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Beautiful Shawls to Knit

Updated on September 17, 2019
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Kimberly has taught knitting, crochet, and loom knitting classes. She also tests patterns for designers and designs her own patterns.

Drop-Stitch Lace Close-Up

Lace shawl in variegated yarn
Lace shawl in variegated yarn | Source

Patterns for Hand Made Shawls

Shawls can add warmth, color, and/or style to almost any outfit. They also make wonderful gifts that always fit the recipient. Make a shawl for a hospitalized friend, a bride, a prom, or a new baby. Or perhaps you need a huge winter shawl to wear with a coat. Here are some patterns to get you started:

My own Australia Scarf is so named because I took it with me on my trip to Sydney. It can be a scarf if folded or a shawl if used unfolded. It provides lightweight warmth and is super easy to knit in a drop-stitch pattern that creates lace almost effortlessly.

The Trinity Stitch Prayer Shawl is made in Lion Brand's popular Homespun, a textured yarn that is nicely warm and soft. Many prayer shawl knitters use stitch patterns in multiples of three to symbolize the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If you plan to knit quantities of these garments for retirement homes or hospitals, this pattern knits up fast.

The Corona Prayer Shawl begins with three stitches that are increased on successive rows to create a triangular shape. If you can hold two yarns together as one strand, knit, and knit-in-front-and-back to increase, this pattern will be no problem for you. Triangular projects are wonderful when you are using stash yarn of uncertain yardage -- just start at one point and knit increasingly longer rows until the yarn runs out or the shawl is big enough, whichever comes first.

A knitted shawl from 1915 is done in fingering weight wool. The pattern requires only knit, purl, yarn over, and knit 2 together skills, so a beginner can do it even though the yarn is fine.

The Rusty Nail Shawl is an odd name for a pattern, but the lace as pictured is beautiful! The garter lace pattern is simple, so use la lovely hand-painted yarn to make this shawl look more complicated than it really is.

Simple Garter Stitch Shawl with Lace Border

Original design in Caron Simply Soft yarn
Original design in Caron Simply Soft yarn | Source

Design Your Own Shawl

A rectangular shawl or scarf is an easy canvas for your first attempts at pattern design. Select a stitch from a good knitting reference book and take note of the number of stitches in a pattern repeat. Cast on a multiple of that number and knit in your chosen pattern. Add fringe or a border after the shawl is finished.

Knitted-In Garter Stitch Border

For the more adventurous or mathematical, add a border that is knit at the same time the body of the shawl is knit. For example, to add a garter stitch border to a shawl with a 3 stitch pattern repeat:

  • Cast on a multiple of 3 stitches plus 6 more stitches.
  • Knit 6 rows (3 garter ridges.)
  • Row 7: Knit 3 stitches. Knit in chosen pattern until 3 stitches remain. Knit 3 stitches.
  • Continue in pattern, always knitting the first and last 3 stitches to produce the side borders.
  • Knit last 6 rows of shawl (3 garter ridges.)


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