Ruffles and Corkscrews and Pearls, Oh My!

In my last post I wrote basic instructions for my Bohemian Scarf. Today I’m adding some ideas for embellishments, for all you wild things out there. There are so many ways to embellish these scarves, but I’ll tell you my favorites.


The easiest ones are to sew gemstones, pearls and crystals into random places all along the scarf. The nature of big, bulky handspun, when knit, is to have “holes” or spaces randomly scattered throughout. It is fun to suspend a few big crystals or freshwater pearls in some of these spaces in a way that you can see them from either side of the scarf. I also love to make little dangly, tasselly things at each end of the scarf. They don’t have to match! Stack up some seed beads and crystals with a larger pearl or gemstone at the end. They’re eye-catching and fun to play with when you’re stuck in line at the checkout!

  (more photos to come)

Another simple embellishment is to cut a 6-8” length of hand dyed silk ribbon and hold it with the yarn for a few stitches as you knit. Let an inch or two of tail hang out on either end for a nice contrast to the yarn. Scatter a few of these randomly throughout the scarf. If you’ve already finished knitting, you can weave or tie the ribbon on.

Sometimes I weave a 2 to 3 foot length of rustic handspun  – preferably a very colorful, thick-thin silk – in and out through the length of the scarf. Make a small piece on your drop spindle and ply it back on itself. You could even tie a length of yarn or roving to the doorknob, twist it, and fold it back on itself. Then weave it end to end through the scarf.


Now, whether you knit or crochet, ruffles are a must! I like to place them everywhere, but especially around the neckline, where they will be soft and warm next to my throat. Ruffles are especially nice in light, airy silk/mohair or lace-weight alpaca, cashmere or silk. Use larger needles than usual. I usually knit at least 4 rows and up to 10 rows for big, ‘ol floppy ruffles. For lace-weight mohair you can use anything from a size 3 to a 10 needle. It just depends how open and floppy you want the ruffle to be. The whole secret to ruffles is to make more than one stitch in every stitch. The more stitches you make in every stitch, the rufflier your ruffle will be. This goes for knit or crochet.

There are other ways to jazz up a ruffle, too:

1. Make your stitches different heights to produce scallops or waves. If you’re knitting, wrap more than once when knitting each stitch. The excess wrap will fall out when you knit the next row, creating a taller stitch. If crocheting, graduate from single crochet to double to triple, etc.

2. Pick up stitches at the end of each ruffle row, and/or bind off some stitches at the beginning of each row. This varies the shape and height of the ruffle, plus, it’s easy to get too many stitches for comfort when you’re increasing in every stitch, so bind some off, every now and then.

3. Add beads randomly throughout a ruffle. Using a tiny crochet hook that fits into your bead, grab a bead with the hook, grab the stitch with the beaded hook and take the stitch off the needle, slide the bead down to the base of your stitch, then place the stitch back on your needle. Knit as usual. Any size bead will work, depending on the weight of your yarn. I use lots of size 11, 8 and 6 beads with my favorite silk/mohair.

4. Crocheters can make ruffled corkscrews. First make a chain about twice as long as you want the finished corkscrew to be. Then work back up the chain by making two or three double-crochets (DC) in every chain. I usually make 5 to 10 DC’s in the first couple chains just to get it cranking well. It’s also fun to make the chain from different yarn than the DC’s. You’ll be able to see the difference when it’s dangling. Use these singly or in clusters, as tassels or scattered everywhere. They are just plain fun.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas you can’t wait to try. I will be adding more closeups soon. This is just a beginning, so grab your imagination and get going!!



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