Subscriber Exclusive

A Little Gift: Small Change Scarf

As 2023 comes to a close, our wish is that you give yourself permission to play and time to use your handspun! As a thank you to our subscribers—and a nudge to use some precious leftovers or spin some fresh color—we have released a bonus knitting pattern.

Susan Z. Douglas Dec 20, 2023 - 11 min read

A Little Gift: Small Change Scarf Primary Image

Swatching is a great way to sample color combinations and needle size, especially when working with handspun leftovers like Susan used in her scarf. Photos by Matt Graves

The Spin Off editorial staff is pleased to offer a special end-of-year surprise for our subscribers—a colorful scarf to usher in the New Year with a bang. We are grateful for our readers, and hope you’ll find joy in the act of spinning and knitting as the calendar turns over to a brand-new start!

Susan Z. Douglas created this scarf after writing “The Curious Colorist: Small-Batch Dyeing for the Dabbler” in Spin Off Spring 2023. The article was accompanied by a group of brilliantly colored swatches worked in a slipped-stitch technique. Susan developed those design seeds into this two-sided, self-fringed scarf, and we are thrilled to share it with you here.

Spin Off subscribers can find the full pattern below, or use the link at the bottom of the page to download a PDF of the full article and pattern.


If small-batch dyeing exercises have left you rich in miniskeins of many colors, then this stitch pattern can be your payoff. It’s a bit sneaky. Even a seasoned knitter might be fooled into thinking it is worked with a stranded knitting technique, but it derives its punch from easy slip stitches alternating with plain rows.

Why “Small Change”? First, a small change to a rather unexciting knitting pattern—as happened when I first explored this motif and shifted from four rows of each color to two—is a fascinating way to explore color design. Second, this scarf pattern uses up minimal amounts of individual colors of yarn—small change in terms of yarn capital.

The scarf is worked in a fun pattern on one side and stripes on the reverse.

Color Placement and a Note about That Screaming Color

As mentioned in my article “Slipped-Color Exploration” (Spin Off, Spring 2023), value is important to make this pattern effective. For the patterned side, I generally used light colors for the solid-color rows and dark colors for the slipped-stitch rows.

Above all, though, my objective was to have fun and enjoy seeing the juxtapositions of lots of colors. There is one really bright color in my scarf. Do you see it? This color is a personal favorite of mine on its own, but I paused after knitting it into the scarf. It was so loud next to the other colors. There’s a pop of color, and then there’s a scream for attention. I considered ripping out that stripe and replacing it with a safer, quieter color, but then I thought, “Nah, where’s the fun in that?” I plugged my ears and let it scream.

Susan’s “screaming” color and a multitude of others that are subtle only by comparison

Spinning Notes

This pattern can be easily adapted to other yarn weights and color sequences. Here, I used DK and sportweight

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