Discovering A New Method of Knitting Faroese Shawls … By Accident

Following last week’s post about creating shawl shapes at 36.000 feet altitude I’m happily providing you with an update about my experiment of creating crescent shawls with center panels today. The short version: I created a completely new method for knitting Faroese shawls … by accident.

First Things First: What Are Faroese Shawls?

Faroese shawls are my all-time favorite. They look like wings and due to their shape itโ€™s easy to tie them behind your back, providing you with extra warmth during cold winter days. Traditionally they were worked in thicker yarns and often they were lined making them a piece of everyday clothing.

The figure below shows a sketch of the shape of a traditional Faroese shawl.

Faroese shawl design - shape illustration
The shape of a Faroese shawl. Arrows indicate knitting direction; the pink line symbolizes the cast on edge.

You can read more about knitting Faroese shawls and their construction methods in my post about Faroese shawls in the Shawl Design for Everybody series.

The Original Idea: Crescent Shawls With Center Panels

The original idea was simple: create a crescent shawl with center panels using two mirror images of vortex (cornucopia) shawls, then join them using a center panel.

New shawl shapes: crescent shawls with center panels

Being a physicist, experiments are totally my thing, so of course I gave it a try. A few days later I was ready to join the two halves and everything looked promising.

Accidents happen: creating a construction method for Faroese shawls ... by accident

Joining went smoothly, too.

Accidents happen: creating new methods for knitting Faroese shawls trying to create a crescent shawl

And then, after finishing my brand new shawl, it was finally time to block this beauty.

Trying to block it into a crescent shape turned out to be a total desaster. Blocking it, following the natural elasticity, it turned out to be clearly a Faroese shawl shape.


I’m a fan of sharing failure publicly, especially if failure turns out to be a success when viewed from a different perspective. Following the tradition of Fuckup Nights I’m going to tell you about today’s total fuckup today which turned out to be a gem in shawl design.

Why is it a gem? Because…

Finally, we have a construction method for knitting Faroese shawls which does not need increase rows!

  • Both traditional and Raglan Faroese shawls need increase rows.
  • Increase rows disrupt the knitting flow, especially when you’re designing a pattern.
  • Increase rows mean you need to fiddle around with your lace stitch patterns.
  • Fiddling around means being error prone by default.

And who needs errors when writing professional knitting patterns? No one, this is a no-brainer! So eliminating sources of errors is a really good thing. I mean, really.

A New Method of Knitting Faroese Shawls

So finally, we have a construction method for Faroese shawls without increase rows:

  • Knit a vortex (cornucopia) shawl.
  • Knit the mirror image of the above shawl.
  • Join the two using a knitted-on center panel (or seam).
  • Weave in ends and block.
  • Admire the Faroese shawl shape.

It really works. I barely can believe it myself I tell you! I’ll share pictures of my newest shawl design tomorrow, promise… here’s the picture I promised. Sorry for the rather crappy quality (no, it doesn’t meet my standards in any way!) – it was taken just right after removing the blocking pins and I’m eager to share it with all of you nevertheless.

Accidents happen: creating a construction method for Faroese shawls ... by accident

It’s really, really a Faroese shawl! And it’s knitted without any increase rows!! (Insert happy dance here.)

If you’re a shawl designer you know how difficult it is to implement stitch patterns like lace or cables into a construction which uses increase rows. Increase rows disturb the flow, disrupt the stitch pattern, it’s just a pain. Really, believe me.

Time to design a lot more Faroese shawls, this time hassle free, with all kinds of stitch patterns in their main shawl panels! Just YAY!

A Happy Accident?

What do you think, is this a happy accident or really a total mess? I mean, experiments don’t always come out as expected and the main outcome is that we can learn a lot from failed experiments, not only the successful ones. But I might be wrong.

What do you think? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Julia <3

5 thoughts on “Discovering A New Method of Knitting Faroese Shawls … By Accident

  • Pingback: Meet the Aegean Sea shawl knitting pattern -

  • Julia, Very neat discovery! Make things A lot simpler! Also love the cabled edge! Think is an 8 cable twist…yes?
    I was actually just reviewing your guide for shaping and thinking about maybe an S in bulky with i cord edge included as one knits body but this would be even nicer! Thx! Carol

    • Carol, we thought about creating S shapes combining two cornucopias (vortices) exactly today! I’m working on the idea right now ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Cool! Love to see results!

        • I’ll keep you posted!


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