Fancypants neck brace, a knitting pattern

knitted neck brace, ready to be stamped on a coin

The first neck brace scarf was so quick that I was inspired to make another one. Usually I’m all about elaborate crafts that involve at least a year of delayed gratification, which I think makes me very vulnerable to the finished-object high. More more more!

I probably could have stopped before adding the fuzzy ruffle thing, but I wanted to make it weird. My vision was jellyfishy, but unless jellyfishes have a European royal court I’m not sure that really comes through. More of a bizarro-Elizabethan neck brace.

Here’s a snapshot through a dirty mirror that shows the front, and also, incidentally, a quite accurate representation of my personal idea of what I look like.

knitted neck brace, dirty mirror, self image

The creature itself looks like this.

neck brace laid out

Some patterns for knitting one.

  • Knit a long triangle. The decreases don’t have to be evenly placed.
  • I used random-width welts to make the fabric firm enough to stand up. (Alternating stockinette and reverse stockinette stitch.)
  • The main piece used about 50g of worsted weight yarn (one thrifted ball), on 4.5mm needles.
  • The ruffle took a few yards of mohair-esque stuff (again, thrifted and unlabelled) on 5.5mm… could have used much fatter needles for an airier ruffle.
  • I tried it on to place the buttons (actually a long cufflink-thing made out of two pearl beads and some embroidery floss), and to mark the start and end of the ruffle.

knitted neck brace / hall of mirrors

Purple neck brace, a knitting pattern

heroic knitting moment

I made this neck warmer in one afternoon, with no counting. Hooray! It even ended up with half a Darth Vader collar that I like, and made a couple dents in my crafting stash. Time for heroic poses in the bathroom mirror.

I was remembering this tapered neckwarmer and this scarflink (scroll to Oct 27, 2002) while I knitted.

It looks like this on its own, if you want to make something similar.

knitted neck brace laid out

This pattern is such a non-pattern that I insist on writing it formally, because it is funny.


  • 100g (60m) of thick and thin wool
  • 12mm needles
  • 2 buttons and thread


CO 22 sts.

Work in garter stitch, decreasing one at each end of random rows (approximately every 4-6 rows), down to 2 sts. K2tog.

Pull yarn through remaining stitch and leave the tail hanging out as a fastener.

Weave in the cast on end.

Sew or tie the two buttons together to make a cuff-link type thing. Button it into the outside layer of the scarf and wrap the tail around it to fasten. (Move or flip the button at will.)

The end.

reversible buttons for a scarf

All the ingredients have stories. Past projects, hand-me-downs, gifts, inheritances. That feels good.

Paging… a doctor… of some kind…

Knitted doctor mask

I’ve been trying to figure out who to name this knitted doctor mask after. It seems like surely there is a doctor who presides over fashion with accidental political relevance, the way Dr. Freud presides over objects with accidental sexual inuendo. Perhaps I am confusing doctors with saints.

Galen, in a heroic effort to work with my vague doctor-related presentiments, suggested Dr. Lagerfeld as the patron doctor of fashion. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. No, he isn’t really a doctor.

Free knitting pattern: cozy doctor mask

The mask is worked in stockinette stitch with a narrow garter stitch border, with garter stitch ear straps attached afterwards. The mask has decreasing short rows to shape the chin, and increasing short rows to shape the nose. It’s surprisingly warm and cozy to wear!

  • Gauge: 4.25 sts and 6 rows per inch
  • Needles: 4.5mm (or size to obtain gauge)
  • Yarn: under 25g of worsted weight
  • Size: adult (one size)

Row 1 (RS): sl 1, P2, K to last 3 sts, P3.
Row 2 (WS): sl 1, P to end.

These two rows make up the pattern (stockinette bordered by a 3-stitch garter border).

Main mask

Beginning at bottom edge, CO 30 sts.
Row 1 (RS): sl 1 knitwise, P to end.
Row 2 (begin short row shaping): sl 1 knitwise, P to last 3 sts, wrap and turn.
Row 3: K to last 3 sts, wrap and turn.
Row 4: P to last 4 sts, wrap and turn.
Row 5: K to last 4 sts, wrap and turn.
Continue in this fashion until you have wrapped a total of 5 sts on each side.
Row 12: P across (working wraps together with sts).
Row 13 (RS): work in pattern, working wraps together with sts.
Continue working in pattern for 12 more rows, except m1 inside each border on rows 15 and 23
Row 26 (WS): sl 1, P to last 7 sts, wrap and turn.
Row 27: K to last 7 sts, wrap and turn.
Row 28: P to previous wrap, P wrap together with st, wrap and turn.
Row 29: K to previous wrap, K wrap together with st, wrap and turn.
Continue in this fashion (keeping in pattern), until you have wrapped 5 sts on each side (the last wraps will be on the 3rd sts from the edges).
Row 36 (WS): P across.
Row 37 (RS): sl 1, P across.
Row 38: sl 1, P across.
Row 39: BO all sts purlwise.


Pick up 3 sts at top of left edge of mask. Work in garter stitch until strap is long enough to fit around ear. BO all sts. Sew end of strap to bottom of left edge of mask.

Repeat on right side of mask.


Weave in ends.

Tips and notes

The mask is pretty warm, and I think it would be a great alternative to a scarf. A face-warmer, rather than a neck-warmer. The obvious accessory would be matching gloves (ready for surgery!).

I can’t stop obsessing about the timeliness of a mask. It’s a disguise, in an era of paranoia about privacy and spying. It’s a gag, in an era of paranoia about censorship and secrecy. It’s a veil— one level more retro than burlesque. It’s kitschy like ninjas or pirates. It’s a surrogate beard for the ladies, since hipster facial hair doesn’t seem to be going away.

Three favourite recent masks:

Justin Timberlake in a bandit mask

Harajuku cosplayer on Flickr

Santos hoodie by Anticon

My head is full of plans for masks made of lace, eyelets, stripes, and checkers. Or tweed, for business situations.

Mossy scarf (with free knitting pattern)

Mossy scarf

Yikes! This classically headless blogger-photo was clearly taken in the fall. Hopefully last fall and not years ago! I found it during an expedition into one of the dustier corners of my hard drive.

It’s a scarf I made from some thrift store yarn.

I tried a few different stitch patterns before settling on this. The pattern made me happy immediately and I still think it really suits the yarn. It reminds me of Old Man’s Beard lichen in a big way.

Dropstitch garter is the True Destiny of skinny, gray-green, wool boucle. Who knew?

If you can’t work out the pattern from the photo, it goes like this (very easy and straightforward).

Mossy scarf

Gauge, needles, etc: whatever, it’s a scarf. Aim on the loose side.

CO 20 (or more)
Rows 1 and 2: K to end.
Row 3: K, wrapping yarn twice. Drop extra wraps on next row.
Repeat these three rows until scarf is desired length.

One 50g ball made a very, very long scarf. I wear it folded in half, wrapped twice around my neck and it still hangs to my waist.

Mossy scarf