All Hail the Snood!

"Snood" sounds like a Dr. Seuss creature, doesn't it? The snood has been around for quite a while—remember those hairnet type things in the 40s? They were the quintessential woman's look of the era, and when I see a photo of one or someone wearing one in a movie, that era is evoked perfectly. Today's snood is something altogether different—no hairnet involved!—it's really a garment that is part scarf, part hood, part scarf.

Even though the media is calling this accessory a snood, I think it's really better named an infinity scarf—no beginning or end—and you can wear it an infinite number of ways: as a hood, scarf, or shawl.

In our Tuned in to Knitting Daily TV blog, we recently welcomed Adina Klein, creative director for Tahki Stacy Charles and former editor in chief of knit.1 and Vogue Knitting magazines. She had this to say about the snood: "The fashion industry is touting the snood (a cross between a scarf and a hood) and the infinity scarf, or moebius, as the hot new accessories for winter 2009. Featured this week in the Wall Street Journal and last week on Oprah, these fashion scarves are hitting the mainstream and mass-market retail. But there's no need to tell knitters how fantastic they are—we have long been cultists of the moebius (a rectangle that has been twisted 180 degrees) as an easy and versatile project that is inherently reversible."

I took a stroll through our pattern store, and here's what popped out at me "snood-wise":

  Mossy Cowl  Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf   
Lacy Kerchief Scarf   Mossy Cowl   Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf
Lisa Daehlin   Katie Himmelberg    Anne Kuo Lukito  

The Lacy Kerchief Scarf can be worn as a shawl, a scarf, or as a kerchief. To get the kerchief look, simply drape the widest part of the piece over your head, with the lace edge at the back, and then cross the ends at your neck and toss them over your shoulders. Very Doris Day. The Mossy Cowl is an easy crochet project, and it's a free pattern, too! You can wear it as a cowl, or pull it up over your head for for a hood look. The Pfeiffer Falls Hooded Scarf is a lovely hood-scarf combo that's perfect for this time of year!

Twilight Lace   Nomad Hat and Scarf Candy Stripes Kerchief   
Twilight Lace   Nomad Hat and Scarf   Candy Stripes Kerchief
Laura Wallins   Kat Coyle   Kat Coyle  

Twilight Lace is a stunning scarf/wrap/hood that you can dress up or down. I think it's really gorgeous in the white silk-mohair blend shown in the photo. Perfect for holiday wear! The cozy Nomad Hat and Scarf is a wonderful combo that's interesting to knit and will keep the wearer warm and stylish all winter. Candy Stripes Kerchief is one of those simple patterns that's endlessly versatile: it knits up so quickly, and you can use any color combo. Silver-gray and white anyone? This one would look look like a million bucks with a little sparkle, too.

A Free Moebius Pattern

Today we give you a new take on the moebius with the Endless Love moebius, knit in a lovely lace pattern that's simple enough for even beginners to knit.

The Endless Love moebius is knit on a size 8 US circular needle. Just like everlasting love, this moebius has no end and no beginning.

This is a two-skein pattern (you'll need about 325 yards of a worsted weight yarn, like the new Tahki Stacy Charles yarn Dove).

Here's a video demo of Adina making the Endless Love moebius in Episode 303 of Knitting Daily TV:

If you're working on a moebius, infinity scarf, or snood, share a photo in the reader gallery!




Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

31 thoughts on “All Hail the Snood!

  1. Agreed – it’s not a true moebius, and the Knitting Daily episode gets the definition wrong. A Moebius is a mathematical shape with a very precise definition (see, and the only technique I’ve found for knitting a proper one is Cat Bordhi’s unique cast-on method rom her “Magical Knitting” books.

    It’s not a snood, either; that term, referring a bag-like hair covering, dates back to the 700s, and the current misappropriation of the term by a few designers will be lucky if it winds up as a footnote on the fashion history page.

    Call me cranky, but I’m really bored with the tendency to come up with “new” names by hybridizing old ones (“glittens” for the convertible glove/mittens of a few season back comes to mind). Bleah.

