Here’s a great mix of free scarf patterns to knit or crochet. Some are quick and easy to whip up (making them ideal for Beginners), but plenty of more advanced projects are available too.
Many of the designs are unisex so they’ll work well for both men and women while others are more lacey or feminine. I do have a small gallery started for men’s scarves (knitting only atm).
You’ll also find dozens of cowls and neck warmers that promise to be oh-so-cozy during the cold winter months. Some just need a skein or less to whip up!
New Collection Update: May, 2022
Scarves are a terrific way to tackle new stitches, hammer down tension, try new needles and flex new techniques. The rows are often repetitive making them an ideal project for group/chat work…and be productive with while lost in your favorite tv show ;).
When selecting a yarn remember you want something soft and not irritating since it will be against the facial skin & neck area (often more sensitive than other areas of the body).
If the goal is winter gear (rather than a fashion accessory), select a width that is wide enough to pull up over the face during cold & windy travels. I love thick cowls for days like this because they can be pulled up over both the face and head (and still look fashionable).
For days where head gear isn’t necessary, consider a smart neck warmer that will keep your throat and upper chest covered. These are always appreciated as gifts and can be whipped up quickly using only a bit of yarn. They also don’t take much room when stashed in a work bag for “just in case” days when the weather is unpredictable.
Now on to the goodies! All of these have been chosen because a) I think they’re terrific and b) they’re totally free…which means no emails to submit or memberships to sign up for. If that has changed, please let me know in the comments area below so I can remove it.
Directions: Click on images to visit project page, a new browser tab will open while your spot here is saved
Free Crochet Patterns
One way to make a bright & cheery scarf is to assemble enough granny squares (for the length you want) then stitch together. Here are loads of freebies to pick from: The Ultimate Grannies Stack: 60+ Free Granny Square Patterns. You’ll find the bottom of that page also has some helpful resources for joining the squares & making borders.
I not only love the design, but the colors used are a perfect choice! A neutral palette that can be worn with just about anything. She made this with a variegated worsted weight yarn (Caron Cakes White Truffle) but you can easily switch colors as you go if using single hue yarns.
This is interesting & super easy to make. She used a gradient yarn for the body of the scarf (dc throughout) then slip stitches across the top for the white diamond repeat.
A light scarf yet warm enough to chase away the chills, has fringed ends and can be made as narrow or wide as you like. Not too bulky if you’re looking to wrap up under a coat.
A delicate scarf that can be worked in a lace weight (doubled) or fingering weight yarn. After the first row is done, rows 2 and 3 are repeated until it’s at the desired length.
Make No Mistake
A free pdf pattern download is available in both knitting and crochet (nice!). Finished size: 85″ x 8″ and worked on 6.0mm hook. Skill level: Beginner. Fringe is optional.
Curly Fringe How-To
Here’s a nice ‘n easy, basic scarf design with instructions for how to make the “curly Q” fringe that are attached individually on both ends.
I really like the texture on this scarf. This design needs about 2 skeins of yarn & more suited for Intermediate crocheters (working with fpdc – Front Post Double Crochet; bpdc – Back Post Double Crochet; Shell stitch).
Cowls & Neckwarmers
Typically cowls are just as easy to make as a regular scarf since they’re often worked the same way then once finished, the two ends are stitched together to make it “infinity style”.
Features the Catherine Wheel Stitch (video tutorial provided) that results in a dense & cozy fabric. Made with 800 yards of 12-ply chunky yarn so you know it’s going to be warm!
Large enough to wrap around twice, this takes just one skein (210 yards) of merino wool to make. Easy enough to make as wide as you like (the sample is 7″). I like the rich tones shown here.
This cowl has a unique shape that fits like an asymmetrical shawl but without the ends to deal with. Fits: One Size (approximately 19″ tall at highest point by 25″ around).
This one is worked in the round with only a one row repeat. Whips up quickly and only one ball of bulky yarn is used (100 g + 10.0 mm crochet hook).
Braided Puff Stitch
The website that offers this is named “Rich Textures Crochet” and I’d say the name fits perfectly! This design features rounds of puff stitches worked as though they are braided, separated by half double crochet stitches.
One Hour Chunky
Gorgeous! Made with Loops & Threads Chunky Braid (in white) with a size Q crochet hook. Pattern is worked in the round mainly in dc.
A nice design well suited for beginners looking to stretch their abilities a wee bit. Materials required: just one skein of yarn! If looking for something more substantial, this one’s easy enough to adjust both height (just add rows) & width (increase starting chain by multiples of 6 stitches).
Double Warm Neck Warmer
Designed for children specifically, I couldn’t resist adding it to this collection. A double ribbed neck (super stretchy) with a sweet scalloped border will ensure no lost scarves! Two sizes available (S: 45-50cm head and M: 50-55cm).
Free Knitting Patterns
You’ll find knit scarves look best if they’re blocked right after they’re made (especially helpful in preventing edges curling).
