter I finally took matters into my own hands and made my own version of a pattern for this scarf. It works with any basic medium weight yarn (anything that says size 4 on the yarn label). So far I’ve made this scarf using the Red Heart with Love Yarn in the Fruit Punch color and in the Vanna’s Choice Yarn in Grey Marble.  One skin of about a 3 oz size is all that’s needed for this project, and you will still have some yarn leftover.

The scarf in the Fruit Punch color was a Christmas gift to my mother-in-law, who after opening the gift proceeded to wear the scarf (indoors!) for the rest of the evening despite my repeated questions of “Are you getting hot?” and “Do you want to take your scarf off now?”  Nope, she said it was keeping her nice and warm and she just wanted to keep it on.

knit scarf 1

And that’s what I’m talking about.  It’s the perfect little scarf for a little extra warmth.  I’ve been known to leave this scarf on for a while after I get home from work too (again, indoors!).

{ it’s so cozy and warm }

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

Although this pattern uses mostly basic garter stitch (knit every row), the loop opening takes just a little bit of knitting skill.  For this part of the pattern some stitches are placed on another needle to be worked later.  I found that holding the stitches on a double pointed (DP) needle worked the best – AND – I also like putting these Knitting Needle Point Protectors on the end of my DP needles.  They work great to keep the stitches from slipping off! I’ve included a few photos of that part of the process too which I hope will help.

There’s a link below so you can easily print this pattern as a pdf (And for you more experienced knitters out there, this is how you will probably want to read the pattern instead of with the pictures mixed in).

Here’s how to do it:

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

Garter Stitch Bow Tie Scarf

Click here to print this pattern as a pdf

You Will Need:
Size 6 Needles
Medium (4) Yarn – (a 3 oz skein will give enough)

Gauge:  4 sts = 1″

Cast on 2 stitches
1st Row:  Increase in first stitch, K next stitch
2nd Row:  Increase in first stitch, K to end of row.
Repeat this row until there are 22 stitches.

Work even in garter stitch until total length from point is 5 inches.

Loop Opening

1st Row: *K 1, Slip next stitch to a double pointed needle, Repeat from * across.  There will be 11 stitches on the needle, and 11 stitches being held on the DP needle to work later.

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

2nd Row:  P1, *K1, P1  Repeat from * across.
3rd Row:  K1, *P1, K1   Repeat from * across.
Repeat these last two rows alternately until 17 rows have been completed.

Place these stitches on another DP needle and break yarn.

Attach yarn by stitches being held on first DP needle.  Knit 1 row.

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

Then work in ribbing as before for 17 rows.

Next Row:  *K1 from stitches being held on DP needle, K1 from stitches being worked.  Repeat from * across.  22 stitches on needle. (and first loop opening made)

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

Continue to work in garter stitch for 14″.
Work second loop as before.
Work in garter stitch for 2″.

Shape Point
1st Row:  K1, K2 tog, K across remaining stitches.
Repeat this row until 2 stitches remain.
Bind Off.

Free Knitting Pattern - Bow Tie Garter Stitch Scarf

Here’s the link again for the printable patternPrint this pattern as a pdf

Here’s the link for the updated version with children’s sizesBow Tie Scarf In 3 Sizes

Click here to see more of my knitting patterns

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  1. Thank you for sharing this pattern as a freebie (especially a printable pdf)! It is just what I was looking for to complete a hat/neck warmer/fingerless gloves set.

    1. I love your idea of using this scarf in a set with a hat and gloves – glad this pattern could be of help to you!

  2. So where it says “Continue to work in garter stitch for 14″ after the first loop is made…..does that mean the total length from the first point to the start of the second point or 14” just in the middle part?
    Thnx so much for a great pattern.

    1. The 14″ is the measurement for the middle of the scarf after the loop opening. I have updated the pattern to make that clarification.

    1. That might be a little tricky on the pointed ends of the scarf when you are increasing and decreasing. But if you are an experienced knitter, it might be possible!

  3. Thank you! I tried another pattern but couldn’t figure it out. Yours worked perfectly! Did you ever make some in other yarn weights?

    1. Yes, this pattern is based on one my husband’s grandma used to make. It’s an oldie but a goodie and I’m glad you finally found what you were looking for!

  4. I am just learning to knit. Is my understanding of the gauge correct, 4 stitches should be 1 inch wide? I don’t have to knit a square?

    1. Yes, 4 stitches of your knitting should be 1″ wide. You can knit a test swatch square if you wish to check your gauge first, however gauge is not too important for this pattern as a scarf is not an item that requires an exact fit like other pieces of clothing might.

  5. Hi, Thank you for this pattern. I would like to ask for a clarification. “1st Row: Increase in first stitch, K next stitch:” What is the technique for increasing one stitch? Is it “knit front and back?” I am dying to try knitting this scarf but would need the answer before I can proceed. Thank you for your time and effort in advance. I look forward to hearing from you.

    1. Yes, the increases in this pattern are the “knit front and back” type. I hope you enjoy knitting the scarf!

  6. Hi Bev! Thank you so much for this pattern. I started it as a challenge project to practice knitting techiqnues, having never made anything more complicated than a regular garter stitch scarf. I am almost done with my first one! I was wondering if you’ve ever made this scarf in a toddler size or have any recs for how to modify it to do so? Otherwise I will just figure out measurements by counting stitches on an example photo (e.g. Misha & puff sledding scarf). Thanks so much for sharing, this has been a great project.