  2. Not a SNOOD at all! Think back in time or check your dictionary. My mac dictionary calls a snood an “ornamental hairnet;” quite right! Think about Marmee in Little Women with her hair in a pouchy net at the nape of her neck. This is a snood. Any of your other names will do fine for this handsome little item…but NOt a snood.

    Gennie Winkler, Lake Forest Park, WA

  3. I was so excited when I read the subject of today’s blog! I’ve really wanted to make some of these old-fashioned accessories and bring them into the 2000s with style and class.

    Oh, how disappointed I was when I realized the article wasn’t about the snoods of yesteryear, but something completely different. If there are other readers out there like me who were hoping for something a little more retro, take a look at the Snowflake Snood by Lucia R. Hicks (there’s a link to the free pattern over on Ravelry).

    I’ll note also that KnittingDaily may get dropped from my email inbox for the same reasons Interweave Knits was dropped from my snail mail box: nothing that interests me! I live in Arizona and I’m a plus-size girl. That pretty much rules out 95% of the designs in Knits. Maybe you guys should put out a magazine called Interweave Knits Home — I am not buying Winter 2009 Knits *just* for the Paper Lantern patterns.


  4. Anne I agree I was really disappointed to see that the article was not at all what the title purported to be about. I wish they would stop trying to change the names of things. If you want a name for such an article, make one up, don’t use a name that is already being used! I was so looking forward to seeing how to knit a real 1940’s hair accessory. Pat, you are dead on. Enough with the name changes!!!

    Might I state her also, I am sort of irked about all the little extra special issues that Interweave is printing now that are NOT being offered as bonuses for subscribers! I decided to get a subscription precisely to save money on the newsstand price and also to not have to go to a store to purchase. Now it seems like there is a whole other quarterly magazine being offered under the same name that must be ordered additionally or I need to go to a store to buy. Why not just make Interweave an eight issue a year magazine and include these “special issues” that seem to be coming out every couple of months (really not all that special when they come out so frequently!).

  5. HI folks! I agree that this usage of snood isn’t the same as the traditional snood from the 40s, see below from the post:

    “Today’s snood is something altogether different—no hairnet involved!—it’s really a garment that is part scarf, part hood, part scarf.

    Even though the media is calling this accessory a snood, I think it’s really better named an infinity scarf—no beginning or end—and you can wear it an infinite number of ways: as a hood, scarf, or shawl.”

    As times change, so does fashion, so I hope you’ll enjoy the new twist on the snood.


  6. I have to agree with some of the other comments concerning the definition of a snood. I am not sure you are trying to make a continuous collar of a moebius. I have knitted a moebius, and if I understand correctly, a moebius is a twisted piece. So, what are you really trying to make, a collar or a moebius?

  7. Hello,
    For a variation on your current suggestion of what is a “snood”, perhaps your other readers would like to see what a “standard” version of a “snood” looks like, (what I had always thought a “snood” to be, actually). What I’m referring to is the sort of hair “net” that was popular in the 1940s and 1950s (my mother frequently wore one that her mother, my grandmother, had apparently crocheted for her). Here’s a link to a “public domain” pattern that was originally found in “Madame Weigel’s Journal of Fashion” on September 1,1944:
    Best wishes,

  8. Well, it’s not a moebius, and doesn’t drape nearly as elegantly as a real moebius, but I like the stitch pattern. I might use it to make a real moebius; one that has the proper half-twist.

    Funny thing is, I coudn’t get a real good look, but it looks like the gray one on the mannequin might be an actual moebius, and not made the way she described at all.

  9. Thank God you wrote this post. I started a thread a week ago on Ravelry citing the comeback of the snood from an article in the Wall Street Journal. According to them, the tubular form of the snood was was originally popularized in the late 40s/early 50s and was huge in the UK in the 1980s. Anyways, my fun little post got more flak for it than you can shake a stick at. Who knew that word usage was such a big issue? It’s like jumpers vs. jumpers, only people got irate. Thanks for this helpful piece!

  10. A snood was never considered a scarf/hood/cowl in the 40’s and 50’s. This is simply an attempt to re-wrap a vintage term so that people will buy something. Fashion for the masses in the past few years has been about retro. They’re running out of ideas.

