Staggered Rib Scarf

By Suzie Blackman

A cosy, chunky-weight scarf in a reversible, diagonal rib pattern.

Free online knitting pattern

Published 23 November 2008
Yarn weight:   Skill level:
Staggered-rib scarf

Staggered-rib scarf

When I came across this stitch pattern I knew it was ideal for a scarf – simple, reversible, quicker to knit than seed stitch and normal 2×2 ribbing (because it compresses less).

I’ve given it a beginner rating because it’s entirely knit and purl. However, it requires a bit of concentration at first because you have to purl stitches that look like they should be knit and vice versa. If you get lost, use the photos below to check whether you’re on an odd side (rib pattern moves one stitch right) or an even side (pattern does not move). I have given instructions for slipping the first stitch of each row for neater edges.

The yarn is a warm and luxurious baby alpaca with a beautiful drape. This can be substituted for most chunky-weight yarns. To knit this pattern in different yarn weight, simply swatch using the yarn’s recommended needle size to find the number of stitches that will give the width you want, then round to the nearest multiple of four.

Size information

Length: 156 cm (62 in.)
Width: 13.5 cm (5.25 in.)


Yarn & notions

At least 200m chunky/bulky weight yarn in a wool blend.

Our sample used 4 x 50g/50m skeins Mirasol Sulka in Black Pepper (60% Merino, 20% Silk, 20% Alpaca)

Needles & equipment

  • 6.5 mm needles


14 sts and 18 over 10 cm (4 in.) squared in staggered rib pattern


Odd side - diagonal slopes from top right to bottom left

Odd side – diagonal runs top right to bottom left

CO 24 sts

Row 1 (first row only): [K2, p2] to end
Row 2: Sl1, k1, p2, [K2, p2] to end
Row 3: Sl1, [p2, k2] to last 3 sts, p2, k1
Row 4: Sl1p, [k2, p2] to last 3 sts, k2, p1
Row 5: Sl1, p1, [k2, p2] to last 2 sts, k2
Row 6: Sl1p, p1, [k2, p2] to last 2 sts, k2
Row 7: Sl1p, [k2, p2] to last 3 st3, k2, p1
Row 8: Sl1, [p2, k2] to last 3 sts, p2, k1
Row 9: Sl1p, k1, [p2, k2] to last 2 sts, p2

Repeat rows 2-9 until you run out of yarn.

Even side - diagonal slopes from top left to bottom right

Even side – diagonal runs top left to bottom right

Cast off

License information

Creative Commons Licence
Staggered Rib Scarf by Suzie Blackman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Under this license you can:

  • Knit this pattern for charity
  • Give out printed copies of this pattern to teach a free class (provided the license is included, as above)
  • Create a new pattern based on this one, provided it’s free and the original author is credited

Unfortunately, you can’t:

  • Make items from this pattern to sell
  • Use it to teach a paid class
  • Sell copies of the pattern or distribute it without crediting the author


  1. Melissa says:


    I have attempted the fixed pattern and am sad to say that no pattern emerges. I can’t figure out which row is off, but I am thinking it might still be row three. I really like the scarf in the photo and would like to make it work. Can you check the pattern again?


  2. Suzie says:

    Hi Melissa,

    Melissa says:

    I have attempted the fixed pattern and am sad to say that no pattern emerges. I can’t figure out which row is off, but I am thinking it might still be row three. I really like the scarf in the photo and would like to make it work. Can you check the pattern again?

    The pattern is correct. You wont see much of a pattern until you finish row 8, but by then you should the diagonal pattern emerge. It does look odd at first, especially if you’re used to stocking stitch, but stick with it.


  3. Dolores Jones says:

    Hi! Just want to thank you for this pattern. I love it!

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks Suzie for this!
    I am new to knitting and I just wanted to know – If I wanted to make the scarf wider, what would I have to do?
    Thanks so much

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Michelle,
      To make it wider, just cast on 4 more stitches (or a multiple of 4). The pattern will work fine as long as you add a multiple of 4.

