A ruana shawl is similar to a long, wide scarf that simply drapes over your shoulders. The difference is that the shawl includes a back section that hangs to your knees. Ruana shawls can be thick and warm or dainty and decorative. They can be worn every season of the year. Knitting one for yourself is not only practical, it's also fun.
You can find patterns for knitting a ruana shawl on the Internet or at your local craft store. Most patterns are labelled with their level of difficulty. Choose a pattern that fits your skill. The "Knitting On The Net" website has a free ruana shawl pattern for a beginning knitter.
Buy the materials listed in the pattern. Be sure to purchase the type of yarn as well as the knitting needle size specified. These are important to ensure your finished ruana shawl will be the same size indicated on the pattern.
Every knitting pattern includes a gauge, which is the width and length of a specified number of stitches. Begin by practicing a few stitches of the pattern to make sure your gauge is the same as the pattern. If not, substitute larger or smaller knitting needles, and keep practicing until your gauge matches the pattern's gauge.
Knit your ruana shawl according to the pattern. Check your gauge periodically to make sure it is still the same. Weave loose yarn ends into the shawl when you finish by using the yarn needle.
If desired, gently block your finished ruana shawl by pressing it with a cool iron. This step is not necessary but will give your shawl a more polished and finished appearance.
For a variation, try sewing the side seams of your shawl closed, effectively making a sleeve. This is done by whipstitching the seams with your yarn and a yarn needle. Once you are comfortable with the pattern, try using a yarn with a different texture. Even though the pattern will be the same, the ruana shawl will look completely different.