Scarf in stockinette stitch curling

i decided to start a simple scarf after i misread a pattern for slippers and ribbed only 4 rows instead of 4 inches and didn’t realize the mistake until i was ready to cast off. haha…so i proceed to the easy scarf with size 13 needles and lion brand yarn, a blend of lambs wool and acryliv and im running into another problem, the scarf is curling into a large tube, is there anything to fix this? what am i doing wrong? i dont see any dropped stictches and my tension is even…what can i do??

I hate to have to tell you this…

Stockinette stitch curls. You don’t even have to tell me; I know you’re working in stockinette stitch, or something very close to it. It’s the nemesis of creative scarf knitters. I’ve done it myself. My friend swore she loved her “tube scarf” I gave her. Oh well!

You can TRY blocking it.

Or, you could turn it into a poncho. Stop knitting when it’s twice as long as it is wide. Make a second one the same size. Attach them like in the easy baby poncho (brand new addition to the free patterns page). Long fringe along the bottom edge (what is now the “side” of your scarf) will hopefully weigh it down enough to keep it from curling up. Give it to whoever it fits!


As Amy said, stockinette curls. You won’t be able to make it not curl on its own, but you do have some options. If you knit it twice as long as you want it to be, you can fold it in half and sew along the three raw edges. This will give your a snuggle double thickness scarf. Alternatively, you could buy some soft polar fleece and line the back which would make it super snuggly and very professional looking. Finally, you could knit a non-rolling border of some sort. Follow Amy’s directions for picking up stitches and work a border of garter stitch on each side. Try picking up stitches on each short edge and work 1.5-2" of garter, then pick up stitches on each long side, including the edges of the borders you just knit and work the same number of rows of garter.

I’ve tried adding flat borders to stockinetts scarves, and still had the stockinette curl in, and just bring the borders in with it. It will be more responsive to blocking though, with a border.

Marnie, I love your fleece idea. I’ve seen scarves like this, now that you mention it. They’re really cute and comfy. The double thickness idea is also brilliant.

I had another non-scarf idea. You could sew the sides together and make a bag out of it. If it’s bigger than you like, and it’s wool, you could then felt it.

…I can’t wait to hear what you do with it!


thanks for everyones suggestions, very helpful. so now i know not to knit in stockinette for a scarf unless there is a border around it. oh well, i got very good at knitting and purling so it wasn’t a total loss. i was thinking about what to do with it and if i sew up the three sides, and attach some sort of handle (sturdy handle) i think it would make a cool wine carrier. it seems to be the perfect size and since im new to knitting, i really just want to see a completed project. impatient i know :slight_smile: So im going to try this and see how it works. if it doesnt work for wine then i will just have long tube shaped bag. but im ok with that. :slight_smile: thanks again everyone.

my impatience got the best of me.

oh! i love the wine bag carrier idea!

Great idea!


Hi All

I tried a swatch the other day in stockinette stitch by slipping the first stitch kwise wyib on the knit rows, and slipping the first stitch pwise wyif on the purl rows and it seemed to stop MOST of the curling. It curls just a tad but not too bad, so for those of you who dont mind a little curling inwards, this would help somewhat if you still want to attempt stockinette scarves. I would still do 6+ rows of garter/seed stitch on the bottom and top of it though to stop it from curling upwards.


When you do a little swatch, it’s hard to get a sense of how much the stockinette wants to curl, because the bottom and top curl in more, and they act as a brace to keep the sides from curling in (this works on a little swatch). So it may look like the sides won’t curl in, but when you make a long item, they will definitely curl! You need to edge the scarf with at least an inch and a half of seed stitch or some flat border, to keep it from curling, and block it as well.


I did not do a “little” swatch. Granted, I didnt do 8 feet either, but I did do 54 rows. As I said in my post, it curled a little, not much. I never claimed it would not curl at all.



You’re right, that isn’t a small sample. Was there some other factor that was unusual, like using large needles and thin yarn for a lacy effect? It may be that because long scarves get pulled lengthwise while wearing them, that stretching them during wearing encourages the curl more.

Up until very recently, I always slipped the first stitch of each row exactly as you described, and I did once make a stockinette scarf that way. (The only stockinette scarf I’ve ever made.) It curled like the dickens. No matter how I tried to block it.

By the way, I still slip the first stitch like that most of the time. It makes a beautiful, neat edge. I’m experimenting with knitting the first knit stitch, and purling the first purl stitch. I’ve read that this can be a better edge for seaming, so I’m giving it a try. I’ll let you all know the results!

Keep up the scientific experimenting, Rick! And if you figure out why we’re getting different results, let us know!


Hi again Amy

It was just worsted weight yarn with US 8 and straight stockinette. Someone had the same argument on another message board and I said to myself, hmmm, I’m going to make a large swatch and report my results. The gal said her and her mom had been knitting for years and their stockinette doesnt curl if they slipped the first stitch of every row. It does curl inwards a little but not much. And I would assume if its made with 100% wool superwash or otherwise, I would think you could block away the little bit of curling. Nevertheless, stockinette is rather boring by itself, but I thought that Fox Tracks scarf was pretty cool. I wonder if I should email the editor and ask her if it rolled eh?


That’s quite a claim! I too have been slipping the first stitch like that for years, and my stockinette still rolls like crazy! For instance, the little sampler on the single increase and decrease pages was made slipping the first stitch that way. I had a heck of a time putting it on the scanner, so that the ends wouldn’t curl in, even after blocking it. I finally had to pin it down to a piece of heavy-weight paper, to scan it! LOL

That pattern is very cute. But I bet it’s only because it’s been braced against her body, with the front facing out, that it’s not totally curled in! If you look carefully at the picture, you can see the edges wanting to curl in!

If you look around at scarf and blanket patterns, you never find ones that are done in plain stockinette stitch. …We know why!

You are right. I’m sure it was curling like crazy for them at Creativing Knitting mag. You sure did a good job of flattening your sample though. I cant even imagine how hard it was for you to flatten it. I’ve never did just straight stockinette for anything before without a border 'cause I was lucky enough to read a long time ago about it curling. But that gal that made the big claim just tempted me to see if I could duplicate her claims LOL. Btw, did you read the private message I sent to you regarding the improved SSK?


Thanks Rick! I got both your messages. I corrected the improved ssk link, thanks for the heads up!!! And wow, that would be awesome if you would send me that clip. Thank you so much!

Amy :smiley:

Hmmm, I wonder how I would send it. Does your server allow for large attachments?


I don’t think there’s a limit on attachment size for my email, but my husband suggests that you keep it under 50 MB. If this means just emailing me a 1 minute clip of her knitting, that’s fine.


LOL I dont know how to split an mpg - so its 36.5 megs. I zipped it. I couldve split if if I had searched for a way to do it. It’s uploading (attaching) as we speak.


Hmmm. Did your husband stop the upload?

Upload Error: Could not upload Attachment to ./files/


Success! I got it! (a few days ago, of course, but I’ll just mention it her)

Thanks again Rick!