I actually came up with this design simply because I wanted to play with the crocodile stitch a little but didn't want to make a whole shawl. The stitch gives loft, so it's very warm even when made from cotton, doesn't get into things like scarves do, and looks quite smart tucked into the edge of a zipped-up coat. I've made it from a couple of different yarns now, and it turned out well in both wool and cotton.
I highly recommend playing with the pattern. I'm noting in the instructions my suggestions for variations. I think it would look quite good in a sport-weight yarn, made with a smaller hook, to produce more rows of smaller "scales", for instance.
Hooks: I did these two with a size J (6.00mm) hook, but recommend a smaller one for people who crochet loosely or if you are using a lighter weight yarn, in order to maintain the crisp appearance of the scales.
Yarn: Both of the ascots in the pictures were made using worsted, but I plan to do more using lighter weight yarns in order to produce smaller scales. This is an easy one to play with the size of the yarn on, especially since the sizing is so flexible. In addition, the different types of worsted actually produced a different size due to the properties of the yarns. For the red one, I had to do two additional rows (one more set of scales) in order to produce one about the same size.
For those of you who are not familiar with the crocodile scale/dragon scale/lettuce stitch, I recommend watching this tutorial: Crocodile Stitch Shawl Crochet Tutorial - How to start which starts the same way as the ascot to see how the stitch starts, although I will explain using American notation.
Row 1: Ch 5, then ss to first chain to form a loop. This is your first base row.
The back, showing the base rows.
Row 2: Ch 3 more and turn. This counts as your first dc. Dc 4 more through the loop, ch 1, dc 5 up the other side of the loop to form your first scale.
Row 3: Ch 3, turn, dc through edge of scale at the base of the ch 3. Ch 1, dc through hole in the middle of the scale, ch 1, two dc in other edge of scale. This is your second base row.
Row 4: In this row, each pair of dc will get a scale, while the unpaired dc will get a ss to anchor the scales. Start with ch 3, then dc 4 times down one side of the pair of dc at the end of the previous row. Ch 1, then turn to dc 5 up the other half of the pair. Ss to unpaired dc, then dc 5 down the first half of the next pair. Ch 1, then dc 5 up other half of the pair. Continue to the last pair of dc.
Odd rows following should be the same as Row 3, until it is long enough to finish.
Even rows following should be the same as Row 4, until it is long enough to finish.
When it is long enough to fit around the wearer's neck comfortably with about 1" of overlap (Men should know their collar size, women will normally have sizes up to 15 inches), stop at the end of an even row. Sc across the top (the first row may look a little uneven, depending on the yarn, do the best you can), turn, sc across. For the third row, 2 sc, ch 2 or 3, depending on the size of your button, then sk the same number of stitches before sc the rest of the way across. Finish with a fourth row of sc. The stitch counts will vary for these rows, based on the number of scales. Finish off and weave in the ends.
Sew the button onto the end of the single crochet band opposite the buttonhole.