Designing Your Own Faroese Shawl pt.1

Designing Your Own Faroese Shawl pt.1

Quite some time ago I ran across this amazing Faroese Shawl Design Worksheet by Carol Connors. It was a treasure trove of information and how-to’s for designing a traditional faroese shawl.  (It has since disappeared from the web so far as I can tell.) I still have a copy and would love to work through it. And maybe with your help improve upon it.

Who’s in the mood for a little shawl designing?

This shawl is knit bottom up – as is traditional with Faroese Shawls. For top down patterns check out Myrna Stahman‘s book, Stahman’s Shawls and Scarves. Its fabulous!

To begin choose your yarn.

This is the fun part. Think about what you love. What you have on hand. Most shawls require at least 400 yards – some as many as 1000 yards (or more) depending on the weight of yarn and finished shawl size. Consider what stitch you want to use. Will it ‘go’ with this yarn? Will it eat up this yarn and require more yardage?

*I’m using Sportmagundi in Sedah. I have 2 skiens (830 yards).

Pick a needle.

From past shawl experience I can safely recommend a 40 in circular needle. It seems that for lace or shawl knitting its important to go up 3-4 needle sizes to get the drape we all love. So if the label on your yarn says US1, go up to a US4 or US5 and see what you think. My favorite way to pick a needle is to dig through my needle case and see whats unoccupied and close enough. LOL

*I’m planning on using a US7 40″ circular.

Pick a stitch pattern and swatch.

Find a stitch pattern you love. Faroese shawls are traditionally knit in garter stitch with a lace trim or border. You may need more yarn if you plan on knitting in garter stitch as it seems to eat up the yarn. But it could be a great way to use up small odds and ends and make swank stripes ala WestKnits. If you go with an all over lace like pattern, try to keep the stitch count around or under 15sts to a repeat so you don’t run into math troubles later. Try different needle sizes with your swatch to get just the right drape and feel to your shawl.

*I’m going to try overlapping leaves from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary #5.

Now swatch your pattern on your needles and block. Measure it. Be thinking about how big you want your final shawl to be. Check back next Tuesday for part 2.

[I’ll keep notes as we go and make up a new and improved version of Carol’s worksheet to share when we finish our shawls. Check back or sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss it. =)]

Updated 04/2012 – Carol Connors has a new blog with her original worksheets up. =D


  1. Hello!
    I’m Carol Connors and I thank you so much for giving me credit for the initial work on designing your own Faroese Shawl.
    My website disappeared when AOL removed all the free space provided by them. I saved all the original files and always intended to redo and republish, but somehow just never got around to it!
    I had many favorable comments during the years my website was online. Thank you for keeping the information alive and freely available to all. Also thanks again for giving me credit.
    Carol Connors

    • Wonderful! Thank you! I’ve added her new link to the first shawl post in my series.

  2. Faroese Shawl is of keen interest to me…
    I will be on-line less and knitting and sewing more …….. but, that is on my personal need list. I have alpacca lace yarn to use in several shades.

  3. Thank you for the posts on the faroese shawls. I believe there is something that needs to be fixed, however. I checked Carol Connors’ blog and also Vibeke Lind’s “Knitting in the Nordic Tradition,” which I have a copy of. Both state that the gusset should be a maximum of 35 stitches, not inches. Maybe your shawl posts and your worksheet need to be changed to “stitches” rather than “inches” for the gusset measurement.

    • Oh my goodness, you are so right. Thank you for catching that error. I will get it all fixed up just as soon as I can. Thank you again! =D



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