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About the designer

Hi! I am a former professional guitarist who at least for now am very grateful to be designing full time.

I made all my clothes and jewelry as a hippie girl many years ago, and had a little ...

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Iolanthe Shawl

from Design by Dee
(6) Name: 'Knitting : Iolanthe Shawl
Iolanthe Shawl
Iolanthe Shawl
Iolanthe Shawl
Iolanthe Shawl
Iolanthe Shawl

Basic Skills Necessary:

  • knit
  • purl
  • increases
  • decreases
  • block lace

Pattern Description:

Iolanthe is a contemporary, Estonian-inspired triangular lace shawl with beautiful star stitch motifs that add elegance and textural interest. There are tiny star stitches in the geometric body pattern; larger stacked 3-into-3 star stitch clusters forming faux cables on the fancy spine and repeated on the mesh edge; and dramatic 3-into-7 star stitches forming the border flowers. Because the traditional border pattern of wide leaves and small flower clusters resembles delicate African violets with their rounded, fuzzy leaves, I named the shawl Iolanthe, which is a Greek name meaning violet flower.

Using fingering weight yarn, rather than the lace weight traditionally used in Estonian knitting, really makes the texture of the stars pop. Please note that the dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering/sock weight. Using lace weight yarn will give a more ethereal look, but keep in mind that the texture of the spine and mesh edge will be more subdued. And knitting Iolanthe in a sport or even worsted would give you a whole lot of texture with really big violets!

Directions are included for both a full-sized shawl (pictured in Cayenne) and a one-skein shawlette (pictured in taupe). The size is very easy to customize further by changing the number of Chart 2 repeats worked, by using a different yarn weight, or both.

The Iolanthe pattern includes both charts and full written out instructions for those of you prefer not to use charts.

Construction: Iolanthe starts at the center back of the neck and is knit down to the bottom edge. There is a 2-stitch garter border on each side and an intricate 7-stitch spine composed of stacked 3-into-3 star stitches flanked by yarn overs and decreases. Patterning is done on the right-side rows only. All wrong-side rows are purled between the garter borders.

Size and Yardage: Shawl size measures 65" x 28" (relaxed after blocking) used 600-675 yards of fingering weight yarn; shawlette size measures 50" x 21" and used 350-400 yards

BIG CHARTS! I highly recommend setting the "Page Sizing" on your Adobe Acrobat printing window (left side) to ACTUAL SIZE in order for the charts to print as large as possible.


4.5 st = 1 inch stockinette

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • 65" x 28 shawl size; 50" x 21" shawlette size, but easily customizable


  • US Size 5 / 3.75 mm 32" circular
  • US Size 7/ 4.5 mm DPN, straight for bind off

You Will Also Need:

  • 4 stitch markers
  • blocking supplies

Suggested yarn:

650 yards of Fingering weight

Preferred Brand/Yarn:

Shalimar Breathless