How to Knit A Simple Shawl

Updated April 17, 2017

in "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns," Barbara Walker describes the Feather and Fan stitch pattern as, "familiar to every knitter in one or another of its innumerable forms." The simple lace pattern creates a scalloped edge which makes it a good choice for a simple rectangular shawl. It's also a great introduction to lace knitting because only one of the four rows has yarn the increases and decreases that create the pattern.

Cast on 90 stitches and knit two rows for a garter stitch edge.

Start the feather and fan pattern. On the first row, put stitch markers every 18 stitches. For the 90 stitches, you repeat the pattern five times.

Continue in this manner until the shawl is as long as you want.

Knit two rows for a garter stitch edge and bind off. Weave in the ends.

Knit the first row. This is the right side of the fabric.

Purl the second row.

Knit two stitches together (K2tog) three times. Yarn over and knit one stitch (yo, k1) three times. K2tog three times. This is the third row over 18 stitches.

Knit one row. These four rows make up the feather and fan stitch pattern.

Fill a basin or sink with warm water and add a squirt of liquid hand soap.

Add the shawl to the basin. Hold it down in the warm water until it is completely submerged.

Soak the shawl for about 15 minutes. Do not move it around as it may felt.

Remove the shawl from the water and gently squeeze it to remove excess water. Place it on a clean towel and roll it up. Press gently to remove more water.

Stretch the damp shawl out on a flat surface and use rustproof pins to hold one garter stitch edge in place. As you stretch the fabric along the short end, the lace pattern will open.

Stretch the length of the shawl, pinning as you go. Secure the opposite side and the remaining garter stitch edge.

Let the shawl dry completely before removing the pins.


Try to avoid yarn from synthetic materials like acrylic because these fibres will not block properly. If you choose a different weight yarn, adjust the knitting needles accordingly. To change the width of the shawl, add or subtract 18 stitches for each pattern repeat. The feather and fan pattern looks good with variegated yarns.

Things You'll Need

  • 400 to 500 yards of fingerling-weight yarn
  • Knitting needles, U.S. size 5
  • Tapestry needle
  • Basin or sink
  • Hand-wash detergent
  • Clean towel
  • Flat surface like a bed or carpet
  • Rust-proof pins
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About the Author

Susan Brockett worked in the computer industry as a technical writer for nearly 20 years at companies including Motorola and Dell Computer Systems. In addition, her articles have appeared in Society of Technical Communications publications. Brockett has a master's degree in English composition and communications from Kansas State University.