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Somewhere in the mid 1950s, Elizabeth Zimmermann knitted a tubular five-foot long Rugby Scarf for her husband, Arnold. (This was long before the days of Dr. Who.)

She chose pure Shetland wool in Silver Grey for the main color and added narrow stripes of alternating Scarlet, Natural Black and Moorit, she told me, “. . . to keep myself amused, and to mark my progress.”

It was neatly finished with Shetland Laceweight hems at top and bottom, and was such a handsome object that she submitted the idea to McCall’s magazine for their consideration. They accepted the proposal, and EZ mailed them the instructions, along with the scarf to be photographed.

When the scarf was returned to Elizabeth, two eight-by-ten glossies were included in the parcel. The note said that after the formal shoot, “the photographers and one of the secretaries” had some fun with Arnold’s scarf.

Henceforth, my father’s attitude toward his scarf was forever altered.

About The Author

Meg Swansen wears many hats—knitted, we suspect—as a brilliant teacher, author, visionary publisher of remarkable knitting books, and head of Schoolhouse Press, an online purveyor of books, patterns, videos, tools and wool.



  • Fantastic

  • Now, this is why I have read this blog from your first day! Love it!

  • This is so great! I was thinking about this scarf a few weeks back. I remember reading something about it, but am not sure where (was it that EZ wrote about it years back in Vogue Knitting?). Anyway, thanks so very much for this Meg, and for bringing it to us Ann and Kay.

    (BTW, was one of these pictures ever available as a postcard? I seem to remember something about it, but am not sure).

    • I think Schoolhouse Press still sells both images as post cards – it has been in their catalogue.

  • The idea that they even thought to try it on that way! This tickles me no end. And I too have seen it before. Ha ha ha ha ha.

  • So fun to read. Looking forward to more from Meg.

  • It would be impossible to choose a favorite MDK post, but this one has to be in the top 10. Thanks for starting my day with laughter.

  • Love it!

  • Who would’ve thought a scarf could be so sexy?

  • Best. Scarf. Ever!

  • I’ve seen the snaps before but had never heard the story – delightful! Love the closing line.

  • I love this story and can just hear Meg telling it. Thank you for a very bright spot in the day!

  • I knew EZ was a genius, but a scarf that can be used as a sheath dress? WOW!

  • Fantastic!

  • L O V E this !

  • Just great!

  • Great story !

  • Oh the fine variances in tone of a ‘real’ photograph!

  • I love this so much. Brilliant.

  • Haha! I can imagine the sly grin on Arnold’s face each time he wore that scarf after that! Well, if he were anything like my dad, anyway. 🙂

  • Your blog is fresh. I love this story about the striped scarf. Is it in pattern form somewhere?

  • Love these photos! Schoolhouse Press sells (or used to) postcards of the second photo.

  • That’s creative people thinking out of the box for you!

  • Bello! Brave!

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