Neighborhood Scarf Free Crochet Pattern
Today is free pattern day! Below is the free crochet tutorial for my Neighborhood Scarf which I introduced and explained in this post last week.
But for all of the nostalgia this scarf has brought regarding neighbors and good feelings, I felt impressed to briefly share a personal story. After viewing my current home-to-be for the first time, my husband and I were driving past the next door neighbor's house. Sitting at a bistro table under the shade of a plum tree was Jan. I energetically waved my first hello and she broke into a huge smile and waved back. I accurately predicted to myself, "We're going to be good friends." The day my moving truck pulled into the driveway of my new home, Jan approached me amidst the chaos and scurry and asked what kind of pizza my family liked best. After telling her about my picky-eater boys, she replied, "I'll have it ready for you tonight at 6pm." That was just the first gesture of her kindness, generosity and service which continued from that day forward. Thoughtful treats, fresh tomatoes from her garden, poinsettias every Christmas, taking my son trick-or-treating during an emergency, walks around the neighborhood, advice on how to stop gophers from punching holes in my yard, a sincere "How are you?" and then a pause to really listen--that's Jan.
We have had many "Chair Chats" which were typically initiated with a text from her..."Wanna chair chat? I'll bring the treats. You bring the drinks." Here's a photo of one such chair chat with strawberry shortcake (and fresh veggies from her garden).
She has been the epitome of a good neighbor--but also a good friend. Then 8 short months ago I stopped by for a brief visit when her devoted husband of 51 years revealed that she had received a devastating diagnosis--aggressive brain cancer that was quickly stealing her speech. The only thing she managed to say that day was, "How is your mom?" A perfect example of her thinking first of others. I am so grateful for her example of how to love everyone--her husband, her family, her neighbors. She passed away this week, and I will miss her. She was the best kind of neighbor, a giver and a receiver, and she brought much to my world and scores of others during her years as a kindergarten teacher, caring for her husband during his cancer treatments the previous year, and waiting on her porch with small gifts for her grandchildren as they passed her house each morning on the way to school. This brings me to today's Neighborhood Scarf.
The following quote is from the man for whom today's free crochet pattern was inspired...
"All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors--in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver." ~~Fred Rogers
If you want a full explanation about the random stripes of my Neighborhood Scarf, you can read the reveal post here. There were 305 episodes, each episode with a stripe to represent the color of sweater hand-knit by Mr. Rogers' mother and worn by him for that particular show.
So let's get on with the pattern.
- The dimensions of my finished scarf are: 8"/20cm wide (before folding) x 71"/180cm long. (Gauge isn't super critical but if you use a heavier yarn you will have a much longer scarf. This could be remedied by making it into an infinity loop scarf.)
- The colors of the stripes don't perfectly match his sweaters, but are merely an artistic representation according to the diagrams here and here. You can choose your own, but the colors of Scheepjes Cotton 8* (fingering 100% cotton; much less than 1 50g ball of each; 235g total before trimming fringe) that I used are:
- Yellow (551)
- Blue (506)
- Red (510)
- Grey (710)
- Light Grey (700)
- Green (517)
- White (502)
- Dark Brown (657)
- Light Brown (659)
- Black (515)
- Purple (661)
- Rust (671)
- Turquoise (712)
- Petrol (724)
- It is suggested to leave a long tail (approximately 4"/10cm) when joining and finishing for fringe which will be trimmed later. Yay for no ends to weave!
- When instructed to work between the hdc stitches, rather than inserting your hook under the two loops that are normally worked, insert your hook under all three loops--or between the posts of the half double crochet.
- Changing colors occurs at the end of each row by drawing through new color on final yarn over of the last stitch of the row and cutting the old yarn. (Remember, leave a long beginning and ending tail for the fringe!)
- Hook: 3.25mm
- Stitches used: ch, hdc, sl st (US terms)
- Abbreviations: rep = repeat, ch = chain, hdc = half double crochet, sl st = slip stitch, sk = skip, sp = space
With first color in stripe sequence, ch 42
Row 1: hdc in third chain from hook and each ch across, turn (40 hdc; ch-2 turning ch counts as hdc)
Row 2: ch 2 (counts as hdc), hdc between first and second hdc (see notes above), hdc between posts of each st across, hdc in ch-2 turning sp, change to next color in sequence (see notes above) (41 hdc)
Repeat Row 2 through each color change (305 rows).
When all 305 rows are complete, fasten off and do a happy dance because you are not going to weave in any of those ends! Here's what I did...
Fold the scarf in half lengthwise and tie a knot with the yarn from the beginning and end of each row (same colored tails). This keeps all the fringe on one edge and gives your scarf a smooth folded edge with fringe on only one edge.
To finish off the "neighborhood" theme, I added an optional little silhouette of a row of houses by slip stitching through both thicknesses. You can see the positioning of mine, but get creative and do it however you wish. I think it would be fun if the houses were varied, tall and skinny, shorter and flatter. If you've never done this type of surface crocheting before, here are a few suggestions.
Holding your working yarn to the back of the work, insert your hook through the fabric and draw up a loop. Insert your hook about a chain stitch's distance from there throught the fabric again in the direction of the design you wish to make, yarn over and draw up another loop and then draw it through the loop on your hook (first slip stitch done). Insert your hook again, draw up a loop and pull that loop through your hook. Continue in this way until your design is complete.
- Watch your tension and don't pull those slip stitches too tightly or your fabric will buckle. Once you get the hang of this, it's a super fun technique!
- Occasionally check the back of your piece to make certain the running stitch you see is how you want it. You can adjust it by inserting your hook into a different spot.
Now my brain is definitely in a mode to make this a blanket. It could be so cozy and I can just imagine it with a few little row houses along one edge.
If you are looking for alternative yarns for this, I also think Scheepjes Metropolis* which comes in a plethora of lovely colors from which to choose, and the new Scheepjes Bamboo Soft* (50% bamboo/50% cotton; 50g balls; fingering) would make such a lovely and soft blanket or scarf.
I hope you enjoy this pattern. Get creative and please feel free to share your makes with me in my Felted Button Crochet Community Facebook group here.
In honor of Jan, here's another winning quote from Mr. Rogers...
| On the Board | -- "If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."
Be well, my friends. You bring joy and kindness and happiness and color into my life. For that, thank you.
*This post contains affiliate links which if used by you cost you no more but may provide me a small commission that allows me to continue providing free patterns. Thanks for your support.