  5. Michelle says:

    Thanks so much Suzie! This is such a beautiful scarf.

  6. maya Stevens says:

    hi there,
    i’d love to try making this scarf.. it looks really cool.. however i don’t know what the s/1 and s/1p mean.. i’m sorry if this is a stupid question.. i’m a total beginner. thanks for your help and your time!

    • suzie says:

      Hi Maya,
      sl1 = slip one
      sl1p = slip one purlwise

      To slip a stitch, insert the needle into the next stitch as if to knit it, but instead of looping the yarn round, simply slip it onto the right needle. To slip one purlwise, do the same, but insert the needle from the back through to the front, as if to work a purl stitch.

      Slipping the first stitch of every row gives you a neater, more professional looking edge, but if it’s too much to think about you can just work the first stitch instead. In which case, you would work the pattern as follows:

      Row 1: [K2, p2] to end
      Row 2: [K2, p2] to end
      Row 3: K1, [p2, k2] to last 3 sts, p2, k1
      Row 4: P1, [k2, p2] to last 3 sts, k2, p1
      Row 5: [P2, k2] to end
      Row 6: [P2, k2] to end
      Row 7: P1, [k2, p2] to last 3 st3, k2, p1
      Row 8: K1, [p2, k2] to last 3 sts, p2, k1

  7. Hope says:

    Hi Suzie, First — Thank you for the information on slipping stitches! This is only my second project, so I have a really basic question. I am doing something wrong with the yarn when I switch between knit and purl. What is the proper way to move the yarn so that it doesn’t get looped around the scarf? Thank you! Hope

    • suzie says:

      Hi Hope,

      You’re not alone – accidentally looping the yarn over when changing between knit and purl is a common problem for new knitters! The correct way to do it is to bring the yarn between and below the needles. If in doubt, check that you still have the same number of stitches, doing it wrong will almost certainly cause you to increase the number of stitches. There’s a better explanation here:

      Good luck with your project!


  8. Hope says:

    Hi Suzie,
    I love this pattern — I figured out how to move the yarn and things were going great al the way through my first ball. But I have done something that has caused the diagonal to change direction. It seems to have happened when I added a new ball. . . do you have any idea what I have done? I have undone the work and started over from a few rows before the ball change, but I did it again. . .? Any insight appreciated. Thanks! Hope

    • suzie says:

      It could be that when you re-joined the yarn, you started one row out from where you left off. Knitting an even row when you were on an odd or vice versa.

  9. Lisa-Marie says:

    Hi Suzie,
    What a great pattern, I have been looking for scarf patterns as I have 14 to do as Xmas pressies, I’m doing this one for one of my brothers and I’m going to do the ruffle lace scarf for my niece.
    Thankyou for sharing such fab patterns


  10. Lola says:

    Hi Suzie,

    I just started knitting the scarf and I am loving the pattern. Thanks so much for creating and sharing it. Next on my list is your ruffled scarf. :-)

  11. Becktard says:

    This scarf is very beautiful. I am a self-taught knitter and even though I goofed a couple of times, I fixed my boo-boos and am close to completing it. It is intended to be given as a
    Christmas gift, but my hubby wants to keep it. I may have to knit a few dozen more!!

  12. Lesa says:

    I love this scafe pattern and appreciate it. I can’t wait to make it. However, there is several comments about your ruffle lace scarf and I was wondering if you could please tell me how to locate that pattern as well. Thank you so much for all your help.

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Lesa, you can find all the patterns if you click on ‘Knitting patterns’ in the navigation in the left-hand column. Or, use the site search. Glad you like the scarf!

  13. e smart says:

    briliant pattern. wool currently on offer on celtic cove woolshop for £3 in limited colours

  14. Hemulena says:

    thank you so much for the pattern! I needed smth nice and very quick for a present and this scarf made a perfect gift! I made one small “addition” to the pattern to have even, neat edges – I purled the last stich in every row. I used “Berrocco” wool in wonderful grey color and it turned out lovely!

