5 Knitted Shawl Patterns for People Who Don’t Like to Wear Shawls

As a knitter, I was relatively slow to be bitten by the shawl bug. This shouldn’t have been the case; I love knitting lace, I’m perpetually just a trifle chilly, and shawls are the perfect project for summer knitting. But I actually am just now getting close to finish my very first knitted shawl.

I think ultimately I never knitted a shawl before now because I don’t much care for the traditional shawl silhouette. It has always struck me as just a bit too Little House on the Prairie. My reluctance to knit shawls has been officially swept away, however, by Classic Knit Shawls (affiliate link), a book that brings together 20 timeless designs that are varied and creative enough to tempt even the most shawl-leery of knitters.

Here are the five shawls I’m itching to get on my needles:

knitted shawl

Lelani Flower Motif Shawl by Kristin Omdahl

This generously sized, luxurious shawl is an exquisite way to add warmth and drama to any outfit. The circular flower motifs that form the back are worked in rows and are joined to adjacent motifs as they are worked. Wear this triangular shawl pinned, tied, or wrapped in the traditional methods, or lace the side triangles through the edges of the flower motifs on the opposite sides for a secure wrap that allows the edging to cascade down the front in beautiful drapes.

Why I Love It: I recently learned how to crochet, and I’ve been obsessed with making crochet mandalas. I love that this shawl pattern lets me bring my love of circular motifs back into the craft of knitting. This shawl is anything but frumpy, and I love all the different ways to wear it.

Finished Size: About 78” wide and 27” tall.
Yarn: Sportweight. Blue Sky Fibers Baby Alpaca (Melange). (100% alpaca): #800 cornflower, 5 skeins.
Needles: U.S. 3 (3.25mm).

knitted shawl

Galax Shawl by Lee Meredith

Wide and curved, Galax can be styled like a scarf or a shawl. The sideways edging is worked modularly, with increases creating the stitches for the future body section. This prevents picking up stitches later and makes for a smooth, lacy join between the two sections.

Why I Love It: I really don’t like picking up stitches, and while that’s something I’ll need to (eventually) get over, in the meantime I can stick to shawls where the designer did the heavy lifting for me. This is one of Interweave’s all-time most popular shawl patterns for good reason!

Finished Size: 110″ along outer edge, 70″ along inner edge, 11″ wide, with notes for making other sizes.
Yarn: Worsted. HiKoo Kenzie, distributed by Skacel. (50% wool, 25% nylon, 10% alpaca, 10% angora, 5% silk): #1008 kale, 5 skeins.
Needles: U.S. 8 (5mm) circular.

knitted shawl

Junius Shaped Shawl by Correna Ferguson

Junius doesn’t look like much when laid out flat, but when it’s draped over your shoulders you realize what a great layering piece it is. The clever increases create shoulder lines that allow the shawl to stay on even without a pin or other closure.

Why I Love It: My least favorite thing about wearing shawls is the need to constantly adjust them. I have very narrow shoulders, and everything (shawls, bra straps, messenger bags) tends to just slide right off, so the strategic shaping designed to keep the shawl on the shoulders is much appreciated. Plus, this project is guaranteed to make my coworkers go, “Wow.”

Finished Size: About 60″ (152.5 cm) wide across top edge and 36″ (91.5 cm) long from center of top edge to tip of lower point after blocking.
Yarn: Sportweight. Dream In Color Perfectly Posh Sport (70% merino wool, 10% cashmere, 10% silk, 10% baby fine mohair), amberglass (gold), 3 skeins.
Needles: U.S. 8 (5mm) circular.

knitted shawl

Diospyros Afghan by Andrea Jurgrau

For this wrap, the designer combined several leaf forms commonly used in vintage art lace tablecloths. For texture, she added nupps (Estonian bobbles) in the leaf motifs, used beads to highlight the stems of the larger leaves, and used a directional linear fill-mesh between motifs.

Why I Love It: I tend to prefer shawls that are objectively more like scarves than shawls, and this hybrid piece perfectly fits the bill. Plus, I’m totally addicted to knitting with beads now.

Finished Size: About 70″ (178 cm) wide and 17″ (43 cm) long at center back, blocked; about 62″ (157.5 cm) wide and 15″ (38 cm) long at center back, after relaxing.
Yarn: Laceweight. Jade Sapphire Silk/Cashmere 2-ply (55% silk, 45% Mongolian cashmere): #148 Elysian Fields, 2 skeins.
Needles: U.S. 4 (3.5mm) circular.

Rhoeas Shawl by Mercedes Tarasovich

Horseshoe lace edges a generous garter-stitch triangle. Worked in a worsted wool-cotton blend, the knitting goes quickly and makes a large, lofty accessory. Self-fringe makes for faster finishing!

Why I Love It: I’m almost always cold, particularly when inside under the tyranny of excessive air-conditioning. While my coworkers run fans, I wrap up in a blanket that’s getting just a little ratty from near-daily use. What I need is a shawl that I can work up quickly and wrap around me in all kinds of weather. The Rhoeas Shawl is just the thing. Plus, Spud & Chloë Sweater comes in such a wide array of delicious colors that I can’t help but be tempted.

Finished Size: 76” wide x 18” deep, not including fringe.
Yarn: Worsted. Spud & Chloë Sweater. (55% wool, 45% cotton): 4 skeins.
Needles: U.S. 9 (5.5mm).

I adore all the shawls that I selected here, but I think the Rhoeas is going to be the first to actually make it onto my needles. Which of the knitted shawl patterns from Classic Knit Shawls is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Yours in Stitches,

(Originally posted on July 3, 2017; updated on June 17, 2019.)

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