Knitty: little purls of wisdom
The Loopy Ewe
beauty shot

The Afternoon tea shawlette was designed with a 1950s style frock and a perfectly frosted cupcake in mind. This frothy, lacy little number is just perfect for wrapping around the shoulders. Although more for adornment than warmth, it could also be worn around the neck with a cardigan or coat to keep out a breeze.

And the best news is that it can be knitted up from a single skein of sock weight yarn - perfect for those beautiful, lonely, solo skeins in your stash.

Afternoon tea's crescent shape creates a pretty drape around the shoulders and looks lovely in both the solid or variegated yarns suggested.  The shape is a nod to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Pi shawl with the number of stitches roughly doubling at every increase row.

This could make an ideal project for those dipping their toe into lace knitting as the lace patterns in the shawl are quite straightforward.

So get out your vintage china, whip up some cakes and invite your friends around for a nice cup of tea.

spacer model: Helen Stewart
spacer photos: Kirsty Barton




spacer40 inches across top straight edge, after blocking
18 inches middle of top edge to bottom, after blocking

Blue version:
spacer Madelinetosh Tosh Sock [100% superwash merino wool; 395yd/361m per 100g skein]; color: Baltic; 1 skein

Pink version:
spacer Quince & Co Tern [75% wool, 25% silk; 221yd/202m per 50g skein]; color: Columbine; 2 skeins

Purple version:
spacer Viola [100% superwash merino wool; 400yd/365m per 100g]; colour: Violet; 1 skein

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 32-inch US #6/4mm circular needle

spacer blunt-tipped yarn needle


20 sts/28 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch after blocking
Gauge is not critical for this project, as long as you like how the fabric looks.


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

The charts for this pattern are very large and fit on a letter-sized page.
Click here and print the resulting page.

Set-up: CO 5 sts.
Rows 1-2: Knit.

Row 3 [WS]: K1, kfb, k1, kfb, k1. 7 sts.

Rows 4 [RS]: Knit.

Row 5 [WS]: K1, kfb, kfb, k1, kfb, kfb, k1. 11 sts.

Rows 6-8: Knit.

Row 9 [WS]: K2, [yo, k1] to last 2 sts, yo, k2. 19 sts.

Rows 10-14: Knit.

Row 15 [WS]: K2, [yo, k1] to last 2 sts, yo, k2. 35 sts.

Lattice Lace Section:
Rows 16-18: Knit

Row 19 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.

Rows 20-22: Knit.

Row 23 [WS]: K2, [k2tog, yo] to last 3 sts, k3.

Rows 24-26: Knit.

Row 27 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.

Rows 28-30: Knit.

Row 31 [WS]: K2, [yo, k1] to last 2 sts, yo, k2. 67 sts.

Rows 32-34: Knit.

Row 35 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.

Rows 36-38: Knit.
Row 39 [WS]: K2, [k2tog, yo] to last 3 sts, k3.
Rows 40-42: Knit.
Row 43 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.
Rows 44-46: Knit.
Row 47 [WS]: K2, [k2tog, yo] to last 3 sts, k3.
Rows 48-50: Knit.
Row 51 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.
Rows 52-54: Knit.
Row 55 [WS]: K2, [yo, k1] to last 2 sts, k2. 130 sts. (Note: there is no yo before last 2 sts on this row).

Rows 56-58: Knit.
Row 59 [WS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 60-62: Knit.
Row 63 [WS]: K2, [k2tog, yo] to last 2 sts, k2.
Repeat Rows 56-63 4 more times.
Rows 96-102: Knit.
Row 103 [WS]: K2, [yo, k1] to last 2 sts, yo, k2. 257 sts.

Branches Lace Section:
Row 104 [RS]: Knit.

Row 105 [WS]: K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.

Note: From here, work from following written directions or the Branches Pattern chart as you prefer.

Row 106 [RS]: K2, [k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3] to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 107 [WS](and all following wrong side/odd numbered rows in this section): K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 108 [RS]: K2, [k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk, k2] to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 110 [RS]: K2, [k1, (k2tog, yo) twice, k1, (yo, ssk) twice, k1] to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 112 [RS]: K2, [(k2tog, yo) twice, k3, (yo, ssk) twice] to last 2 sts, k2.

Row 113 [WS]: K2, purl to last 2 sts, k2.

Repeat this 8-row pattern 3 more times.

Lower Edge:
Row 138 [RS]: Knit.
Row 139 [WS]: Knit
Row 140 [RS]: K2, [yo, k2tog] to last st, k1.
Row 141 [WS]: Knit
Row 142 [RS]: Knit

Picot Bind Off:
Cast off 2 sts, [slip resulting st back onto left needle, cast on 2 sts using knitted cast on method, cast off 5 sts] to end.


Weave in ends.

Soak in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Gently squeeze out excess water and roll in a towel.

Lay flat on blocking surface and using blocking wires gently stretch into a semi circular shape. Use two separate wires along the top edge as it will form an angle so the shawl is slightly more than a semicircle. See diagram as a guide.


Helen Stewart lives in London, England and is inspired by the culture and fashion in the city. She finds knitting provides a satisfying escape from work and domestic details and is most happy getting immersed in a challenging lace project.

She's HellsBells on Ravelry and occasionally blogs here.