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I'm an artist who can sometimes be found knitting with unlikely materials.

I took it into my head to knit myself an umbrella out of shredded grocery bags and it wound up in Knitty's 2006 calendar (check out April).

When Amy saw it, she asked me to make one out of yarn for her and this is the result.

While parasols are throwbacks to older times, even a modern girl can see the advantage of portable shade.

model: Emily Harwood photos: Kelly Griffith

One Size
fits pocket-size umbrella
[see Pattern Notes for important information about choosing an umbrella for this project]
Cascade Fixation [98.3% cotton / 1.7% elastic; 100yd/91m per 50g ball]; color: #5606 Fern; 14 balls

1 set US #6/4mm straight needles
Umbrella (see Pattern Notes re. selecting an umbrella)
Tapestry needle
1 large, flat button (optional)
24 sts/44 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here]

When selecting an umbrella for this project, it is important to find an umbrella that is not automatic. You don't want the kind that has a button which makes the umbrella pop open, as this sort of mechanism would place too much stress on the knitted fabric.

SKP: Slip 1 knitwise, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over stitch just knit.

SK2P: Slip 1 knitwise, k2tog, pass slipped stitch over [k2tog] just worked.

Seed Stitch (Worked over an odd number of sts):
Row 1: [K1, p1] to last st, k1.
Repeat this row for Seed Stitch.

Cut the umbrella skin from the frame at the thread points, noting the locations of all thread points. Unscrew the top knob (if there is one), and remove the umbrella skin from the frame.
Measure the length of one panel of the umbrella skin, measuring down the center of the panel (rather than along the seamed edge). Make a note of this measurement and keep it handy.

PANEL (Make 8):
CO 3 sts.

Set-Up Rows:
Rows 1-3: Work in stockinette st, beginning with a RS row.
Row 4 [WS]: [Pfb] twice, p1. 5 sts.
Rows 5-7: Work in stockinette st.
Row 8 [WS]: Pfb, p2, pfb, p1. 7 sts.
Row 9 [RS]: K1, yo, SKP, k1, k2tog, yo, k1.
Row 10 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 11 [RS]: K2, yo, k3, yo, k2. 9 sts.
Row 12 [WS]: Pfb, p to last 2 sts, pfb, p1. 11 sts.
Row 13 [RS]: K1, place marker, k2tog, yo, SKP, k1, k2tog, yo, SKP, place marker, k1. 9 sts.
Row 14 [WS]: P all sts.

Pattern Repeat:
Row 1 [RS]: K to marker, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, SKP, k to end.
Row 2 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 3 [RS]: K to marker, k2, yo, k3, yo, k to end. 2 sts increased.
Row 4 [WS]: Pfb, p to last 2 sts, pfb, p1. 2 sts increased.
Row 5 [RS]: K to marker, k1, k2tog, yo, SK2P, yo, SKP, k to end. 2 sts decreased.
Row 6 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 7 [RS]: K to marker, k1, yo, SKP, k1, k2tog, yo, k to end.
Row 8 [WS]: P all sts.
Row 9 [RS]: K to marker, k2, yo, k3, yo, k to end. 2 sts increased.
Row 10 [WS]: Pfb, p to last 2 sts, pfb, p1. 2 sts increased.
Row 11 [RS]: K to marker, k2tog, yo, SKP, k1, k2tog, yo, SKP, k to end. 2 sts decreased.
Row 12 [WS]: P all sts.
Repeat Rows 1-12 until length of piece is approx. .75 inch less than length of umbrella panel, ending with Row 6.

Work 5 rows in Seed Stitch.
Bind off all stitches in Seed Stitch.


Using yarn and mattress stitch, sew all 8 panels together in a circle. They won't lay flat on the ground when sewn.

Turn your new umbrella skin wrong side up and place umbrella skeleton into it. Using thread, fix skin to frame at frame joints (similar to the way the old skin was attached).

Rather than weaving in my yarn ends, I tied them to the umbrella frame for added support (as this skin is much heavier than the original) but if you think this looks messy, feel free to weave in your ends and rely on the thread for support.

Optional -- take a large button and sew it to the top of the umbrella where the top knob formerly sat.


Kelly Griffith believes that pale is the new tan and as such is spending as much time in the shade as possible.

She lives, knits, photographs weddings, and stays out of the sun in Boston, MA.