Ancient Stitch Scarf
As far as stitch patterns go, I’ve never encountered one with a more interesting backstory than this. Named Dura-Europos after an ancient Syrian town on the banks of the Euphrates river, a swatch of it is the oldest known piece of knitting in existence. Two thousand years later, the Dura-Europos stitch pattern is the source of inspiration for our big, cozy, and very modern Ancient Stitch Scarf!
This delicate, embossed-looking motif, achieved primarily by knitting and purling into the backs of the stitches, is beautifully articulated in Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino. We used icy-green Artemisia, evocative of pale river stones and antique jade treasures, perfect for ancient stitches!
Replicating this vital piece of knitting history was a real time travel experience: bringing the past into the present, connecting to all the knitters in the river of time, and adding my voice to the ancient chorus. First century stitch patterns make gorgeous 21st century scarves! –Kristy
Share your progress and connect with the community by tagging your pics with #PurlSoho, #PurlSohoBusyHands, #PurlSohoAncientStitchScarf, and #PurlSohoSuperSoftMerino. We can’t wait to see what you make!
- 5 skeins of Purl Soho’s Super Soft Merino, 100% merino wool. Each skein is 87 yards/ 100 grams; approximately 435 yards required. This is the color Artemisia Green.
- US 11 (8 mm) knitting needles, circular or straight
15 stitches = 4 inches in the stitch pattern
11¾ inches wide x 70 inches long
p tbl (purl through the back loop):
Bringing the working needle toward you (in a usual purl motion), purl through the back leg of the stitch, rather than the front. This twists the stitch.
inc (increase into purl bump):
Knit into the purl bump of the next stitch, leave the stitch on the needle, then knit into the back of the next stitch. This is a 1-stitch increase.
pfb (purl front and back):
Purl as usual into the front of the next stitch, leave the stitch on the needle, then purl into the back of the stitch. This is a 1-stitch increase.
This scarf has a 7-stitch border on either side of two repeats of the pattern. Here’s how to work the border stitches…
Right Border (right side): K1, [k1 through the back loop (tbl), p1 tbl)] three times.
Left Border (right side): [P1 tbl, k1 tbl] three times, k1.
Right Border (wrong side): K1, [p1 tbl, k1 tbl] three times.
Left Border (wrong side): [K1 tbl, p1 tbl] three times, k1.
Cast on 44 stitches. We used a basic Long Tail Cast On.
Row 1 (wrong side): Right Border (see Notes, above), [k1, p2 tbl, k1, p7 tbl, k1, p2 tbl, k1] twice, Left Border. Double-checking that, on the wrong side you really do work the right border, then the left border.
Row 2 (right side): Right Border, [p1, inc (see Notes, above), k1 tbl, p1, k1 tbl, k2 tog, k1 tbl, k2 tog tbl, k1 tbl, p1, k1 tbl, inc, p1] twice, Left Border.
Row 3: Right Border, (k1, p3 tbl, k1, p5 tbl, k1, p3 tbl, k1) twice, Left Border.
Row 4: Right Border, [p1, inc, k2 tbl, p1, k2 tog, k1 tbl, k2 tog tbl, p1, k2 tbl, inc, p1] twice, Left Border.
Row 5: Right Border, [k1, p4 tbl, k1, p3 tbl, k1, p4 tbl, k1] twice, Left Border.
Rows 6 and 8: Right Border, [p1, pfb (see Notes, above), k3 tbl, k2 tog, k1 tbl, k2 tog tbl, k3 tbl, pfb, p1] twice, Left Border.
Row 7: Right Border, [k2, p11 tbl, k2] twice, Left Border.
Row 9: Right Border, [k1, p1 tbl, k1, p9 tbl, k1, p1 tbl, k1] twice, Left Border.
Row 10: Right Border, [p1, inc, p1, k2 tbl, k2 tog, k1 tbl, k2 tog tbl, k2 tbl, p1, inc, p1] twice, Left Border.
Repeat Rows 1-10 until piece is just shy of 70 inches (or desired finished length), ending with Row 1.
Bind off all stitches. Cut yarn and pull it through the remaining stitch.
Pick up 44 stitches along the cast on edge, binding off as you go.
Weave in the ends and block as desired.