As promised, today I have the pattern for my eternal serpent scarf. I’m calling is an ouroboros pattern, because ouroboros is a serpent eating its own tail, an ancient symbol for infinity.
Although pattern isn’t quite the right word… I think it’s more of a recipe. Because I don’t want to tell you just how to make a scarf like mine, but rather how to make a range of different items that share the same interesting concept and techniques. This will becomes clearer as we go along.
My eternal serpent scarf was made using worsted-weight (10-ply yarn) and a 6 mm hook. I used approximately 180 m of two different colours: my handspun lime sorbet yarn and Manos del Uruguay Maxima in the colourway Agua.
Obviously if you make a different items you’ll need different supplies. And even if you’re making a scarf like mine, you might feel like using a smaller hook for a denser fabric, or a larger hook for more drape, it’s up to you.
1. We start the ouroboros by creating a row of foundation stitches. I used double crochet (treble crochet in the UK terminology) for my scarf. If you wanted an item that was lacier you could use triple crochet, and for a more compact project you could use half-double crochet. Single crochet is too short (in my opinion) for use with post stitches.
The length of your foundation row will determine the circumference of your finished project. There’s really no need to count stitches in this project. My scarf is 165 cm around, which allows me to wrap it around my neck twice with a fair bit of room left over. But you could use this pattern to make a longer or shorter scarf, a cowl, or something else entirely, like the little sample project I’m making here, which is around wrist length.
Remember that there will be a twist in the project, which will add bulk. You might want to add a few more stitches to the foundation row to account for that.
2. Now we create the Möbius strip that is central to this pattern. This is achieved by adding one half-turn to the foundation row. Try holding each end in a hand and then turning one hand towards your body.
3. To finish the process we need to join the ends of the Möbius strip together. I start by using an invisible join. Remembering that here you’re joining the top of one end to the bottom of another, not that this is an issue, because the use of foundation stitches means that both edges are the same.
4. Now that we’ve secured one edge of the strip, we use our yarn needle to join the other edge, running the cut end of the yarn down the last foundation stitches and up the first. Don’t pull these stitches too tightly together, because we’ll need to work around them separately in the next round, we want them to resemble the rest of the round.
5. And now we have our first round finished, and a Möbius strip created.
6. We start the next round with a standing stitch, working around the post, rather than into the top of the stitch below. From now on the body of the project will be worked in front-post stitches. I like to offset the point at which I start each round, to minimise any visible seam in the work.
7. Continue the round in front-post stitches. When we reach the stitch we first worked into, we’ll be on the opposite side from where we started. This is because a Möbius strip only has one side and one edge, and we’re only halfway around.
8. Thus, we continue working around the Möbius strip, working into the other side of our foundation row, until we come back to the start.
9. And we can join our second round using an invisible join.
10. The third round starts like the second, with an offset standing stitch.
11. And ends with an invisible join. The only difference here is that we’re no longer working into the foundation row, and so we work into each stitch of the round below only once.
From here you can repeat steps 10 and 11 as many times as you wish, until your project is the width you want. In my eternal serpent scarf I worked 7 rounds as well as the original foundation round.
12. I finished my scarf with a round of reverse single crochet. You could use a different edging, or skip edging altogether, but I do think that reverse single crochet complements this project nicely.
Now it’s time weave our ends. I also like to wash my work, although because I’m embracing the natural curl and movement of the post stitches, I wouldn’t block. When the project is dry I would work my way around, holding onto either side and pulling outward, to make sure that all the post stitches are sitting evenly.
And here’s my finished mini ouroboros.
Which doubles as a cute bracelet.
Or kitty necklace.
But of course, you can make the bigger version and have a lovely soft scarf. You can see how the post stitches cause the scarf to curl, adding to the ‘serpent’ quality.
And because we must work the Möbius strip ‘twice’ to get back to the start (technically it’s only once, because that’s how Möbius strips work, but you know what I mean), we end up seeing front-post stitches on one side (here the right) and back-post stitches on the other side. In what I think is a very cool effect :)
A few things to keep in mind as you work this project. If you want you could work it all in one colour, although I will make it a little harder, at least at first, to keep track of where in the round you are. And you may choose to avoid cutting your yarn by joining with a slipstitch and skipping the standing stitches at the start of the round. When I’m starting a new round of post stitches I like to skip any chains and simply move from the slipstitches into the first post stitch, but experiment and see what works for you.
However, because the back of our front-post stitches will be visible in this project, the unworked tops of the stitches will be visible as well. This means that the inconsistencies introduced by slipstitches, chains, etc will be easier to spot. Thus, you might want to consider cutting your yarn even if you’re only using one colour. And remember, being a Möbius strip, each round takes you around the project ‘twice’, so you’d be cutting the yarn half as often as you would otherwise have to.
You can find the Ravelry page for this pattern here.