    As creators, we should keep our terms. So many methods have been lost over time because of “term recycling”. Just because this person called it “snood” in the Wall Street Journal doesn’t mean we have to let them. Employees and editors of Interweave are doing history of the crafts we love a dis-service.

  11. I like the patterns shared but I too was misled by the “new” definition of the term snood. In an art form that is as infinitely creative as knitting, it might be a good idea to take a few more minutes to create a name that fits.

    In response to the comments about the “special” publications that are not part of our regular subscription, I will add a thought ot two. First, your regular subscribers are the ones who have voted for your publication with their wallets and their loyalty — that used to count for something but perhap it doen’t anymore. Additionally, I have been very diappointed and close to insulted by the last few “special” offerings. Many of the patterns are not new but reprints from previous magazines. At the newstand/LYS price of $14.95 for the last one I purchased, I felt cheated when I sat down and really got a chance to look at it — I think I have over half of these patterns in my magazine archive. Many of the others were not that exciting and I would have returned it if it had been a book. All in all, with the knitting daily having become more of an sales vehicle than a technique, sharing and learning forum and the publications disappointing, I am almost ready to move on from Interweave. Too bad, because it used to be the first place I would look and the magazines I truly looked forward to seeing in my mailbox or on the newstand.

  12. I want to say that I have looked forward to the daily emails and enjoyed every delicious detail of the lovely things you offer up for us to make. However, lately I have had a bad taste in my mouth and today takes the cake! A rose by any other name…? You cannot use a word that already has a historical meaning and say it is something that it is not just to promote your products. And I don’t even want to talk about the total miss-use of the word ‘Moebius”. What’s going on Ladies? This use to be such an informative email now it is misleading and does not make me want to dash to my yarn stash with enthusiasm. …sigh…

  13. Hi!
    After reading the other comments I find myself in complete agreement. The Snood was a delightful historical accessory that still enchants many women with its simple grace. It is not a mobius cowl or a twisted scarf.
    I was so excited to open the email, all but drooling with the expectation of knitting up a snood with maybe a little contemporary flair for a holiday hairstyle. Now I am disappointed! These designers need to take the time to name their designs with what they ARE, rather than recklessly recycling descriptions that have nothing to do with their item. These same designers also seem to take fiendish joy in designing sweaters and other garments that will only look nice on an anorexic 13 year old. Any one with flesh cannot wear these garments and not look foolish or awkward.
    ok … I’m off my soapbox

  14. While I have my own issues with the misnamed snood bandwagon (I saw snood, remembered the snood my mom used to have and loved, and thought it would be the perfect Christmas gift for her, now I’m going to have to go find a pattern for a real snood) I do think ‘infinity scarf’ is a good name for this kind of project. I also have to say that both many of the commenters AND the lady in the video have their facts a bit off. The ‘dictionary definition’ sounded wrong to me, so I grabbed my own dictionary (eventually had to get my unabridged dictionary off the self for this, that thing is heavy!) and the definition goes like this: Mobious Strip; a surface with only one side, formed by giving a half twist to a narrow, rectangular strip of paper and then pasting it’s two ends together. I remember doing that in school. Anyway, after affirming what I thought it meant by the dictionary and seeing people say it wasn’t, I paused the video on the scarf she has. The curve of the edges of the scarf where the twist is does make it look wrong at first glance, but it really is a real mobious.

  15. I like Cat Bordhi’s method of casting on and her moebius design. This is a pretty pattern and it is a good thing to mention working a moebius in a reversible stitch, but cast on is awkward and I don’t see a snood either.

  16. I am so much in agreement with the others here and wish the publishers would pay attention instead of just getting their backs up. We are the ones who make the patterns in their magazines, we are the ones who modify or change a pattern to actually fit us or set out to fix ones that have errata in the published patterns.
    This is not a snood, so don’t try to talk down to us by telling us that fashion changes. Yes, it changes, but the names stay the same and we are smart enough to know that. I am sick and tired of magazine companies being taken over by wannabees who think they know what we want, desire or are too dumb to notice. A moebius is a lovely thing to make and this is not a moebius either.
    When I look for a specific pattern style, I expect to click on a link and find that pattern, not have to sift through a lot of ones that “claim” to be the pattern I want. So, please, whoever is making decisions at your magazine and the website. Pay attention to what people are complaining about and give us what we ask for or at least call it by the correct name. I also hate to subscribe to something that changes the rules, adds things that I have to pay extra for or flat out fails at what they are supposed to be doing.