  15. Laura Winton says:

    I love this pattern, but for some reason, when I start repeating from row two my diagonal changes directions. Any idea what I’m doing? I’m not supposed to repeat row 1, right?

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Laura,
      You’re right – you should be repeating rows 2-9 only (row 1 is only worked once). If the pattern is changing direction it might be that you’ve missed a row somewhere. Check the slant of the pattern when you get back to row 2, on an even row the rib should be slanting top left to bottom right. If it’s going the other way there is a mistake somewhere in the previous repeat.
      Good luck with it!

  16. Gwen says:

    Can the Sl1 be used with any scarf pattern for the edges? Thanks! (beginner here….)

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Gwen, slipping the first stitch of each row is a commonly used technique to neaten any raw edges, but it’s important to pay attention to the direction you’re slipping: If the final stitch on the previous row was purl, you slip knitwise, otherwise slip purlwise.

  17. Sally says:

    I finished this today and am really pleased with the result. You are right in that you do need to pay attention – I did find myself going the wrong way a couple of times…but it’s beautiful wool to knit with.
    Thanks again!

  18. Steffi says:

    I have been looking for this pattern everywhere, do you know the proper name for this particular pattern? And also, do you think you could show how to make a hat with this pattern? I’m not sure how to do that myself, but whenever I have seen this pattern, it has always been on a hat!

  19. anzele says:

    Thanks a lot for this pattern…I’ll get a nice scarf this week!

  20. Diane says:

    Thanks for the lovely scarf pattern, I knitted this one for my 21 year old grandson for Christmas in a wool-ease size 10 needle, I did change the cast on to 20 sts to make it narrower. My grandson did mention he would like a hat this year to go with whatever scarf I made. Did you have a pattern for a hat that would be suitable for a man? He’s 21. I do think This scarf looks great on either a man or a woman.

  21. Andrea says:

    I absolutely LOVE this pattern. I want to thank you for posting the pictures that show the odd side and the even side! This completely saved my scarf!! I was more than half way through and somehow I had gotten off a row or two and noticed my pattern going the wrong way. I pulled it out down to the area where I noticed it was off, figured out what row I was on, and due to your pictures figured out if I was on an odd row or even rose since row 5 and row 6 are so similiar! This pattern is absolutely beautiful and easy for a beginning knitter like me!!! Thank you for posting it for free :)

  22. Becky says:

    I love this scarf and have made 2 so far. One was for a gift exchange and it was fought over! I ended up making one for the person that didn’t end up with the scarf. This is an impressive scarf for the beginning knitter to make.

  23. Alison says:

    I goofed up one of the slipped stitches and could not fix it. I tried to undo a few rows and pick up the pattern, but I couldn’t work it out… I’ve now started again!!!

    Any tips on how to undo the work and pick it back up again? I seem to get stuck when rethreading the needle with which way to go through the stitches, and I also have trouble picking up the pattern!

    Thanks in advance,

    • Andrea says:

      I can only help you in finding the pattern again. Well I think I can help, not sure if I can explain it, but I totally lost the pattern at one point and ended up going the wrong direction. Looking at the pictures above really really help. Notice which way the pattern goes on even rows and on odd rows. That will help you to narrow down at least the rows you are on. Then look on the wrong side of the pattern and see what you left off with. Look at the pattern and see which row in the pattern matches what row you left off with. For example, if you know that you are on an odd side and you see that the last two stitches you did were a k2 then odds are you are suppose to be on row 5 because your even row 4 is the only row that ends on a k2 pattern. Notice I said your EVEN row ends on a k2, because there are odds that end on a k2, but if you are on odd row you want to look at the row before which is even. I hope this makes some sense! If not you can email me and I can try to explain it better.

      • Andrea says:

        sorry, I am not able to edit.. change the row numbers with rows 6 and rows 7 not rows 4 and 5, I apologize..


