the not – moss stitch scarf

A few weeks ago, I found myself on Gap’s website. While this is not an usual occurrence (love their jeans!) I did click on the accessories tab, which I don’t always do. As a knitter myself, I frequently find it hard to buy knit items from the store – it’s too easy to say ‘oh, I could make that!’

Reality is, I rarely make it. I could probably count on one hand what I’ve said that phrase about then promptly forgot about the item. I guess it helps me save more money?

Anyways, I really liked this circle scarf that I found at Gap, and almost bought it, as there was a sale and it was about the price of two good skeins of yarn. Gap called it the ‘Moss stitch scarf’:
Yes,I do know that is a picture of a hat. But Gap has since apparently sold out of the scarf version and this shows the texture nicely.

What confused me, though, is this is not a moss stitch. Now, I know that I don’t know every kitting stitch in the world, but according to my google searches, that is neither the American nor the European version of moss stitch. (the bright colored version of the scarf does actually have the correct moss stitch – named the ‘Moss stitch cowelneck’)

This is the moss stitch:

After extensive googling and a search trail I probably couldn’t duplicate if I wanted to, I found this stitch:

which is called the syncopated brioche. I had never heard of brioche knitting before, but the was the stitch I was looking for, and what better way to learn a new stitch than on a simple scarf project!

Brioche knitting is apparently some sort of Middle Eastern knitting technique that produces a completely reversible fabric (same on both sides) and can be used to create single columns of color without having to carry them. It achieves all of this by a combination of knits, purls, and lots of yarn overs – basically knitting each row twice. That was one of the hardest things to learn, how to count what row I was on! Subsequently, this stitch makes a very warm and ‘fluffy’ material, which is just perfect for a scarf!

After trying to first knit this scarf in the round, as I knew I wanted it to be a circle scarf, ย and starting over for the 4th time, I decided that the straight method would be easier to follow. Now that I’ve knit it once, I think I could pull off knitting it in the round, but this is a really confusing stitch to start out with. However, once you get going, its almost as simple as your stockinette stitch.

So! If you want to make one of your own, here’s the simple pattern. I used size 9 needles and a worsted weight wool yarn that didn’t itch my face when I felt the skein. I think I used ~ 250 yds of yarn, two skeins of the wool yarn.

Loosely cast on 180 stitches

Set up Row: *yf sl1yo, k1; rep from *.
Rows 1-6:
*yf sl1yo, brk1; rep from *.
Rows 7-12:
wyif, *sl1yof, brp1; rep from *.
Repeat Rows 1-12 until you reach your desired width.

Cast off when it is as wide as you’d like, or if you start running out of yarn! Make sure to use a loose/stretchy cast off! Then just stitch up the seam and off you go! I chose not to make an infinity scarf (placing a twist in the scarf before seaming) but you could definitely do that for a different look!

See? Only three basic rows to master. The trick is learning to read the terminology, which is not usually present in traditional knitting patterns. Basically, here’s how to interpret the terms:

yf: yarn forward. bring the yarn to the front of your needles like you were going to purl the next stitch (through the needles).

sl1yo: slip one yarn over. slip the next stitch purl-wise and bring the yarn over to the back side of your work again, though this time over the needle and not through the needles.

sl1yof: slip one yarn over then front. slip the next stitch purl-wise and then essentially wrap the yarn around the needed. The yarn over brings the yarn to the back of the needle and the front brings the yarn back to the front.

brk1: bark one. knit together the next stitch, with the yarn over created in the previous row.

brp1: burp one. purl together the next stitch, plus the yarn over created in the previous row. Generally, you’ll do this stitch after a sl1yo, which means that you’ll need to bring the yarn back through the needles to purl the stitches.

wyif: with yarn in front. literally, just make sure you start the row with your yarn in front of your needles.


If all of that is too confusing to read, that are lots of youtube videos around (look for regular brioche knitting to get started) – just be forewarned that pretty much nobody knits this in the English style (which is how I knit) so the videos may be a tad confusing at first!

Don’t worry if your scarf doesn’t look perfect to begin with, mine has more mistakes in it than I’d like to admit…mostly I couldn’t remember to count to 6 and some of my sections are a bit long. The solid color and chunkiness of the scarf easily hides most of the mistakes ๐Ÿ™‚ I found this stitch to be really difficult to pull out, due to all the yarn overs, so I avoided that and just went with whatever mistakes I made. I also ran out of yarn, so the cast off had to come in the middle of the 6 row set, oh well!


6 thoughts on “the not – moss stitch scarf

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