The Open Source Shawl

Relax. Knit something for yourself. Happy New Year!

You will need:

Yarn from your stash. These shawls can be knitted with any any yarn. I’ve used cotton, angora, mohair, qiviut, merino…  Any colour(s) you like – though I prefer solid colours for lace knitting. Long circular knitting needles. Maybe a set of dpns too.

The construction:

The Open Source Shawl is knit top down, from the center of the nape, with increases on every other row plus a few increase sections. I’ve chosen easy lace patterns – the patterns are knit on the right side only, all wrong sides are purled – and they are easy to memorize.

Lace charts for Open Source Shawl

Sivia Harding has written a beautiful piece on lace knitting – go read it!


Cast on 3 stitches; knit 20 rows.
Pick up and knit 10 stitches from the vertical edge of garter stitch, then 3 stitches from the cast on edge (16 stitches).
I use dpns for this bit, then switch to a circular needle.

Setup row:
Right side: K3, YO, K1, YO (repeat 10 times), K3
Wrong side: K3, P21, K3

Throughtout the lace sections keep knitting the first and last stiches to create the edge and increases:
Right side: K3, YO – pattern – YO, K3
Wrong side: K3 – purl – K3

Section 1:
Start the first pattern. I prefer to use a simple pattern repeat for this section – the same as I’ve used for The Cabin Attendant – with a few extra increases (edge tweaking) to help shape the shawl:

  1. row: *K3, YO, K3tog, YO*
  2. row: Purl
  3. row: *YO, K3tog, YO, K3*
  4. row: Purl

As you increase on every other row, the edge has to be tweaked a bit to fit to the pattern – please see the chart on how to fill in the gaps!

Repeat this pattern until the shawl is almost as wide as your shoulders. Depending on the yarn and needles you can sl1, k2tog, psso or you can simply knit 3 stitches together. Lace charts for Open Source Shawl

Increase rows:

  1. row (RS): K3, YO – knit to end of row – YO, K3
  2. row (WS): K3, YO – knit to end of row – YO, K3
  3. row: K3, YO – *YO, K1* (repeat to end of row) – YO, K3
  4. row: K3, YO – knit to end of row – YO, K3

Section 2:
Pick any lace pattern you like and knit a section of this. Continue to increase on each side of the shawl by knitting the edges with yarnovers.

I like using these patterns: Lace charts for Open Source Shawl

Add another increase section and maybe even another lace section.


Knit until you run out of yarn and then finish the shawl off with a knit-on lace edging. More on that later! Or just bind off loosely after an increase section.

Depending on the yarn you may want to block the shawl – if you use cotton yarn blocking is not necessary.

Open Source Shawl in cotton

This is a recipe – make it your own! You can use any kind of lace pattern, one or many, simple or complex, or a combination.

If you don’t feel like making a lace edging, don’t. 

Sizing up? Keep knitting until you run out of yarn or can’t bother to continue.

As always, please let us know how you go!

Creative Commons License

Open Source Shawl is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Based on a work by Lisa Risager.


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