Dr. Montville's Double Helix Seaman Scarf

This pattern is freely available at http://www.twosheep.com/helix. It is not to be distributed, sold, or reproduced in any form without the author's explicit, written permission. The pattern is copyright 1999-2011 by June Oshiro. For pattern support, contact joshiro@gmail.com.


Please note that the orginal yarn has been discontinued. The fiber content and weight is provided for informational purposes only.

Haneke Exotics, 25% Baby Alpaca, 25% Merino, 50% Tencel
Sport weight (~120 yds / 50 g), White (color #20723)

4 hanks - includes enough yarn to make a 6"x4" swatch (you'll have a little left over if your scarf has the same dimensions as mine)

US 2 (2.75 mm) and US 4 (3.5 mm)

12 stitches and 18 rows per 2 inches in seed stitch (see below), using larger needles

Cabled region is ~23" long and ~6" wide, neck ribbing section is ~12" long (ribbing will be slightly narrower than the rest of the scarf)

Seed stitch:
On an even # of stitches:
Row 1: k1, p1, repeat till the end
Row 2: p1, k1, repeat till the end

Right twist mini-cable, aka Classic Mock Cable:
Row 1 (right side): K2
Rows 2 and 4 (wrong side): P2
Row 3: Knit the second stitch (leave the 1st stitch on the needle and work around it), then knit the first stitch, slip both stitches off the needle

Left twist mini-cable, aka Tamerna Stitch:
Row 1 (right side): K2
Rows 2 and 4 (wrong side): P2
Row 3: Knit the second stitch through the back loop (leave the 1st stitch on the needle and work around it), then knit the first stitch through the front loop, slip both stitches off the needle

DNA cable:
See the separate page for charted instructions. (If it does not automatically launch, right-click and select “Save link as” or “Save target as” to save to your computer.) Written instructions for the DNA cable are available here.

Knit the last stitch of every row. Slip the first stitch of every row as if to purl.

Using the smaller needles, cast on 40 stitches (includes 2 selvedge stitches). Instructions for the selvedge are given above and are not explicitly written out in the pattern.

Knit 8 rows of seed stitch. Switch to larger needles

Set up the scarf pattern: 5 stitches in seed stitch pattern, purl 2 stitches, 2 stitches in right twist mini-cable, 20 stitches in DNA cable, 2 stitches in left twist mini-cable, purl 2 stitches, 5 stitches in seed stitch pattern.

Following the pattern as set, knit rows 1-38 of the DNA cable pattern. Repeat rows 3-38 of the DNA cable four more times (five repeats in all), ending the final repeat with rows 39-40 of the DNA cable.

Set up the back neck ribbing as follows: k5, (p4, k4) three times, p4, k5. Knit until ribbing is ~12" long.

Set up the scarf pattern again as before, except switching the left and right twist cable positions. This will ensure that the cables twist outward from the center when the scarf is worn. The DNA cable does not need to be inverted - it looks the same right side up and upside down. Knit five repeats of the DNA cable (similar to the first half). Switch to smaller needles, knit 8 rows of seed stitch, and bind off.

Block by gently handwashing in lukewarm water, dry flat.

This scarf pattern was commissioned by Dr. Thomas Montville, a professor at Rutgers University (and also the photo model). Myrna Stahman provided clear explanations of the general architecture of seamen's scarves in her book, Stahman's Shawls and Scarves. The cable instructions were charted by Kim Salazar. Dr. Laura Arneson suggested changing the needle size for the seed stitch borders at the ends of the scarf to minimize flaring. Mondy Hambly provided the written instructions for the DNA cable, and Oogie McGuire test-knit the written instructions. My thanks to everyone for your continued enthusiasm for this pattern!

Last updated 2 February 2011.