Fishtail lace and cables scarf

by Stephanie on 25 April 2011

in Finished things,Knitting,Making clothes

Knitted scarf in blue wool

I found this pattern written in a notebook – it’s for a scarf that I made ages ago. Seeing as it was about the only thing that I wrote in the notebook, I thought that I’d put it here instead.

The pattern for the scarf was  inspired by old guernseys from the north-east of England, the intricately knitted sweaters that were traditionally made in fishing villages along the coast. Each village had its own distinctive knitting patterns: the small cables and moss stitch bands are characteristic of Robin Hood’s Bay in Yorkshire. As far as I know, the fishtail lace pattern is not traditional in guernseys… I guess that the holes in it would not make for a warm and water-repellent sweater to wear at sea…

I knitted the scarf in Rowan Classic Cashsoft Aran with a tension of 35 stitches to 21.5cm. It’s 41 stitches across: 2 sts of double chain edge, 5 moss stitich, 2 purl, 4 cable, 2 purl, 11 lace panel, 2 purl, 4 cable, 2 purl, 5 moss stitich, 2 sts of double chain edge.

Close-up of knitting stitches in blue wool

Double chain edge

Right side: sl1 knitwise, P1… knit rest of row… P1, sl1 knitwise

Wrong side: P2… knit rest of row… P2


The cables are worked in opposite directions so that they’re symmetrical (for some reason this seemed very important at the time). On the scarf, the row with the cable stiches (row 3) corresponds to rows 3 and 7 of the fishtail lace pattern.

Row 1: K4

Row 2: P4

Row 3: C4B (or C4F)

Row 4: P4

Fishtail lace panel

8 rows worked over 11 stitches

Row 1 (right side): K1, yf, K3, sl1, K2tog, psso, K3, yf, K1

Row 2: P11

Row 3: K2, yf, K2, sl1, K2tog, psso, K2, yf, K2

Row 4: P11

Row 5: K3, yf, K1, sl1, K2tog, psso, K1, yf, K3

Row 6: P11

Row 7: K4, yf, sl1, K2tog, psso, yf, K4

Row 8: P11

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Joan Broge March 5, 2013 at 11:32 pm

One question, 41 inches across for a scarf is rather wide. Is this correct? Or was your project more of a shawl or wrap?

I’m interested in making it and will wait for your response.

Thank you.



Stephanie April 15, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Oops, sorry Joan – I only just saw your comment. The scarf is 41 stitches in width – this makes it about 12-13 inches across.



Chris Tabuteau February 25, 2014 at 5:00 am

Hi Steph,
Many thanks for your Fishtail and cables patterned scarf. It was great to have a scarf pattern with a bit of interest, to reintroduce me to knitting, after many years of not touching a knitting needle. I was playing about with the Bow tie or Ascot style of scarf, where you thread one end through a ‘tunnel’ in other. Then I decided to try out simply sewing one end to the other, like a pull-on tie, so that I wouldn’t accidentally loose the scarf. So I used your pattern as an inspiration. In retrospect, I should have chosen a simpler wool, as the flecked and slightly furry wool I chose does not show the fishtail lace and cables as clearly.

However, I learnt a lot about fancier knitting in the process.


Stephanie February 25, 2014 at 11:27 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comment and glad that you found the pattern useful. I had a peek at your scarf on Ravelry and think it looks great. I know a plain wool is supposed to show the cables best but I really like the combination of the slightly furry wool with the pattern.

All the best,



Chris Tabuteau February 26, 2014 at 6:04 am

Hi again,

By the way, I noticed that your Gneissic scarf pattern is linked on Ravelry, but not this one, as I was going to link back to it. Did you want me to add the link??


Stephanie February 26, 2014 at 4:05 pm

Hi Chris

You’re right, I never quite got round to adding it to Ravelry – not sure why. If you wanted to add the link, that would be great.

Thanks very much,



Chris Tabuteau February 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm

I have added the pattern to Ravelry on your behalf, together with your notes. I think lots of people will want to make it. Thanks again, Chris.


Stephanie February 27, 2014 at 9:38 am

That’s very kind of you – thank you!



Sally March 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

What size needles did you use for this the Fishtale Lace and Cables Scarf?

Thank you for your assistance.



Stephanie March 10, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Hi Sally,

I think that I used 4mm needles. Hope that helps.



Vivien June 25, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Hi Steph,

I found your pattern on Ravelry and think it looks lovely. Do you find that the scarf curls a lot due to the cables, or is the border enough to keep it fairly flat?



Stephanie August 31, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Thanks Vivien! The cables seem to balanced by the lace and the border so the scarf lies flat.

All the best,



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