  17. I am in agreement with just about everyone before me. A snood is a hair accessory. You can’t just use the word any way that you want. Snood already is a word and has been around for a long time. I has a difinition, you can’t just change it. Knitting Daily hasn’t been the same since Kathleen started writing. I just haven’t enjoyed the newsletters like I use to, nothing much I have found that is useful. Such a shame.

  18. Lots of snarky comments here… rather disheartening. Let’s try not to get personal, people. Mom’s advice of saying nothing at all applies as much on the internet as in person. sheesh.

    On an unrelated note, I’m unable to download the Free Mobius Pattern. Apparently, the problem is with the source. “…FreePat%20DOVE%20Reversible%20Knit%20Moebius%20%20Hat.pdf.part could not be saved, because the source file could not be read.
    Try again later, or contact the server administrator.”

  19. Usually I would not chime in just to agree, but in this case, the offense is just too much. There is a real definition for a Mobius scarf. Elizabeth Zimmerman has one in her book. It has to be made in a pattern that is reversible and becomes a Mobius in the joining. And a snood wraps around the hair, not around the neck. Another new style that I am working on is the wimple. There is a charming example in the Lace Style book and if you have the Nicky Epstein books on edges, you can see the possibilities of lots of different kinds of lace edges etc. I saw the article in the WSJ and have noticed cowls and circular scarves are becoming popular but please give things their proper names.

  20. It would have been nice to have an estimate of how many stitches to cast on for a Medium or large size ( or both so we have an idea how many need to be added or subtracted for sizes.

  21. Hi everyone! I am a beginner trying to make this Endless Love moebius. I ordered the yarn and was so excited to get it started but I ran into a few snags. Yes, it seems there are differences of opinions as to whether it is a moebius or not…but for the purposes of this call for help, please allow me to call it that. The one I started earlier this week has met with the dreaded rip out. I am trying again and watching the video. My question is…if I follow her directions, am I twisting the cast on row 360 degrees (one full twist)? Her hands cover the view half way through the twisting process and I can’t see exactly what she did. This may sound silly to some of you more experienced, but it’s not fun for me to rip this out for the third time and not know where I’m going wrong. The first time, I thought I twisted it, but apparently not enough because as the work progressed, I realized I didn’t have a twist at all…:( Anyway, if somebody can answer my question, as least maybe I’ll be able to get the first row done correctly….then from there, I’ll have hope! Thanks so much for your time and help. 🙂

  22. I enjoy your knitting tutorials but I would like to suggest that the interruption by the hostess during the most important part of the mobieus video(twisting after casting on) I thought was distracting and annoying. Do you twist all the stitches, some of the stitches, etc?

  23. I agree with this last comment because that is exactly the point where I got confused and missed something in the video. The hostess interrupted at the same time the demonstrator’s hands covered the view of the twisting after casting on. I do hope that we can get a reply soon as the project awaits….:) and I am excited. Thank you so much for any help you will give.

  24. I was intrigued by the title, but this is not a snood, as has been stated. We have made similar things as woven “garments” and called them cowl scarves, or wraps. “snood” is the early 2oth C. term for a hairnet. Would be nice to see some patterns for them. I thought of trying one of the circular knitted lace “doilies” and adding an elastic casing to it. May try it yet.

  25. Moebius is a actual definition from the field of geometry. This IS a “Moebius” scarf. When the knitter twists one side of her circular needle stitiches before joining, she has rolled them from the bottom to the top of the camera view. This is a half-twist, for those of you who want to make a true moebius. A moebius has only ONE edge. If you trace along the edge with your fingers, you come back to the starting place. A quick model to demonstrate is a simple paper strip glued together with a half-twist. I agree that the term “snood” should not be hijacked to mean something radically different from the original meaning. I hope I have been able to clearly explain “moebius” to all those who wondered. It is a rather amazing shape, which is why it is not easy to grasp at first glance.