    1. When it comes to modifying this scarf, I usually suggest that it’s the middle part of the scarf you might want to make shorter or longer. So instead of knitting it to 14″, for a toddler you might want to just knit it to 12″ for instance.

  7. Hi Bev,
    I have been searching among my patterns for this bow tie scarf to no avail. Even looking on line I was not finding this one with the knit loop in a continuous knit rather than a separate piece to add on after the fact. It was my lucky day to find your site and pattern. I, too, learned to knit in school (over fifty years ago) and I also enjoy knitting during our cold Michigan winters, Thank you for offering this favorite and classic pattern with helpful photos.
    You made my day!

  8. Hi I have started this lovely pattern and when I reach the first opening of slipping stitches on back needle I rib the required and and when I begin the stitches left on the needle the first row is really loose can you advise me what I am doing wrong thank you in advance

    1. I’ve pondered this a bit Jill and I’m not sure why that may be happening. However I did look at my scarf closely and noticed those first stitches do look just a bit looser too on one of my loop openings.

  9. That you posted a photo of your dear MIL wearing it (all evening!) is so cute.

    I’ve a tip for this pattern- it’s ideal for those small skeins of luxury yarn, even if you don’t have enough for the entire scarf, you can use the luxe yarn just on the tips, and use another matching yarn for the part that goes round the neck. I have some Lion Brand “Moonlight Mohair” I had left over, but didn’t want to do the whole thing in that yarn (it can feel rather itchy) so I knitted the neck portion in a more comfortable-against-the-skin yarn, and the “itchy” glittery Moonlight Mohair for the “bow tie” ends. Off topic, but I was buying the Moonlight Mohair for a song last year, no one liked it except me, it seemed, even after it was discontinued, now it’s going for more than $20.00 per skein! Can you believe that? I only regret not buying more of them, when they were “unwanted”. Well, I’m not selling any of mine! So there! 😉

    thank you for posting this, I think I have the same pattern saved in bookmarks under Miss Marple scarf. Either way, it’s a fabulous, very simple and very quick go-to pattern and just perfect for using up half-skeins, or those “singletons” : great yarns you only have one skein of, and want to knit up something really useful and noticeable.

    1. I like your strategy of using softer yarn around the neck and fancier yarn for the pointed ends. Sounds like a good way to use up smaller amounts of yarn!

  10. Oh, now I’m itching to try one of these. I love it! I have a little bit of two different colorways of Unforgettable; I wonder how it would look if I knit half with one color, and the second half with the other color. I’m too enamored with this yarn not to use it. 🙂

    1. Oh I think you could definitely come up with a nice design incorporating two different skiens of the Colorways Unforgettable yarn. Because it is somewhat self-striping, you could maybe break one yarn off at the end of a color area and attach the other. I think it would work!

  11. I was wondering about the needle size. Are they size 6 US or 6mm? I hope I am correct in assuming because you are in the U.S. that the needle size is US 6?
    I don’t have a lot of experience with knitting but I am hoping that this pattern will work out for me because I think this little scarf would be perfect Christmas gifts. Thank you for sharing your pattern 🙂

  12. Thank you for this pattern, I have been looking all over for a tutorial on this scarf after seeing my co-worker was wearing one a couple of years ago and I always wanted to make one , I have found two different ways to make this cute scarf! I will try yours soon. God bless you!

  13. I’ve done 1/2 dozen of these for friends and have received so many thank you”s I’ve lost count. Thank you so very much for this delightful pattern. Doris

    1. You’re welcome Doris! I have also found that these little scarves make quick and easy gifts for friends and family.

  14. Thank you for bringing this wonderful old pattern to light again — for me! My great aunt made me a scarf like this one when I was a teen ager, and I wore it many winters. Later I figured out how to make another for myself and for others. It has been a long time now, and I want to make some more just like it.

    1. Yes, this style of scarf is an oldie . . . but a goodie! I’m glad I could share it with others who would like to make one 🙂

  15. Hi Bev, enjoyed you scarf pattern but I crochet. I tried a crochet pattern for similar style and was very frustrated. Am going to try to send you a picture from my iPad . It is a way to do this another way. Always look forward to see what you come up with. Kathy

    1. Glad you are enjoying the blog Kathy! I’ve done some crocheting, but it’s been a while. Perhaps this type of scarf lends itself better to knitting because of the loop part of the pattern.

      1. Dear Beverly, many thanks for this wonderful pattern! Are the two “leaf”/”heart shapes” identical in size? It’s just that I was wondering whether the 2″ (2-inch) measurement for the straight section of the second leaf/heart shape (before reducing the stitches from 22 down to 2) is correct… Many thanks.

        1. I’ve been wondering the same thing! I knitted to the 22 stitches part, then started knitting an additional 24ish rows and it looks VERYYY different than the picture and it’s making me really worried. it’s like, way longer and doesn’t have the heart shape but instead has like, a diamond point, then a straight part. and especially because when you look at the “other half” of the scarf it doesn’t say knit 5 inches, it says around 2.75 inches. so…. not sure why the discrepancy. but I’m wondering if I need to frog the stitches I did before continuing to the loop part >.<