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I have just finished making some men's scarves that are about 5 inches wide and 5 feet long. You can make shorter wider scarves that just go around the neck and tuck into the front of a jacket, or you can make long skinny scarves that wrap around the neck. The choice is yours. Generally men's scarves need to be a bit wider than those for women.
 

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I have a charity knitting book which has a pattern for a man's K2 P2 scarf. It is worked with 2 strands of DK, 2 x 100 gram balls and 42 stitches, 7.00 ml needles. Length is approx. 140 cm (4 feet 8 inches) but you are asked to knit until the yarn runs out. Another 100 gram ball is used to knit a matching K2 P2 beanie with an 8 cm (approx. 3 inch) turnback. Number of stitches is 70, but I generally use 74 or 78 for a man, especially if the yarn is a bit thin.

Work in K2 P2 until 26 cm (10.5 inches) in length. To decrease for the crown, knit all of the knit stitches together, then work 3 rows. Then purl all of the purl stitches together, then work 3 rows. Next row is K1, K2 tog right across the row (18 stitches remain if working with 70). Then P2 tog right across the 10th row. Pull yarn through remaining stitches.
 

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The seaman's church site linked above has at least 2 good patterns. One is a type of basket weave scarf which looks shorter and wider, and might be suitable for tucking into the front of a jacket.

I also enjoy buying 3 x 100 gram balls of thin DK in different colours and winding them together to make a scarf as follows. Choice of needles might be between 6.00 and 8.00 ml depending on the yarn thickness and individual tension.

Cast on 26 stitches and work 3 rows of garter stitch. You can use more or fewer stitches by adding or taking away 3.

Row 1: K2 P1 K2 across.
Row 2: P2 K2 P2 across.
Row 3: As row 1.
Row 4: Knit right across.

When the yarn is running out, work a full 4 row pattern and then do 2 more rows of garter stitch. Cast off fairly tightly so it does not splay out too much. You can also make this pattern without the garter stitch at either end of the scarf.

I use this pattern for both men and women. The length is generally about 135 cm or longer if you are using a light weight DK yarn. You can also make this scarf with 2 strands of slightly thicker DK or light worsted weight yarn instead of 3 thinner strands.

The colours I choose tend to be 1 very dark colour, 1 medium colour and one semi-light. For a man I might use black/navy/lighter blue or grey, black/brown/beige. Black/red/grey or beige would probably also look good.
 

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GrumpyGramma said:
So many good comments regarding size that I have nothing to add there. I just finished a scarf that I think would be an excellent choice as it would work up well in just about any yarn. It worked great with RHSS Watercolor. It's about a half step up from mindless knitting IMO. Next time I'll work the first triangle so it has an even number of sts otn before starting the next one; it would make the "alternate ending" I used just a smidge simpler.
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/multidirectional-diagonal-scarf
Very interesting. Thanks.
 

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Maggie L said:
I'm so glad that I posted here because there have been great and helpful replies. Many thanks to all of you :)
Just another tip. The skinnier the rib on a scarf, the warmer it will be and the more stitches you will need to cast on to get the same width. Although they do tend to spread a bit when placed around the neck.
 
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