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I fell in love with Estonian lace for its beautiful undulating forms. The curving lines and blossoms of this shawl, coupled with the spectacular green of the Fleece Artist yarn, also suggest the waving fronds and floats of an undersea kelp forest.

This pattern will challenge you with uniquely Estonian stitches. Also, stitch markers are tricky to place in these pattern stitches, so being able to read your knitting is a must! But wrong side rows are straightforward purling to let you catch your breath. So jump on in, the water is fine!

model: Elizabeth Freeman photos: Sylvia Hilsinger, Elizabeth Freeman

Shoulderette[Shawl] (shown in brown[green])

Length at center back: 23[38] inches
Width: 50[82] inches


Brown Shoulderette:
Misti Alpaca Lace [100% Baby Alpaca; 437yd/400m per 50g skein]; color: Natural Tan; 1 skein
Note: The shoulderette shown required approx. 436.5yd/399m! Buy a second skein to be safe.
Recommended needle size:
1 24-inch US 4/3.5mm circular needle
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

Green Shawl:
Fleece Artist Suri Blue [50% Suri Alpaca/50% Blue Faced Leicester wool; 656yd/600m per 100g skein]; color: Moss; 2 skeins
Note: Shawl required approx. 1094yd/1000m.
Recommended needle size:
1 32-inch US 5/3.75mm circular needle
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]

For Both:
Crochet hook
Waste yarn
Stitch markers
Cable needle
Smooth string or yarn, or blocking wires
Rust-proof pins


Gauge is measured over Star Chart. Correct gauge is not essential for this project unless you are working with a limited quantity of yarn (ie. if you are working the Shoulderette as written using only 1 skein of the yarn listed). However, if you do wish to swatch and measure your gauge before beginning, use the Swatch Chart provided below. Block swatch, allow to dry, unpin and allow to relax before measuring gauge.

Shawl: 24 sts/24 rows = 4 inches on US #5/3.75mm needles
Shoulderette: 28 sts/28 rows = 4 inches on US #4/3.5mm needles


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

This pattern is modular. As long as you finish each chart on row 8, you can repeat the Star chart or the Blossom chart as many times as you like before moving on to the next chart. Just be aware that the Edging section requires a surprising quantity of yarn. For the green shawl, the final 28 rows and bind-off required 32% of the yarn. For the smaller brown shoulderette, the edging required 44% of the yarn!

If you are using stitch markers between each pattern repeat to keep track of the lace pattern, note that there will be points in each chart where decreases within the pattern will necessitate moving the markers. For example, in Row 4 of the Blossom Chart, the [k2tog] at the end of the repeat would be worked with the sts just before and after the marker. Remove the marker before working this decrease and replace it afterwards, checking to be sure it is in the correct position and that the repeat still has the correct number of sts. Stitch markers are not recommended for the Set-Up and Star Charts.

Estonian Stitches:
This shawl was inspired by three stitch patterns from Pitsilised Koekirjad, an Estonian stitch dictionary. The stitches in this shawl are based on several variants of star stitches. For an excellent description of Estonian lace stitches, see this site.

For more examples of the beautiful stitches originating in Estonia, take a look at the Estonian Lace Study.

Row 17 of the edging includes a 2-stitch mini cable crossing. Accent cable crossings are a common feature of Estonian lace patterns in Pitsilised Koekirjad.

Crochet Cast-On
Using waste yarn, work a crochet chain several sts longer than the number of sts to be cast on. Starting 1 or 2 sts in from end of chain and using working yarn, pick up and k 1 st in the back loop of each ch until the required number of sts have been picked up. Later, the chain will be unraveled and the resulting live sts picked up.

K3tog: Knit next 3 sts together.

Sssk: Slip next 3 sts knitwise, one at a time, to right needle. Insert left needle into fronts of these 3 sts and knit them together.

S2KP: Slip next 2 sts together, knitwise, as if to work a k2tog. Knit next st through back loop, then pass both slipped sts over st just knit. This forms a centered double decrease.

SK2P: Slip 1 knitwise, k2tog, pass slipped st over. 2 sts decreased.

RT (Right Twist): K into back of second st on left needle, k into front of first st on neft needle, drop both sts from left needle.

1-into-3 star: [K1 tbl, yo, k1 tbl] in next st. 1 st increased to 3 sts.

3-into-3 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle; yo, k same 3 sts together again and drop from left needle. Number of sts has not changed.

3-into-2 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle, p same 3 sts together and drop from left needle. 3 sts decreased to 2 sts.

3-into-9 star: K3tog without dropping sts from left needle, yo, [k same 3 sts together again without dropping from left needle, yo] 3 times, k same 3 sts together again and drop from left needle. 3 sts increased to 9 sts.

2-into-9 star: K2tog tbl without dropping sts from left needle, yo, [k same 2 sts together again without dropping from left needle, yo] 3 times, k same 2 sts together again and drop from left needle. 2 sts increased to 9 sts.

Directions for blocking a lace shawl may be found here.

Note: Charts are shown here in the order they are knit -- top to bottom, left to right.


Note: The first st of each row is slipped purlwise. Bring the yarn between the needles to the back of the work before knitting the next st.

Using Crochet Cast On, CO 2[3] sts.

K 17 rows, slipping first st of each row.

At end of last row, turn work 90 degrees clockwise and pick up and k 7 sts along one long edge of work – this will be 1 st in each slipped st along edge, skipping first st.

Remove waste yarn from CO edge, placing resulting 2[3] live sts on left needle; k these sts. 11[13] sts.

Next Row [RS]: Sl 1, k1[2], work first row of Set-Up Chart, place marker, k1 tbl, place marker, work first row of Set-Up Chart, k2[3]. 19[21] sts.

The markers now in place indicate the center st of the shawl. From this point on, k this st tbl on RS rows, and p it on WS rows.

The 2[3] sts at each edge are the border sts; work these sts in garter st. Always slip the first st of each row.

Note: It is important to keep the slipped edge sts very loose, so the shawl will block properly. Don't worry if they look loose and sloppy before blocking.

Work Rows 2-6 of Set-Up Chart, working center st and edge sts as set. 35[37] sts when Set-Up Chart is complete.

Continue as follows, working center st and edges sts as set.

Work Rows 1-8 of Star Chart 4[6] times. 163[229] sts.

Work Rows 1-16 of Transition Chart. 175[225] sts.

Work Rows 1-8 of Blossom Chart 4[8] times. 271[417] sts. There are 11[17] Blossom motifs in each half of the shawl.

Work Rows 1-16 of Edging Chart 1. 339[497] sts.

Work Rows 1-12 of Edging Chart 2. 435[629] sts.

BO Row [RS]: Using 2 strands of yarn held together, p2, [sl both sts back to left needle and p2tog, p1] to last st, sl both sts back to left needle and p2tog. Break yarn and draw through last st.


Weave in ends.
Following directions here, block shawl, pinning out each point of edging. The shawl will block to slightly more than a triangle; it will form a chevron with curled points. Allow shawl to dry completely before unpinning.

If using the yarn recommended, beware that fine alpaca yarns are easily abraded when wet. You can pull the piece quite tightly, but be careful about scraping against the surface, or pulling your fingers through the edge loops repeatedly while pinning and re-pinning the points.


Elizabeth Freeman counts trees and crunches numbers for a living, and has been known to bring her lace knitting along on wilderness backpacking trips.