A crocheted scarf makes a fabulous gift, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with plain old single or double crochet, but sometimes it can get a little boring. The following stitches (some of which I've used for multiple scarf projects of my own) make wonderful neck-candy, and they're a great way to practice a new stitch without just making a swatch over and over again just to frog it. I tried to include stitches that you don't normally see in your average crocheted scarf, so I hope you're pleasantly surprised by some of the inclusions and ways to use them.
You can find tutorials for these stitches all over the Internet, but I've included links to the instructions that best helped me learn them. If you love a stitch but find it a little bit confusing, feel free to look around for someone who's explanation helps you the most.
1. The Primrose Stitch
I first learned about this one on New Stitch a Day, and I'm not sure if it really shows up anywhere else. It's beautiful all the same, and will make a gorgeous scarf in a light or bright colored yarn that really lets the shape of the stitches shine. It works up fast. I've made several for Christmas gifts this year already.
2. Shell Stitch
A classic, and still absolutely gorgeous. You can do your scarf lengthwise for horizontal shells or across for vertical shells. The shell stitch makes a scarf that's thick enough to still be warm, but still delicately feminine. I especially like the effects you get when you do some colorwork here, but a solid color shell stitched scarf is still beautiful in its own elegant way.
3. Popcorn Stitch
A textured Stitch? On a SCARF? Get out of here!
No, I am not kidding, and I think you'll love running your fingers over the results of a scarf worked up in the popcorn stitch just as much as you would if it were made into an afghan.
The tutorial I like the best is this one from New Stitch a Day.
4. Chevron Stitch
Here I bring you yet an other stitch that you most often see used in afghans. I promise you that this will make a wonderful scarf, especially if you do some colorwork on it. I love using a variegated yarn with long color changes to get a striping or ombre effect without even switching yarns. Last year I worked up several chevron stitched scarves in Red Heart's Incredible yarn and only needed one ball per scarf. Everyone loved them!
5. Trinity Stitch
I've actually never tried this one out for myself, but it looks absolutely gorgeous and very simple to do. I'd like to see a version of it worked lengthwise. Perhaps I'll be the one to take the plunge.
6. Star Stitch
I love the star stitch. It's so very cute and whimsicle, and easy to boot if you use the right tutorial. I've had trouble understanding just what to do with most others, but this tutorial from Crochet Spot uses a half double crochet to end the row and is a lot simpler than any others I've come across. It looks cute as can be with some colorwork.
7. Granny Stripe
I know. I know. I KNOW. This is the third stitch I've got on this list that's usually reserved for afghans, but bear with me. I love this stitch on a scarf, especially with (you guessed it) a variegated yarn with long color changes. I've only tried it out worked lengthwise and with a roving type yarn (it turned out gorgeous), but I'm sure it would be beautiful worked horizontally as well.
8. Diamond Lattice Stitch
Another stitch I found on New Stitch a Day, which has quickly been my go-to for when I want to work a long flat piece in a single stitch but don't know which one I'm going to use. I haven't tried this one yet either, but isn't it beautiful?
9. The V-Stitch
Ah, the V-stitch. A classic for making simple yet lacy and elegant scarves. I like to do my V-Stitch scarves in a relatively lightweight yarn and all one color, but I've seen some pretty awesome V Stitches done in all designs and virtually all yarn weights.