“Stochastic” [stuh-kas-tik] is nerdy statistics lingo for random. Knitting is normally very orderly and predictable – quite un-stochastic. But on a recent backpacking trip, it occurred to me to design a pattern that could emulate the chaotic beauty of nature. Trees in a forest, ripples on a lake, snowflakes...
And the way to do that is not so much by designing a pattern as by not designing a pattern. So, for this project, chance will guide your scarf gradually from plain stockinette stitch to a field of flowers. Rolling a die to determine your pattern, every single person's creation will be unique. Pump up the go-with-the-flow mood by knitting on the bias and, if you want, using a fuzzy or single-ply yarn.
Thanks go to Barbara Walker for the inspiration for the flower motif and to my dad (an economics professor, and my backpacking buddy) for the name of the pattern. Photos by the incomparable Vivian Aubrey.
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Approximately 230-270 yards/210-250 meters of a yarn or combination of yarns that yields a fabric you like at the specified gauge. Mohair and alpaca blends and single-ply yarns offer a pleasingly organic, variable texture. Yardage may vary based on yarn weight and row gauge.
Suggestions: lace-weight mohair (or similarly fuzzy yarn) OR worsted OR fingering held along with lace-weight (using two yarns held together requires the full yardage of both)
US #7/4.5 mm OR size to get gauge for knitting flat. Straight needles or circulars that are at least 16" and ideally 24" or 32".
Width: 6"/15 cm (measured perpendicular to edges)
Width of row: about 7"/18 cm
Length: 54”/137 cm (or desired length)
Measured after blocking
This scarf is knit flat on the bias. It begins with plain stockinette stitch, then more and more flowers are gradually added. Flower placement is determined by rolling a die, so every person's creation will be unique.
20 stitches = 4”/10 cm in stockinette
Measured after blocking. Biased fabric is extra-stretchy, as is mohair worked at an open gauge as it is shown here. Gauge is not crucial, but will affect finished size and yardage.
Intermediate: lace, non-traditional instructions
2/2011 - published
3/2022 - Updates include: