Icelandic modern lace shawl

The beautiful Icelandic lace on display in the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle inspired Evelyn Clark to design this wonderful lace shawl pattern. The shawl has been modernized so both the patterning and size can be customized.

Back to Issue 01 – Autumn 2010


Icelandic modern lace shawl

6 €


Icelandic modern shawl KIT (yarn, no pattern)


The pattern story

The story back with the design is no less fascinating than the shawl itself

Clark says:

“The wonderful book "Þríhyrnur og langsjöl" or "Three-Cornered and Long Shawls" by Sigríður Halldórsdóttir inspired me to start designing lace shawls in 1999. So when I was asked to teach a class on Icelandic lace shawls at the 2009 Nordic Knitting Conference in Seattle, I was happy to revisit that book, as well as explore the Nordic Heritage Museum’s extensive Icelandic lace collection. At the museum, I spotted a book about Icelandic settlers in the Pacific Northwest and remembered our Icelandic family friend, Bertha.

my aunt Bertha’s Icelandic name is Þorbjörg Kristjánsdóttir

My siblings and I are not clear about our relationship to Bertha, but we do know she is not a relative and that she grew up in Point Roberts, Washington. Most likely she was a friend of my grandmother since they were similar in age. She always was referred to as our great aunt and included in our family gatherings, as she did not seem to have other relatives nearby. Since she passed away in 1969, I had no hope of learning more about her.

However, when I mentioned Bertha to two friends, one of them said they knew about her. Her husband’s deceased first wife was a great niece of Bertha’s through adoption. My friend has developed a relationship with the wife’s cousin Robbie, who also is Bertha’s great niece.

The first Icelander on the list of settlers at Point Roberts

Through Robbie, I learned Bertha’s Icelandic name: Þorbjörg Kristjánsdóttir. Her father Kristján Benediktsson sold his farm in Hrafnaborg and moved to Canada in 1886. In that book about Icelanders in the Pacific Northwest, he is first on the list of settlers at Point Roberts where he began farming in 1893. I still am astonished that I was able to learn so much about Bertha and delighted to continue my adventure with Icelandic lace knitting.

Evelyn’s design retains all the characteristics of the old shawls that inspired it:

"My Icelandic modern lace shawl was inspired by the beautiful Icelandic lace on display in the Nordic Heritage Museum.

In the past, Icelanders combined two simple stockinette stitch lace patterns to create a variety of triangular shawls. Spider lace is a small, undulating pattern often used at the top. Trellis lace zigzags, so it is great for color changes and borders.

Icelandic lace motifs are great for color changes

This shawl has been modernized so both the patterning and size can be customized. It has a narrow garter stitch border and interchangeable repeats of Spider and Trellis lace. Each increases 12 stitches over 4 rows, shaping the shawl to curve around the shoulders. It ends with a lacy edging that is bound off with crocheted chains.

the patterning and size can be customized

The shawl is knit from the top down to make it easy to customize the size and was designed for Istex Einband Icelandic laceweight wool that comes in a wonderful array of natural and dyed colors. It can be knit in one color or more, and three were used for the sample shawl.”




Wool, size & info

The pattern
The kit


Size: blocked Shawl Size: 26″ (66cm) deep and 56″ (142cm) across top
Gauge: Unblocked Gauge 10 cm / 4” = 22 sts in stockinette stitch on needle 3,5mm/US 4

Yarn: Einband-Loðband from Ístex, 70% Icelandic wool, 30% wool, fine lace-weight, 1-ply worsted, 50gr/skein, 50g = ca. 225m/109 yds: color A 50g (250 yds/225m) #1038 light brown; color B 20g (100 yds/90m) #0885 medium brown; color C 30g (150 yds/135m) #0867 dark brown

Needles and notions: US size 4 (3.5mm) needle; US size E (3.5mm) crochet hook; stitch markers; 1 coil less safety pin; sharp-pointed needle;180 rustproof pins for blocking. Optional: 1 yd (1m) smooth waste yarn and flexible blocking wires.

Techniques: knitted from the top down, lace, provisional cast on (optional).

Pattern: once you've made your payment, you will receive an email with a link to download the pattern PDF. We don't send patterns by snailmail.

Kit: includes the yarn. Kit doesn’t include the needles and notions. Shipping costs are not included in the price. Pattern is not included and should be purchased separately. 

Errata: a mistake was found in this pattern, please check the errata.

Please note that patterns purchased from year 2011 are free of mistakes.