Tilt the odds in your favor (of a scarf being worn!) with these free patterns for children’s scarves to knit
Imagine that you’re preparing to dress a child–say, somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10–for a cold winter’s day.
Obviously, the first thing the child will need is a coat. (Not something we knitters normally worry about, though knitted coats are certainly a possibility!)
Then, our hypothetical child will need a hat–I’m sure most of us have heard the old yarn about heat escaping more quickly from the head than any other part of the body, yes?
Of course, our imaginary child will also require mittens, particularly if snowballs will be thrown or snowmen will be built.
And, at last, we come to the final piece: the scarf. Because little necks can become really, really cold. And, as that legendary Prince of Denmark would say: “Ay, there’s the rub!”
The challenge, of course, is that while children about kindergarten age and up should wear a scarf when the weather gets cold, quite often they do not want to wear one! Nine times out of ten, even if you manage to wind a scarf around that little neck, the scarf will disappear by the end of the day.
So if you want to knit a scarf for a child, you’ll probably want to find a pattern that will produce a scarf that s/he will actually want to wear.
1. Benefits to Knitting Scarves for Children
So, yes, the main obstacle to knitting scarves for children is trying to find a pattern that will excite them.
While that can be a drawback to children’s scarves to knit, there are also great benefits to knitting scarves for the kiddos. To wit:
- A child’s scarf takes less time to knit than an adult scarf. Not only can they be far shorter (and they should be–we don’t want the kiddo to trip on the ends!), but they can also be far narrower.
- A child’s scarf with some sort of closure, like a button, or is designed to be knotted with short ends, will stay on far better – which tends to also make children like scarves better. (And such scarves can be a lot more fun to create!)
Now, how about a collection of free knitting patterns for scarves that children may actually want to wear?
(Note that I said “may”! Of course, each child is different. Promising that every child will love every one of these patterns would be madness.)
2. Too Adorable Animal Scarves
- What you’ll need to make it: 108 yards orange super bulky yarn; about half that amount brown super bulky yarn; about 50 yards fuzzy/furry white yarn; US Size 11 needles; 2 stitch markers; stitch holder or spare DPN
- Why you’ll want to: It’s hard to think of an elementary-aged child who wouldn’t love this adorable scarf! The super-bulky yarn means that it knits up quickly, and the keyhole created in the scarf means it will keep wrapping its child in huggable warmth.
- What you’ll need to make it: 364 yards each of two different colors of worsted weight yarn (beginners to double-knitting may want a wool blend or 100% wool yarn to make your stitches more even); US Size 8 needles
- Why you’ll want to: This adorable cat scarf is perfect for cat lovers. Make it as long or as short as you think the kiddo in question can stand. The double knitting technique is a bonus; if you’ve never tried it, this is a perfect introduction to it. If not, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the process, and the double knitting produces an extra-warm scarf!
- What you’ll need to make it: 120 yards of two different shades of worsted weight yarn (whatever colors you’d like to make your “snake” and a small amount of red worsted weight yarn (for the tongue); US Size 7 needles; two black buttons (for eyes).
- Why you’ll want to: Of course, any child who loves snakes will love this scarf. But I suspect that many children who don’t think they like snakes will love it, too. It’s really cute, and I say that as decidedly Not a Snake Person!
3. Children’s Scarves with Easy-Breezy Texture
- What you’ll need to make it: At least 200 yards worsted weight yarn (more is probably better!); US size 8 needles
- Why you’ll want to: This is a Stephanie Pearl-MchPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) original, and it is as easy as it is lovely. If you have some handspun yarn you’re dying to use, this could be an excellent pattern for it.
You’ll have the joy of beautiful yarn combined with the satisfaction of a nearly mindless knit. This pattern literally is a one-row pattern; that is, every row is identical.
- What you’ll need to make it: 350 yards worsted weight yarn; US Size 8 needles; cable needle or spare DPN
- Why you’ll want to: This beautiful, deceptively simple pattern is especially nice for tweens to teenagers, who are most likely to enjoy the sophisticated and unfussy look of this scarf. It’s a great way to practice cabling, too!
- What you’ll need to make it: 300 yards chunky yarn; US size 11 needles
- Why you’ll want to: This pattern is similar to the above-mentioned One Row scarf in that it consists of one row repeated until you’re sick of it. One key difference is that this scarf uses chunky yarn, which often makes for not only a warmer scarf, but also one that’s quicker to knit!
4. Keyhole and/or Button-Down Scarves for Kids
- What you’ll need to make it: 120 yards heavy worsted/chunky weight yarn; US Size 8 needles; large button (optional)
- Why you’ll want to: This is a simple yet stylish keyhole scarf that you can add a button to for a little added flair. I personally think this could work well for both young ladies and young gentlemen–I think it looks a little like an old-fashioned cravat!
- What you’ll need to make it: 300 yards sport weight yarn; US size 8 needles
- Why you’ll want to: This is a fun, short scarf that is buttoned up to be worn a very much like a cowl. You can also add fun tassels for even more flair!
- What you’ll need to make it: 100 yards worsted weight yarn; US size 8 needle
- Why you’ll want to: If the other keyhole scarf appeals to you, but you would prefer a more traditional scarf-shape, this pattern will be exactly what you need!
5. Scarves with Serious Razzle-Dazzle
- What you’ll need to make it: 30 yards super bulky ribbon yarn; US size 9 needles
- Why you’ll want to: This darling ruffle scarf pattern knits up in a flash, thanks to its requiring only a small amount of a very thick ribbon yarn.
- What you’ll need to make it: 35 yards eyelash yarn; US size 11 needles
- Why you’ll want to: Lots of kids love soft, fuzzy scarves like this one. Grab a few balls of soft eyelash yarn, and you can knit up a few of these quickly!
- What you’ll need to make it: 100 to 150 yards of each color (burgundy and gold for Gryffindor, green and white for Slytherin, blue and bronze for Ravenclaw, yellow and black for Hufflepuff); US size 9 needles
- Why you’ll want to: If you know of a child who adores Harry Potter, you’ll definitely want this pattern! The seed stitch pattern makes it more interesting than the typical striped garter or stockinette-stitch fringed scarf. And if you’re making it for charity? This is also a great pattern because the color combinations are so stylish!
- What you’ll need to make it: 434 yards worsted weight yarn (evenly split between 2 colors); US size 6 DPNs and/or circular needle (depending on how you prefer to knit in the round); US size 4 24-inch circular needle; plastic CD sleeve (optional)
- Why you’ll want to: How’s this for a clever idea: a warm, wonderful scarf with two large pockets, one on each end. I know my own kiddos love wearing anything with pockets, and I’ll bet the kids in your life feel the same. You may have difficulty getting him or her to take it off!
I hope you’ve found in this collection the scarf pattern that’s just right for the child in your life – or to inspire you to create children’s scarves to knit for charity!