Knitting Blog: Moebius from the middle out

One of my daughter's best friends is a young woman she met at science day camp at McGill 5 years ago. When my daughter went up to Montreal for orientation at the beginning of her first year at McGill, S. was there, working as a tour guide for new students. S. also showed up, with tools, on the day my daughter moved into her first apartment and needed help putting together 6 pieces of disassembled furniture. My husband and I have seen S. on many occasions since, including when she visited our home last year.

S. has dual citizenship with Canada and Syria. She makes a trip to Syria annually, and brings back interesting goodies like Syrian cumin in huge bags. She noticed that I love to wear pashmina scarves, which my daughter gets for me in Montreal at a reasonable price. S. told me that she could get them in Syria for a song, and said that she would pick up a few for me the next time she traveled that way.

S. came back from Syria in January with five pashminas for me!

Such a generous gift, regardless of how inexpensive these scarves may have been. I decided to knit a scarf for S. in return.

After a search of patterns and yarns on hand, I decided on an interesting tubular scarf in mohair designed by Veronik Avery, who also lives in Montreal. This first attempt was an abject failure. After one sixth of the scarf had been knit, I knew it would be too wide and too thick to be worn comfortably. I frogged the scarf, and searched for another pattern. Cat Bordhi came through for me again, with a moebius ring scarf/shawl knit on huge needles from the middle out. I've only knit such scarves as rectangles that I then twisted and grafted together, so I was excited to try a new method that seemed more holistic - a moebius from the first stitch you knit.

The first item required for this project was a very long needle, which I put together from a cable needle kit that I own.

The cast on consists of simply looping the yarn loosely around the needle, first from the rear and then from the front. As you cast on, the needle coils around and you end up with two coils of needle with one twist. The first row is knit first through first one side of all the loops, the "top", then around through the "bottom" of all of the loops. Around and around and around you go, with no inside, outside, top, or bottom.

Here is the piece after about one row of knitting:

Here is the piece in early days, with pattern picture and yarn. The yarn came from my stash, a pink English mohair and a very lovely purple wool that I purchased more than 20 years ago.

The project has only 19 rows, but this actually equals 38 rows, as each row knits around the entire project from the middle out. The final step is the applied i-cord edging. I edged it first with the same combination of yarn used for the body of the project, and the edging did not work. Mohair has little stretch, and the edge it created was tight. I ripped it off, and instead applied an edging made up of three strands of the purple yarn. I like the results much better. The edge is much stretchier, has an interesting look that reminds me of a complex braid, and brings out the purple that recedes in the scarf beneath a haze of mohair.

This was a very fast project, tacking only two weeks to complete. I don't usually knit on needles that are as thick as my fingers, and it certainly speeds things up. The fabric is very light. It would seem holey without the mohair, which fills in the loops with with fuzz. The finished project, flat on a table:

And modeled by me.

I just wish I could give S. the scarf/shawl while it was still cold enough to wear it! But as she says, winter will come again.


  1. And a beautiful scarf it is! I almost wish it were cold again so I could wear it and REALLY show it off!


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