This is done by a gentle steaming or by dampening the scarf (either with a spray bottle or by hand washing), then shaping and pinning in place until it dries (or pin first then spray).
Usually this can be done on large towels covering an ironing board or by purchasing interlocking blocking mats (I have a recommendation on the main Crafts Category page).
This is a stash buster friendly design, made with all the leftover bits of sock weight yarn you have on hand. Done up in a linen stitch, the finished result looks like woven linen fabric. Really nice!
A lightweight scarf knit with super soft 100% bamboo yarn on size US 10 straight needles. This is a simple mesh pattern that is well suited for Beginners.
A simple waffle stitch done up on size 8 US needles with Malabrigo Merino Worsted weight yarn (1.5 skeins). Finished size measures 7.5″ wide x 65″ long.
Dragon Scale Keyhole Scarf
Materials Needed: 3 skeins worsted/aran weight yarn & a pair of size 7 straight needles. Skill level: Beginner (knit, purl, cast on, bind off, weave in ends).
Column of Leaves
So lovely & it’s suitable for a variety of yarn weights (even lace). She recommends blocking it to really define the detail of the leaves. Includes a free pdf pattern to download.
This is better suited for Intermediate & Advanced knitters since it’s not a full, traditional pattern and some thought will go into it (though comments & additional updates are helpful). I’m including it in the collection because it’s a great design that’s doable for someone willing to work a little bit.
It looks the same on both sides & can be made with any weight of yarn. Design is suitable for men, women & children. Available via free pdf pattern download.
Here’s a nice scarf to practice knitting with lace weight yarn. It will drape nicely & be somewhat lighter to wear but will still provide plenty of warmth to chase away cool Fall weather.
Hooded with Pockets
Made in two pieces (hood & scarf) then sewn together. You’ll need circulars & a cable needle plus 900 yards of yarn to make this. Pattern via pdf download.
Finished size measures 8 inches wide and just over 60 inches long. Can be made with circular needles, dpns or magic loop. I love the dimension on this design!
Many of the designs on this page are suitable for both men & women but I think these in particular are especially nice for the fellas.
Cowls & Neckwarmers
Lots of lovelies in this batch, several are quick & easy and only need a skein or less of yarn.
This has a nice ‘n nubby texture to it and features a ribbed border on top & bottom. Worked in the round on circulars but also doable on DPNs.
Two different designs, each really nice. The first is called “Stonehenge” (6″ x 20″) and the other is a quick & easy cable designed cowl that measures 4 1/2″ x 18″. You can get two out of a single skein (worsted weight yarn).
Inspired by a $750 cowl spotted in a magazine, this utilizes the kitchener stitch to seamlessly graft together the last row with the provisional cast on stitches (plenty of online tutorials to help you out if needed).
Here’s a nice unisex design that the fellas won’t mind wearing, this was done up in fingering weight yarn (doubled) but worsted weight can be used. Finished size: 11″ wide (22″ in circumference) by 14″ in length.
Any Season, Any Reason
I think this is so luxe looking! Knitted in the round (simple slip-stitch pattern), this can be worn full/tall and scrunched down or folded double (as shown). Suggested yarns: Silk Blend (DK weight), Maxima (worsted weight), or Franca (superbulky).
A lightening quick design featuring a modified lace rib. This can also be worn as a headband.
Wow! Now here’s something that will keep you toasty warm during the cold winter months. The body of the hood is done flat & seamed at the back (mattress stitch). Stitches are picked up around the bottom edge for the cowl section. This was done in Lion Brand WoolEase Thick & Quick (you’ll need about 300 yards).
She recommends using wool or wool blend so it will block nicely, 100% acrylic not a good choice. Finished Size: about 4.5” x 21” & requires only one skein of worsted weight yarn (about 130 yds).
Helpful Tips & Resources
- Tassels can be added to most scarves even when the original design doesn’t include them. To make each of them exactly the same size, you’ll find general instructions listed at the bottom of the Knitting & Crochet Freebies category page.
- A flower (or 2/3) can be a nice addition to neckwarmers (depending on the style). I’ve also seen lovely scarves with wee blossoms done up (in the same yarn color) then attached throughout the length of the scarf or bunched together on the ends. You’ll find dozens of free patterns here: Blossom Beauties: 85+ Free Crochet Flower Patterns.
- If you’re wanting to “wing it” with something simple (like a garter stitch) & are a new knitter, here’s a good page for answering questions (such as how many stitches to cast on, how to determine gauge, etc.): SweaterBabe: How many stitches to cast on for a scarf?
- Quick tip for fringe: It lays nicer if the yarn is cut from the top of the skein (towards the end it gets curly). Source: positori.blogspot.com.
- How long should a scarf be? How wide? What yarn should you use? There are no firm answers but a good guide can be found here: Lion Brand: 5 Steps To Designing Your Own Scarf.
- Why not make a matching hat for your new scarf, you’ll find loads of ideas here: Handmade Winter Hats For The Family: Knit & Crochet.