Designing Your Own Faroese Shawl pt.2

This is going to be the best shawl you have ever knit in your entire life.  Its going to be so awesome that (fill in the blank hunky celebrity) will stop on the street and offer to make you rich and famous by selling and making most famous this incredible garment. Are you pumped? Are you ready?

First, lets do some math!

Break out your cute little swatched pattern block and measure measure. Measure its height and width. Now get an idea of how long you’d like the circumference of your shawl edge to be. The typical length of each circumference half is 40″ for a small shawl, 44″ for a medium shawl, and 50″ for a large shawl.

Now here is the part that makes faroese shawls unique. They have a gusset. That is that panel that runs down the middle. Its what helps keep the shawl on and it needs to be at least 20-25 inches wide. Up to 35 stitches is okay for a large shawl – but less than 20 stitches will make the shawl ‘strut’.

One more thing to take into account is the edging. Most shawls have a 5-8 stitch border edge. They are traditionally set off with YO’s.

What we have so far.

(5-8 sts border) + (first half of circumference) + (20-35 sts of gusset) + (second half of circumference) + (5-8 sts border)

With me so far?

To keep this simple, I am going to work the entire body of my shawl in my falling leaves pattern. You could opt to use a different pattern for the gusset panel.

Get that swatch out. How many stitches did you cast on? How many inches is it along that cast on edge?

*I cast on 15 sts and it blocked out to right around 4″. I’m going to make a medium sized shawl.

Here comes the math.

Lets start with those two circumference sections.

Desired Circumference length/Swatch length * Number of sts cast on for swatch = Sts need for section

If I want my circumference sections to be 44″ long each and my single repeat swatch is 4″ that means I need to knit 11 repeats.

*11 repeats * 15 sts = 165 sts. for my circumference sections.

Next the gusset.

Desired Gusset length/Swatch length * Number of sts cast on for swatch = Sts need for section

I’m going to go with a 24″ gusset (because it is an even multiple of 4″) So like before I need to do 6 repeats of that swatch to equal 24″. (24″ desired length / 4″ swatch = 6)

*6 repeats * 15 sts = 90 sts for the gusset.

So how many stitches do I cast on already?

Edge sts + Circumference #1 + Gusset + Circumference #2 + Edge = Total Sts to Cast On

*7 sts for the edge + 165 for the first circumference section + 90 sts for the gusset + 165 sts for the second circumference section + 7 sts for the edge

Cast on 434 sts.

Knit even as many rows as you’d like.

*I’m going to knit even for 3 rows.

–If you wish to jump ahead a bit. Continue working on your shawl in the pattern your swatched.

*I’m going to work 7 sts of garter sts, then 11 repeats of my lace panel, then 6 repeats of my lace panel for the gusset, then 11 more repeats of my lace panel, and 7 sts in garter.

Be sure to  decrease every wrong side row.
Work your edge sts, p2Tog, work to the second to the last sts before the other set of edge sts, p2Tog, work edge sts.

At the same time every 10 rows or 2-3″ decrease one stitch on either side of your gusset panel.

For you super fast knitters – stop when you have 44% of the original circumference sts on the needle.

*For me -165*44%=72 sts left of the circumference sections.

Check back next Tuesday for shoulder shaping.

ETA – I set up a Flickr group to keep those creative juices flowing. Pop over and show us what you’ve got.


  1. What a fabulous post. Thank you for sharing this. I’ll definitely be having a go over the summer.

  2. Superb post…..this faroese shawl is just gorgeous, love it. I have read your all parts for designing your own faroese shawl. Now I will definitely try on my faroese shawl. Thanks for sharing this fabulous information with us.



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