        • Alison says:

          That makes sense! Thank you. This is where I had trouble – I’d picked up the stitches and looked at what I’d done last, but because there were 2 rows with that last stitch I wasn’t sure how to work it out. Hadn’t thought of odd and even rows (beginner knitter here!). Thank you again.

  24. Beth says:

    Question, for the even and odd photos, are they from before you start the row or after you finish it? I can’t find out if I am on 4 or 7.

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Beth,
      If your work looks like the top photo you are looking at (and working) an even side.
      I hope that helps!

  25. Michelle says:

    I think this pattern is great, easy to follow and I have really enjoyed knitting this scarf – thank you Michelle

  26. Annie says:

    I have one more question — I followed the ‘slip’ stitches but I don’t seem to see as nice of a seam as I see from others’ projects. I had the most trouble when I started row 2 with Sl1 and k1 — there seem to be a hole on the side…I hope you now what I mean — is it because I am knitting not as tight as I should?


    • Suzie says:

      Hi Annie,

      It may look odd row by row but it should work out. You should end up with a neat ‘ladder’.


  27. Annie says:

    I think I had a question on binding off but that message got deleted :( I am just wondering if I should bind off following the pattern. Since I will end with row 9, do I follow row 2 pattern for binding off and replace the slip with k and slip p with p, etc??


    • Suzie says:

      Hi Annie, the first stitch of the bind off row won’t make much difference. You could slip it as per the pattern or work it the same as the following stitch.


  28. Lindsei says:

    I love this pattern and want to make it a bit wider if possible with a yarn not so thick or bulky. I thought of adding more stitches would that interfere with the pattern?

    • Suzie says:

      Hi there,
      The pattern works with any multiple of 4 stitches, so you can easily change your gauge.

      • Lindsei says:

        Wow this is really easy I caught the pattern right away. This is so nice I am making it for our loyal janitor of our barrack Mr. Kim he’s old man but works so hard. He deserves a scarf like this thank you.

  29. Janessa says:

    Hi, beautiful pattern. I’m just getting started. How do you recommend casting off? Which pattern row?

  30. Martine says:

    Hi Suzie,
    Thank you for this nice looking pattern! I’ve been knitting on this scarf for a month mow (in the evening-hours, I’m just a beginner) and today I finally finished it! I made it a little wider (I used 36 stitches) and I used a lovely moss-green color… I’m very happy with it! I’m giving it to my boyfriend as a gift =)
    So thanks! From the Netherlands, Martine.

  31. Vicki says:

    Like everyone else I love this pattern – I wasn’t convinced to begin with, but persevered and once the pattern started to come through I like dit more and more!
    I am coming towards the end, but wanted to ask if I should cast off ‘in pattern’ for whatever row I finish up with? Or would it look better if I just knit my cast off row? I hope that makes sense – I’m a fairly new knitter!
    Many thanks for sharing the pattern…

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Vicki,
      So glad you like it!
      It will look best if you cast off in pattern. Casting off creates another row below the edge.

  32. Lindsei says:

    Is there by chance a map grid of this pattern? My friends who don’t speak english can’t understand knit and purl. They go off these books that show a map on how to knit ponchos and such.

  33. Kidist says:


  34. Marian says:

    Making this for my brother in law…wanted something gift worthy, manly enough to actually get worn by him, yet EZ and kind of quick for me…after LOTS of searching I was so glad to find this scarf! Tonight I knitted about 8 inches and it’s working great…only ripped out once. Thank u so much for sharing!! Can’t wait to finish.

  35. Pat Ohlsen says:

    I have followed the pattern to the letter (5 times), but when I repeat the pattern (rows 2-9), instead of the pattern continuing on the diagonal, it ends up zig-zagging. What is wrong.

  36. Pam says:

    Like everyone else, I love this pattern! I am going to try to make it narrower for a headband! Thanks!

  37. Nancy Sharkey says:


    I am making this scarf right now, I really love the look of it so far :)

    Thanks for the pattern.


