Mistake Rib (or Man-Stitch): An Easy, Masculine Scarf, Plus Knitting for Men
It's so rugged and burly, I actually just like to call it "man-stitch."
Why? In a chunky yarn this is a perfect stitch for a guy's scarf or sweater, and it's super-easy - but not boring - to knit.
"Man-stitch" actually has a different official name: it's called Mistake Rib or Broken Rib.
Mistake-rib fabric is made in easy 2x2 ribbing, but the secret is to cast on an uneven number of stitches (a multiple of 4 stitches plus 3, to be exact) so that the knit and purl stitches don't line up.
Mistake Rib - Easy Texture Plus Challenges For New Knitters
Mistake rib is all about texture - the broken columns of knits and purls make the scarf lay flatter and stay more fluid than pure ribbing, but it's still reversible.
This is also a great project for you to practice reading your work and fixing your mistakes - after the pattern I'll give you some tips for what to watch out for.
The bulky man-stitch scarf is one of the projects in my new video e-book for beginners called Intermediate Scarves and Stitches, where we build the right foundation for intermediate knitting by practicing different knit-and-purl combinations, reading your work, and taking out mistakes.
It's great for knitters who've just learned how to knit, so start thinking of those special friends you've taught to knit but for whom you don't have the time to hold their hands all the way through to intermediate Superstardom!
Knitting For Men: Tone Down The Color, Go For Broke On Fiber
There are two things you must pay attention to when you're knitting for men, especially if you're making a gift.
#1 - Color
Ask him what his favorite color is - who doesn't like stuff in their favorite color?! What, he already has two navy-blue scarves? Perfect. That's how you know he likes 'em.
If your scarf is going to be a surprise, you will be mostly safe sticking to navy blues, greens, and shades of gray (if your guy is a lime-green-and-purple kind of guy, you'll already know it).
#2 - Fiber
Don't scrimp on the yarn quality - make sure it's soft and not itchy. Many men are less accustomed to suffering for fashion than women are - an itchy scarf will live at the back of the drawer no matter how much he loves you.
Use a pure Merino wool, or even cashmere or a cashmere blend if you feel like spoiling him - and your fingers. I'll recommend some of my favorite choices below, but before you buy the yarn, hold it up to your neck to see if it's prickly.
Warning: Alpaca feels soft but can sometimes be secretly prickly. Depending on the company, some alpaca yarn fibers seem to reach out and prickle your neck in the most irritating way. So rub the yarn all over your neck first to check for prickles.
My Tips For Yarn Choices
The yarn you choose should depend on how chunky you want the scarf to look, and how much time you want to spend knitting this scarf. The bulky scarf in the pattern photo took about two afternoons to knit - a finer yarn will take longer.
I really recommend Malabrigo for this project because Merino wool is soft and not itchy, and even the "solid" colors have depth and variety.
- For bulky yarn, try Malabrigo Chunky or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky.
- For aran-weight yarn try Malabrigo Twist or Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran.
- For worsted-weight yarn try Tosh Merino or Malabrigo Rios.
Semi-solid, kettle-dyed, and heathered or tweed yarns will show off this pattern the best. Self-striping yarns like Noro can be gorgeous in this stitch as well.
Knitting Pitfalls To Watch Out For
The most common mistake on this mistake-rib scarf is knitting or purling more than two stitches at a time. You get in a rhythm and all of a sudden you've knitted 3 or 4 stitches.
The good thing is, you'll know it at the end of your row when you don't end with a P1. If this happens, just take out your knitting one stitch at a time back to the mistake.
Have you tried Mistake Rib? Are you going to try it now? Let me know by leaving a comment!
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Knit-and-purl is fine, but greater things await you! Luckily, it is well within your abilities to improve rapidly and start knitting complicated projects.
Learn to cast on, purl, rib, choose yarn, fix mistakes, read your work, read patterns, increase, decrease, slip stitches, and more in this fundamental course for beginning knitters.