“Umbral” is the adjective form of umbra, a word in astronomy describing the shadow cast by an eclipse. The soothing blue tones flowing into each other in this shawl knitting pattern feel very lunar to me.
No time right now? Pin this Umbral Shawl knitting pattern for later.
Intended to show off the gorgeous changes of an ombre or gradually variegated yarn, the Umbral Shawl features a stockinette background punctuated by garter ridges that drift farther apart as you work the pattern.
This pattern is designed by Allison Bostrom, the designer, creator, and very-much-still-learning photographer/social media manager behind Clair de Lune Fiber Art. She designs stimulating crochet and knit patterns for everything from garments and accessories to homewares. Her goal in writing patterns is to encourage makers to learn new stitches and construction techniques, or to reconsider the ones they know. Though working with yarn is always relaxing, she finds real joy in pushing herself to do something new and different with yarn.
*This post contains affiliate links (only for products I love, use and spend my own money on obviously). This means I earn some yarn money if you make a purchase through one of these links (of course at no extra cost for you!), which I promise to use to create more awesome patterns like this one. In addition, some posts are sponsored by yarn companies. All opinions are my own. See my full disclosure here.
A Soothing Shawl Knitting Pattern
The Umbral Shawl design came to Allison on a sleepless night when she was in need of a calming, meditative knit. It is designed to be completely approachable to beginner knitters looking to move away from washcloths and scarves, while providing just enough interest to keep more advanced knitters engaged in a soothing project. To that end, there are very few skills required for this shawl. If you can knit, purl, and yarn over, you can make it! No garter tab, no picked up stitches, no fancy bind off necessary.
This pattern is very forgiving for gauge and yardage. You can bind off on any row, altering the thickness of the final garter edge as necessary. It is simple to extrapolate the pattern to add more rows (though Allison is always available by email if you need help with that!).
Scroll down for the free version but I recommend you purchase the cheap ad-free PDF Pattern to get all the instructions and pictures in a nice PDF you can print and take notes on without relying on your phone or an internet connection, I’ve got you covered!
Before you Start
- 5.5mm / US 9 knitting needles
- Worsted weight Red Heart Super Saver Ombre yarn in True Blue (260-280g, 450-480yds)
- Tapestry needle to weave in the ends. I love this set as it has different eye sizes for different yarn thicknesses and it comes in a small tube which is very convenient so I don’t lose them.
- Optional: stitch markers
This is a one-size pattern. When completed, the shawl measures 18″ deep x 56″ wingspan (along the curved top edge).
The gauge for this pattern, in stockinette stitch, is 14.5 st by 21 rows for a 10 cm by 10 cm square (4” by 4”).
This pattern is fairly flexible for gauge. If you find you prefer a slightly looser or tighter gauge with your particular yarn, go for it! You can always adjust the number of rows worked to achieve your desired size.
Abbreviations & Instructions
- CO = cast on
- st(s) = stitch(es)
- k = knit
- p = purl
- yo = yarn over
- rep = repeat
- BO = bind off
Stitch counts are provided in [ ] at the end of the first few rows. The main part of the pattern includes 4 increases on right-side rows and 2 increases on wrong-side rows.
This shawl is worked mainly in stockinette, punctuated by garter ridges which get further apart in each section. It has a simple garter edge on the top and bottom, and yarn over increases along the top edge form a crescent shape that curls gently on itself.
The simplicity of this pattern makes it quite flexible with regards to variations in yarn thickness, gauge, and yardage. You can bind off after any row, adjusting the thickness of the garter edging as needed. Feel free to continue working additional rows, increasing the spacing of the garter ridges in each group of three as in the pattern.
The Actual Shawl Knitting Pattern
First Stockinette Section [17 rows]
Row 1 [RS]: k3, yo, k1, yo, k3. 
Row 2 [WS]: k3, yo, p3, yo, k3. 
Row 3: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k1, (k1, yo) twice, k3. 
Row 4: k3, yo, p9, yo, k3. 
Row 5: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 6: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 7-16: Rep Rows 5-6. 
Row 17: Rep Row 5. 
First Garter Ridge Section [9 rows, 3 stockinette rows between ridges]
Row 18: k3, yo, k until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Row 19: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 20: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Row 21: Rep Row 19.
Row 22: Rep Row 18.
Rows 23-26: Rep Rows 19-22.
Note: at this stage, you should have three garter “ridges”. The third will be right up against your needles and may be hard to see until you work a few more rows.
Second Stockinette Section [9 rows]
Row 27: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 28: k3, yo, k until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 29-34: Rep Rows 27-28.
Row 35: Rep Row 27.
Second Garter Ridge Section [13 rows, 5 stockinette rows between ridges]
Row 36: k3, yo, k until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Row 37: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 38: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 39-40: Rep Rows 37-38.
Row 41: Rep Row 37.
Row 42: Rep Row 36.
Rows 43-48: Rep Rows 37-42.
Third Stockinette Section [13 rows]
Row 49: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 50: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 51-60: Rep Rows 49-50.
Row 61: Rep Row 49.
Third Garter Ridge Section [17 rows, 7 stockinette rows between ridges]
Row 62: k3, yo, k until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Row 63: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 64: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 65-68: Rep Rows 63-64.
Row 69: Rep Row 63.
Row 70: Rep Row 62.
Rows 71-78: Rep Rows 63-70.
Fourth Stockinette Section [17 rows]
Row 79: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Row 80: k3, yo, p until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Rows 81-94: Rep Rows 79-80.
Row 95: Rep Row 79.
Note: at this point, feel free to either extend the last stockinette section or work another (partial or full) section of garter ridges before moving on to the garter edge.
Garter Edge [9 rows]
Row 96: k3, yo, k until 3 sts remain, yo, k3.
Row 97: k3, (yo, k1) twice, k until 4 sts remain, yo, k1, yo, k3.
Rows 98-104: Rep Rows 96-97.
Note: you may choose to make the garter edge thicker or narrower. I recommend working at least 4 rows to tame the curl of the stockinette.
BO loosely, keeping the garter stitch pattern (i.e., k2, BO 1, (k1, BO 1) across to end).
Note: I found that going one size up on my needles and keeping my tension loose helped give me a smooth bind off. If you’re unsure if your tension is okay, try binding off 20-30 stitches and then spread out that section of the shawl as if to block. If it feels like the outer edge of your shawl is resisting you or restricting the stretch of the piece, try going up a needle size or loosening your tension. If you have a favorite stretchy bind off, feel free to use that instead!
You’re done with the knitting part. Make sure to weave in all the ends.
To make your stitch pattern even prettier and help straighten your edges, block your project.
Don’t skip this step as it can make a huge difference. Read my detailed tutorial on why block, how-to, and all my tips and tricks if you need help.
Blocking note: the top edge of this shawl will curl in on itself. You won’t have a straight top edge as in a classic triangle shawl. Just roll with the way the fabric wants to curl and it’ll turn out well! I find that the top edge being curved helps to keep the shawl from slipping.
Thanks to Allison for sharing this beautiful shawl pattern with us! You can follow her on any of these platforms: