6 Must-Try Knitted Lace Patterns + Icelandic Lace Shawl

I had the honor of being invited to speak to Toronto's Downtown Knit Collective last week, and one could not have asked for a more gracious and delightful audience. (Thank you, DKC knitters!) One of the highlights for me was an elderly woman in the front row, whose nimble fingers worked on a knitted lace shawl–and a rather intricate lace shawl at that–throughout the entire meeting. She was listening closely to everything, but she was somehow still able to keep the precise rhythm of those countless lacy yarnovers going without pause. (She's my new hero. I can't imagine having a hundred other people around me as I try to remember if I'm supposed to be doing an ssk or a k2tog.)

Watching her knit–and knit so effortlessly…and did I mention she wasn't using a printed pattern?–I was reminded of all the women who have gone before us, needles clicking in the creation of gorgeous knitted lace shawls that history has often relegated to a footnote–or worse, to a stereotyped, nondescript garment for old women to wear.

So when we get to pull an actual lace shawl out of history, and have a modern knitter write up the pattern for us, and publish it for everyone to enjoy…that gives me a deep sense of joy and pride. Joy, that not all the creations of women are lost to time and footnotes; pride, that I got to have even a tiny, teensy part in helping bring these patterns to you.

The Story of the Icelandic Lace Shawl

Called the Thórdís shawl, the original of this traditional Icelandic lace shawl is part of the Icelandic Craft Council’s collection of textiles. It is thought to have been knitted by Thórdís Egilsdóttir, a resident of a small fishing village on the west coast of Iceland who was well known for her craftsmanship and skill with handspun yarns.

I asked Jeane Hutchins, the editor-in-chief of PieceWork magazine, if she would like to write up a little piece about how the shawl came to Knitting Daily:

I am so pleased that the Icelandic Shawl from PieceWork’s out-of-print July/August 1996 issue has become a part of Knitting Daily. The list of people responsible for bringing this to fruition is lengthy and begins with PieceWork’s first editor, Veronica Patterson, who assigned the project, followed by Carol Noble who adapted the design and wrote the instructions. Next comes the member of the knitalong who let Amy Sapp, a member of our customer support staff, know that there were people who wanted to make this shawl. Amy forwarded the e-mail about the knitalong to me, and I talked to several people to see how best to get this material into the hands of those who wanted it: Knitting Daily would be the perfect venue. So next on the list is our fabulous technical editor, Lori Gayle. And then there’s Sandi, Kat, and the rest of the web team who made it all happen. So there you have it! My personal thanks to each of one on my list. To those of you who will knit the shawl—enjoy!

Enjoy, indeed–from all of us at Interweave Press.

Get full instructions and charts for the Icelandic Lace Shawl in our free lace knitting ebookKnitting Lace: Knitting Daily Presents 7 Free Knitted Lace Patterns.


Sandi Wiseheart is the founding editor of Knitting Daily. She is now the author of the popular Knitting Daily blog: What's on Sandi's Needles.


Knitting Lace: Knitting Daily Presents 7 Free Knitted Lace Patterns

Are you addicted to lace knitting? Or maybe you've admired some of the gorgeous knitted lace patterns out there and want to give lace knitting a try? Here are seven of Interweave's top knitted lace patterns, gathered together in one FREE ebook for you.

Whether you are a first time lace knitter, or a seasoned expert, you'll enjoy the timeless beauty of knitting lace. Get these stunning projects that will continue to inspire, and be loved for generations to come. You'll want to make every one of these lace patterns, so download your free eBook now and get started (and don't forget to tell a friend so they can enjoy their own copy!)

Download Your Free Lace Patterns Today

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Knitting Daily Blog

24 thoughts on “6 Must-Try Knitted Lace Patterns + Icelandic Lace Shawl

  1. Thanks so much for the patterns! I’m going to pass along the info to a new knitting acquaintance who also loves lace.

    Kathleen Chaffin

    PS – And thanks for all the inspiration and knowledge in Knitting Daily. I don’t always have time to read it through, but I really appreciate it.

  2. I’m with AndreaM. This happens every time you guys add one of these free downloads. There is no option to click “Already A Member? Please login!” It’s maddening.

  3. I had the same problem as AndreaM and LynnH when I used Firefox. However, in IE there is another box at the top of the page linked to that has a link for current members.

  4. I’m on a Mac 🙂 and I have tried in Firefox and Safari to download the patterns, I am also redirected to the registration page and I am registered. Someone tell the WebMaster to fix the links!

  5. HELP! I have finished the shawl and would really like to know what went wrong. I have just finished blocking it and it is 27″ by 61″. The finished size in the pattern is suppose to be 37″by 76″. I used the exact yarn called for and needle size. I could see if I knitted real tight how it could end up a bit smaller but not that much. Has anyone else made this out of the Jaggerspun 2/8 yarn and had this trouble? I am soooo disappointed that it ended up so small. Thanks

  6. Please fix it so I don’t have to re-register to get my patterns! Firefox has been around a long time so the website has had awhile to get up to date and multibrowser compatible!

  7. Add my name to the Frustrated list. This happened now, with the shawl patterns, and Tuesday, with the 5 e-books. I’m on Firefox+Ubuntu and would have to track down a Windows pc to use IE.

  8. Despite the incredibly frustrating feedback loop that denies access to these patterns to the very people to whom they were offered, there is a way. Log in to KnittingDaily, then click on the Free Patterns button.

  9. Thanks so much for the Icelandic Shawl pattern. Maybe this will inspire me to complete the shawl for which I purchased yarn on my first trip to Iceland. It was a toss up between buying a shawl already knitted and yarn to attempt to make my own – I chose the latter along with a book of patterns (written in Icelandic). This has been a little over four years ago and I have never attempted the follow the charts in the book but with the written instructions as a back up I am anxious to get started. Thanks again!

  10. Dear All Knitters, in regards to the Thordis Icelandic Shawl, if the correct yarn/s and gauge are used, when finished the shawl should be able to be pulled through a lady’s wedding ring! PS I am part Icelandic and got this tid-bit information from my mother, who is an avid knitter. We do have cousins over in Iceland. The tradition for a Icelandic gentleman to court a lady, is for him to present her with knitting needles he has crafted himself!

  11. HELP! I have started the Little Arrowhead Shawl, I am on row 21…where do I start the repeats, one after the other? So that it will be….k, k, yo, k *k,k,yo,s2kp2o,yo,k* repeat from * 2x then continue row and do the same thing? This shawl(ette) came just in time, I want to make it for my neice who is getting married in August! I searched everywhere for just what I wanted and this is it!

  12. Every time I try to download this ebook, the link takes me to a registration page. I am already logged in so I don’t need to register but I did it anyway because I didn’t have a choice and, of course, the next page tells me that I am already registered. I never did get to download the ebook.

  13. I am only a beginning knitter but would like to know if the pattern is available in crochet stitches, as I have been crocheting for some 50 years. If it is not, how difficult is it to knit the only knit stitches I know are a combination of knit and purl stitches….Unfortunately I live in the country and there are no places to go to learn . Thanks Gramma

  14. I love these patterns. I have been knitting lace shawls using a very easy pattern on the Knit and Crochet Today web site. I am on my fourth shawl and have one more to go. Friends have claimed most of them ( Isaved one for me). I think I am ready to tackle a little more complex pattern. Which one will be the question.