You'll need the following materials to crochet a scarf:
- Fiber: yarn, crochet thread, or similar material
- Crochet Hook: Choose a crochet hook in a size that works with your chosen fiber; if you've chosen to use a fine crochet thread, you'll want to select a small steel crochet hook. If you're using yarn, take a look at the yarn label to see which size crochet hook the manufacturer recommends using with the yarn. The suggested hook size is a guideline you can use, but it isn't mandatory for you to stick to it; it's a good starting place if you haven't already developed personal preferences for which size hook you might like to use to crochet your scarf.
- It's also helpful to have a tapestry needle and a tape measure handy.
Get Specifics When Crocheting Scarves for Charity:
If you are crocheting scarves for charity, you'll want to check with the charity you're going to work with for fiber recommendations. Each charity has its own criteria for what people should make their projects out of. The charity may reject scarves that are not made with their preferred materials, so be careful to find out about their specific requirements ahead of time.
Give Your Yarns the "Touch Test":
When you crochet a scarf, you need to be selective about the yarn or thread you use. If you're making a scarf that's likely to come into contact with the wearer's skin, you'll want to choose a soft yarn. This isn't as crucial if you're making a winter scarf that would be worn overtop of a turtleneck or wrapped overtop of your outerwear. But, generally speaking, it's a good idea to design a scarf with the assumption that it'll be touching your neck. Since the neck is a particularly delicate spot, it's a good idea to pick a soft yarn.
In my experience, it isn't sufficient to touch the yarn with your hands; you'll want to actually hold the yarn against your neck in order to decide whether it's going to work or not. You might feel a little silly doing this at the yarn store, but it beats buying a bunch of yarn that won't work for its intended project. I've found that my neck is more sensitive than my hands are, and that even yarns which feel soft to my hands don't always feel as good when worn around my neck.
For use in crocheted scarves, cotton has both pros and cons. Because of its softness, cotton is one of my go-to fibers for making scarves. As a Southern Californian, I wear my cotton scarves all year long; they're an essential part of my wardrobe.
While cotton yarn is a favorite of mine, it also has its pitfalls when it comes to scarf-making:
- Cotton does not retain its warmth when it's wet, so it isn't a good choice for crocheting scarves you'd want to wear in the rain or snow.
- Cotton is also heavy, so when you use it, you have to be careful with the design choices you make. I once designed a solid tube scarf out of a bulky cotton; the scarf turned out so heavy that, the first time I put it on, I literally felt like it was weighing me down. I ended up unraveling the whole thing and using the yarn to crochet an altogether different project.
If you want to use bulky cotton yarn to crochet a long or wide scarf, it's a good idea to keep the weight in mind, and find a way to offset it; for example, an open lacy stitch might work well, as it did in my lacy striped scarf. You can see a close-up picture of the lace stitch pattern here.
If you'd like to check out more cotton scarf examples, you might be interested to see this page of cotton scarf patterns.
Yarn from angora bunnies is both warm and soft, making it an ideal scarf material. Unfortunately, angora yarn is expensive and it can also be a challenge to find, so an angora scarf is a luxury.
Silk scarves are dreamy to make and wear. Silk is a fantastic all-weather fiber, and it works up into lovely scarves.
Wool is a warm, resilient fiber that works well for crocheting scarves. The trick is to choose a soft wool, like a lovely luscious merino wool. If you're crocheting a warm winter scarf, wool is a fantastic choice; wool retains its warmth even when wet. So if you want a scarf that will keep the wearer warm even in rain or snow, consider using a high-quality wool yarn.
Alpaca yarn is a great alternative to wool; it shares many of the same properties.
Acrylic is a popular fiber for crocheting scarves. In the past, it has generally been both widely available and affordable, with an outstanding selection of colors available.
Depending on the stitches and pattern used, acrylic scarves can be warm, but they are generally not as warm as comparable wool scarves. For harsh winter conditions, if your goal is to crochet a very warm scarf, you might want to choose a warmer fiber than acrylic.
Eyelash yarn is another popular choice for crocheting scarves. You can see some examples on this page: eyelash yarn patterns. Some eyelash yarns can be tricky to crochet with; if you anticipate crocheting an eyelash yarn scarf, be sure to check out these tips for crocheting with eyelash yarn.
More Yarn Info:
This list above is not comprehensive; there are many other possibilities. If you'd like to learn more about yarn, please be sure to visit my pages about crochet supplies and crochet yarn. Some of you might also like to learn more about the yarns I recommend for total beginners.