A friend a couple of nights ago showed me the basics of the potato chip scarf. I’ve never seen this before and she was having problems with the first few rows as it looked as if the process wasn’t working.
One of the secrets of the potato chip scarf that we have now learned is that you need to do plenty of it before you’ll actually see the twist start to occur.
Once I’d seen how it worked I went back to look at the first few inches of my scarf and decided that I wanted mine a little different.
So, I undid and reknitted it this time not in garter stitch which it seems most people knit the scarf in but instead in stockinette stitch. I wanted my scarf to be more finished at least on the front side and the fact that stockinette stitch has a tendency to curl didn’t really make a lot of difference here.
So, here’s my twist on the twisty potato chip scarf.
Cast on 20 stitches
Row 1: Knit 20 stitches
Row 2: Purl 8 stitches and turn (you have 8 st on one needle, 12 on the other)
Row 3: Knit 8 stitches. (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 4: Purl 6 stitches and turn (you have 6 st on one needle, 14 on the other)
Row 5: Knit 6 stitches (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 6: Purl 4 stitches and turn. (you have 4 st on one needle, 16 on the other)
Row 7: Knit 4 stitches. (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 8: Purl the entire row
Row 9: Knit 8 stitches and turn (you have 8 st on one needle, 12 on the other)
Row 10: Purl 8 stitches. (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 11: Knit 6 stitches and turn (you have 6 st on one needle, 14 on the other)
Row 12: Purl 6 stitches (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 13: Knit 4 stitches and turn. (you have 4 st on one needle, 16 on the other)
Row 14: Purl 4 stitches. (you have 20 st on one needle)
Row 15: Knit 20
Repeat rows 2 to 15 until the scarf reaches the desired length.
The pattern is a simple repeat so it is easy to remember when you’ve done it a few times. However, don’t expect to see any curl until you’ve repeated the entire pattern at least twice all the way through.
I am still knitting this scarf but I am thinking I will finish it with a crochet edge when I’m done. I just bought the book Around the Corner Crochet Borders: 150 Colorful, Creative Edging Designs with Charts and Instructions for Turning the Corner Perfectly Every Time buy Edie Eckman so I will find a simple design from it to use.
How the design works
The logic of the potato chip scarf design is that you’re knitting the first 8 stitches of every row more times than you do the middle 4 stitches of the scarf. Then you also knit the first 6 stitches of each row and then the first 4 stitches more still than that.
Because the edge stitches are being knitted up to six times more than the middle stitches you will get more knitted fabric at the edges than in the middle. The result of having more fabric at the edges than in the middle is that the edges are going to curl up – hence the “potato chip” look.
This design is also referred to as a “rigatoni scarf” I guess because it starts to look like a piece of pasta and I’ve also seen it referred to as a helix scarf.
You can do the scarf in garter stitch so you knit every row and I have one scarf done like this, it’s bumpy because of the garter stitch and it looks great, but I still like the contrast between the two sides of the stockinette version so it’s worth trying it to see if you like it too.
Working in multiple colors
In addition as you can see in the image, I’ve started to build in some color change into my design. For this I knitted the entire 15 row repeat in a second color before starting back in another color.
This gives me a small fan shape at either side that is knitted in the second color with just two rows in the middle of the scarf in the same color.
Love or hate the holes?
The potato chip scarf design creates small “holes” every time you turn after having knitted the 8, 6 or 4 stitches.
If you don’t like the holes you can avoid them before you turn in the middle of the row. Before you turn, wrap the yarn around the stitch that would be the next to be knitted if you weren’t about to turn your work. Now turn and continue, the holes won’t be as visible if you do this.
However, I happen to like the holes because they break up the surface and add more texture to it.
I’m knitting this in Gems Lt. Worsted Wt. wool to match my mittens which I knitted one of which is a solid color hand and one which is striped.
For the potato chip scarf it doesn’t really matter what you knit it so you’ll find that an average weight wool and a reasonable size set of needles makes the process pretty quick and easy to do.
Free download – pdf of variations of patterns for the scarf
Here is a cool link I’ve since found which includes a lot of variations on the scarf including some with delicious fluted edges. It is at http://static.knittingparadise.com/upload/2011/10/19/1319064498069-_handspun_gallery_of_helix_scarves.pdf