Mark's scarf from RENT: knitting on commission (with pattern formula!)

I got an exciting project started this week - my sister is paying me to knit her a scarf for her boyfriend's birthday. They are both huge musical theater nerds, so my sister asked me to knit her Mark Cohen's scarf from the musical and movie RENT.

Mark Cohen RENT musical Broadways scarf in Knit Picks Main Line knitting yarn

It's a simple enough scarf; striped stockinette in navy and white with a fringe. Lucky me, I found two colors of Knit Picks Main Line (75% cotton/25% wool) on clearance - Blueberry and Ivory. It's a nice yarn, would probably be great for garments. Sad that they seem to be discontinuing it. But I digress.

I really enjoy trying to copy knits. I get a real sense of accomplishment knowing that I have untangled someone else's pattern, using only my eyes and my knitter's experience. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I just get it close, but I really enjoy it. My Golden Compass mitts for instance.

Lyra from The Golden Compass film movie alethiometer mitts mittens fingerless glovesJoyuna free knitting pattern Alethiometer Mitts inspired by The Golden Compass movie Lyra Belacqua

I think a lot of knitters enjoy shedding light on mysterious patterns like I do. Copycat patterns are pretty common on Ravelry. For instance, Rose's mitts from Doctor Who, the Doctor Who scarf itself, or the Banana Republic hat or Anthropologie-inspired Capelet. Sometimes it's fueled by the love of a TV show or movie, and sometimes it's fueled by a knitter's stubborn refusal to buy knitwear. "I can make that!", you cry, needles in hand.
Penelope Cruz Volver knitting red lace cardigan cardiVolver film red cardigan Serrano pepper from Knitty knitting magazine

Things change when you're a knitter. You watch Penelope Cruz in Volver, and you're watching the movie but you're also staring at her amazing lace cardigans. You see the Harry Potter trailer but you're really looking at Hermione's hat. Knitters are weird. ;) And I love 'em for it.
Penelope Cruz in Volver film green lace cardigan knittingPhildar Gilet Court blue lace cardigan on Ravelry like Penelope Cruz's sweater in Volver


By the way, if anyone's interested, here's the quick-and-dirty pattern for Mark Cohen's scarf from the musical and movie RENT. It's very, very, very simple, but if you're a beginning knitter who loves RENT, I totally wanna help you out.

Mark Cohen RENT Scarf

Rent Broadway musical Anthony Rapp Mark's Scarf blue and white striped knitting

It's a stockinette scarf, 30 stitches wide, worsted weight yarn on size 8 needles. The actual movie scarf is of course finer gauge than that, probably machine-knit. So you can use any weight yarn you want, just use needles appropriate for the yarn and fudge the numbers accordingly.
You need 2 colors of yarn, navy blue and white (I'm using cream). I got 100g of each, but I'll probably have some extra.
After you cast on 30 stitches in the blue, your first row goes like this: k1, (k2tog, YO) to end, k1. That's for your fringe. You'll do the same thing for the last row.
After that, work 19 rows in stockinette stitch (that's knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side), with two or more border stitches in garter stitch (that just means you knit them instead of purling them on the wrong side). That's to help with the curling; you can leave them out if you don't care. It doesn't seem to help that much anyway. Blocking will also help with the curling if you want to do that, but it's not necessary.
After you've knit 19 rows in blue (you just finished a wrong side row), switch to white and knit 20 rows in white. Always change colors at the beginning of the right side row; otherwise your colors will show through on the garter stitch border.

Keep doing that, knitting 20 rows in one color and 20 rows in the next color, until you've got your scarf the length you want it (5 feet? 6 feet? up to you). End with a blue stripe, work your k2tog-YO row, and bind off. Make sure you have some extra blue yarn left, for the fringe!
Wrap the yarn around your fingers or a credit card or whatever to get your bundle of fringe yarn, cut the loop on one side, pull the U of yarn through one of the yarnovers on the edge, and pull the loose ends through the loop. Repeat for all the holes.
Ta da! You have Anthony Rapp's scarf. Awesome.

If you enjoyed this free pattern, please check out my other patterns as well! :)



  1. That scarf is going to look great! You are very talented and I admire you being able to knit something that you see. I wish I knew how to knit and it's on my list of things to learn someday!

  2. I certainly cannot design but I am very impressed by people who can deconstruct garments they see to create a pattern/garment!

  3. Looks like a winner best of luck and hope the birthday boy likes it.

    Dorothy from grammology

  4. Great post but I was wondering if you could write a little more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thanks in advance! Commission advance