Penelope Scarf

Right now I’m single, and sometimes I feel like Penelope from The Oddyssey, waiting for my hero to come. I wanted to make a scarf that captured that feeling, so here’s my free pattern.

Penelope Scarf:

“She set up a great loom in the royal halls
and she began to weave, and the weaving finespun,
the yarns endless, and she would lead us on: ‘Young men,
my suitors, now that King Odysseus is no more,
go slowly, keen as you are to marry me, until
I can finish off this web’
… So by day she’d weave at her great and growing web—
by night, by the light of torches set beside her,
she would unravel all she’d done. Three whole years
she deceived us blind, seduced us with this scheme…”

The Oddyssey 2:102-107,115-118

I love The Oddyssey, but probably my favorite character is Penelope. While her husband is away for twenty years and presumably dead, she spends her time tricking her suitors with an elaborate weaving project. I can imagine her sitting for hours working with her hands as a group of people gather around to watch her, then in the secret of night, crying her eyes out as she unravels all the day’s work. This scarf is inspired by Penelope. Worked in the round, a simple 2×2 ribbing transforms into subtle cables every few rows, giving the scarf a Greek architectural column look, especially if worked in crème yarn. The design is easy enough to memorize while spending the days pining for Odysseus, while at the same time interesting enough to stay mesmerized with the work.Materials:

  • US Size 8 DPNs
  • Approx. 400 yards of worsted weight yarn, or however much yarn you want for however long you want the scarf (I used 2 skeins of Bernat Berella, “Winter White,”100% Acrylic, 195 yards/175 meters per skein)
  • Stitch Marker (optional)
Gauge: Not essential for this project
*To cable without a cable needle over 2 knit stitches: Skip first knit stitch on left needle. Insert right needle in next knit stitch and knit. (Do not move any stitches off left needle.) Insert right needle in first skipped knit stitch and knit. Slip both knitted stitches off left needle.
CO 48 (Or multiple of 4). Divide onto 3 dpns and join in the round, being careful not to twist. Place marker
Rounds 1-4: K2, P2 around
Round 5: Cable without Cable Needle* in next 2 knit stitches, P2 around
Repeat Rounds 1-5 until desired length, ending on Round 4. Bind off all stitches.