  38. Kitty McCullough says:

    Susie–I am knitting a hat on circular needles and the directions don’t make sense to me. Because it is in the round, I can’t use your scarf pattern, can I? Kitty

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Kitty,
      You would need to re-write the pattern to work in the flat. This would be very easy though, you would need to work each odd row twice and ignore the even rows.

  39. tanya says:

    It seems that the pattern is written up to move over by 1 stitch each row. But in working in the round, you are saying to move over 1 stitch every other row. Can you
    confirm which is correct?

  40. tanya says:

    thanks. i have done a number of traveling patterns similar to yours. i like its rhythm and proportions.

  41. Lindsay says:

    Hi! I’ve got about 2 feet of this scarf going already, and it looks beautiful. Thanks so much. This will be my first completed project, and I’m glad I’ve got such a great pattern to work. No problems to report so far, beyond my beginner’s foolery, of course :)

  42. Rachel says:

    I love love love this scarf pattern!

    I’m just about finished with it, and I was wondering…how can I make a matching hat?

    I can easily convert the pattern to be in the round, but I am worried about the top…how can you maintain the pattern with the decreases needed? Or should I just go with a woven x closure at the top with no decreases? Or do you have any other suggestions?

  43. Heather says:

    I’m also wondering about a matching hat. This pattern is gorgeous!

  44. MrsPagerix says:

    This pattern would work in multiples of how many stitches? I would like to make it smaller (not as wide)! Thank you!!

  45. Marie says:

    I love this pattern! For some reason, when I work it I get more of a back and forth zig-zag rather that the continuous staggered diagonal rib. It’s fine and still looks great, but I can’t understand what I’m doing wrong. Have you experienced this happening?

  46. Mindi says:

    I realize you posted this five years ago, but I just found it. I’m making it now with some yarn I have left from an afghan. I love it! Thank you.

  47. Carolina says:

    Hi! How can I turn this pattern to knit in circular needles? Should I skip the wonrg side rows?
    Thank you!

  48. Stylinknitter says:

    I just finished row 9, I see the patern and it looks great. Thank you for sharing this fun and easy patern.

  49. Erika says:

    Hello, great pattern! I am just having a problem with Row 4 as I somehow at the very end ended up with 25 stitches on my needle instead of 24, making it so that I would have to finish by purling 2 instead of 1. But at the same time it doesn’t even seem like one of them is a real stitch, just a random loop on the needle. Please help me!!!

    • Suzie says:

      Hi Erika, It’s likely that when you were changing between knit and purl on one occasion you brought the yarn over the needle, instead of between the needles, which created an extra loop. You can either unravel a row, or just knit two together if you can see the point where it happened. Most often the extra stitch will have appeared at the start/end of the row.

  50. Lins says:

    Thank-you for sharing this great pattern. I just love it. I’m going to make many scarves this year.


  51. Imelda says:

    Hi, thank you very much for this pattern. I have a question, on row 7, after the [k2,p2] it says to last 3 st 3….what is this second “3” number mean? Is it supposed to say sts? instead of the number 3?

    Thank you very much!

  52. Stacy says:

    Thanks for posting this wonderful pattern! I’ve been looking for a really pretty pattern to use my chunky yarn with. I’m getting a major jump on my Christmas and Holiday knitting for this year! Thank you for sharing your talent for pattern making!

  53. Kayla says:

    Hi, beginner knitter here, bear with me. I love this pattern! Thanks so much for putting it up. When you show the odd and even sides, does this mean that you’ve just completed that side or you should be about to start one? Also, does that include the “row 1” that you only do at the start, or not?

    • Kayla says:

      The bottom line here is that I messed up along the way and had to tear back several rows. Now I have no idea what row I’m on. Is there a way besides trial and error to figure this out?
      Double thanks!

  54. Rebecca says:

    I just started this scarf.. I am on row 30 and it looks great. thanks for sharing. :)

  55. Sonia says:

    I have been knitting for long time and I have to say, you did an excellent job writing this pattern! I am half way done with one and it looks fantastic! Thanks so much!