Here ya go! This super-easy, super-quick shawl is knit from the neck (top) down. Work with a thinner yarn and bigger needles for a lacey effect, or thicker yarn for something cozy and warm.

simple yet effective


– chunky weight yarn, approximately 350-500 yards depending on desired size

– 8 mm (US11) 24” circular needle

– removable stitch marker


k: knit

p: purl

yo: yarn over


about 8 stitches/10 cm (4”), after blocking


Cast on 5 stitches.

Row 1 (RS): k1, yo, k1, yo, k1 (mark this st as centre st), yo, k1, yo, k1.

Row 2 (WS): k all stitches

Row 3 (RS): k1, yo, k to centre stitch, yo, k1, yo, k to last stitch, yo, k1.

Increase on all RS rows as for row 3 while working garter and stockinette bands. This is what I did, but I did it randomly – so let your random inner self play! I ended with stockinette because I ran out of yarn, but I’d suggest ending off with a few rows of garter stitch to ward off any rolling.

8 rows garter st (including rows 1-3)

6 rows stockinette stitch

6 rows garter st

8 rows stockinette st

8 rows garter st

8 rows stockinette st

10 rows garter st

10 rows stockinette st

8 rows garter st

4 rows stockinette st

Continue working increases on all RS rows while alternating bands until shawl is big enough, or you run out of yarn. Bind off loosely in purl. Block, then weave in ends. So simple!

85 Responses to “simple yet effective shawl”

  1. Anna

    Thanks for the pattern! I love knitting things that are beautiful, but simple. :)

  2. Chris

    Looks great – thanks for the pattern! Um, it says knit from the neck down, but if I read it right – isn’t it from the point up to the neck??

  3. j a r e d

    it looks great! what yarn did you use? does it look as good close up as from far away?! great color.

  4. Daryl

    I love this shawl, but how much yarn did your use? Any rough recollection of yardage? Daryl

  5. Pamela

    Loved this pattern. You did a beautiful job and I also love patterns that are simply and easy. Can you give a rough amount of yardage of yarn and type of yarn that you used? Would be much appreciated. Pamela

  6. Rachel

    I am making this pattern (and loving it!) in some manos, do you have any idea what your stitch count was when you bound off? I mean, how many stitches you had in the end? I’ve never made a shawl before, and i really don’t have any clue how long/big it’s supposed to be…Thanks!

  7. Julie

    Love the pattern, it’s my first non-dishcloth knit project. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Rachel F

    Well that’s really lovely. I’ll add it to my list of things I really want to do! I love the idea that you can do it ‘thick’ or ‘thin’ and get two lovely but very different effects

  9. Susan Cannizzaro

    I just love your scarf. I have a couple of questions. Does this start at the top or bottom?

    What kind of yarn do you use? it says bulky, but it doesn’t look like bulky.

    And, you say you increase randomly, like how?
    Thanks so much. I will look forward to your answers…

  10. Cathy H.

    Thanks for sharing this lovely shawl. Beautiful thank you for all the wonderful caregivers. Would you mind me using it for a few sweet ladies in wheelchairs at my Nursing Home? Hugs of thanks from Cathy(Oldcrow)

  11. crochet all day » If I had a camera…

    […] But my mind is in hyperdrive so let me get back on track. If I had a camera I would show you the yarn on the skein, one as this, and another as this,  and then I would ask your opinion. I absolutely cannot like anything I’ve used this yarn for. I’m going to try one more pattern and hope the third time is the charm. […]

  12. Sandra

    Very pretty shawl, especially in that striking red! Would you consider allowing Fiber Femmes to publish it for Nov/Dec issue? is the website of this exciting e-magazine supporting, encouraging and promoting women in the fiber industry/arts.

  13. Susan

    I see a lot of people asking about yardage, but no answers. I just completed the shawl, and I used 560 yards of bulky or chunky-weight yarn on size 11 needles. The finished shawl measures about 30″ deep and about 64″ across the top. It’s a great pattern, and was easy to knit.


  14. Erine

    Thank you so much for posting about how yours turned out.

    And thank you for the pattern! I’ll be making it for my pen-pal in Australia. ^_^

  15. leighcia

    Thanks for posting this pattern!
    I used it to make a shawl for my mother and it turned out beautifully. I’m a beginning knitter so the pattern was perfect for me.

  16. susan

    just have to tell you how much I love this shawl pattern…have made it with many different yarnsand each came out great….thanx !!!!!!!! sue

  17. Solid… as a sock! « BeanKnit– Now with Sewing!

    […] The Simple, Yet Effective Shawl, from CosmicPluto. Also found this on Ravelry. I saw it and said, “Yessssssssssssssss finally a shawl I can’t screw up!!”, and dubbed it thus. (To be fair I kinda forgot a few YOs but made them up on the return rows. You won’t tell anybody, will you? *pokes lip out sadly*) Hee. But seriously. This shawl is so damn easy I could cry. I’m already about done with the first of four balls of Jaeger Luxury Tweed I got as a b-day present last year. I intend to keep knitting til it’s all gone. Gotta whittle down that stash. So I can make room for more of these: […]

  18. Peggy

    I just finished the shawl from some blue faced leicester that I had handspun. It came out just wonderful. It was for a friend of mine who is 100. She just loved it. Thanks for posting the pattern. I needed something I could finish in a hurry.

  19. Roberta Rostomily

    I love this pattern. I have just started it and it loooks to me that the garter stripes are heading in the wrong direction if this is the bottom. Do we say the bottom is at the point? Can you please respond? Thank you

  20. Stitch N Bitch-Lafayette » Summer of Shawl/Sweater/Socks?

    […] Here we go again. I’ve been doing some larger gauge knitting since all of the sock knitting has been wrecking havoc on my RSI. I did finish a Simple Yet Effective Shawl out of left over bits of hand dyed yarns, alpaca/blends, and the beautiful handspun that Faith sent me. […]

  21. Poodle

    Well, it’s like a mitered square backwards! That’s why it’s started from the top and worked down to the tip which turns up and in on itself to form a beautiful point. This is so clever!
    I love the simplicity of the project and then the way it looks so difficult. I’m bookmarking you and will visit often. Thank you!

  22. LauraW

    Thank you for posting this pattern. I came across it last week and started one using Lion Brand Homespun (Grape). Love the way it’s turning out. Oldest DD is going to love it when she receives it at her baby shower (she not into lacey frou-frou clothing).

  23. Ada Lai

    Love this shawl – heard about it on Ravelry – I, too, love simple, but beautiful things and I enjoy getting back to bulkier yarns, especially since Misti Alpaca Bulky just came out in some beautiful new “painted” colors

  24. chloe

    Not only do you have a great blog, but you have posted a wonderful shawl pattern.
    So generous of you to share it with all of us.
    I am ready to knit it up but would like to make it a bit larger.
    Can you tell me how to accomplish that? Please remember, I am a new knitter.
    Thank you for the pattern.

  25. I’m a lousy blogger at House of Wool Repute

    […] But back to the FO. I received a gorgeous skein of Briar Rose Fibers Fourth Of July for Christmas from my uncle (my aunt picked it up at one of the very nice yarn shops in Grosse Pointe Michigan – don’t actually know which one, though). It was blue-green, normally not my color at all, but, it was Briar Rose and it was beautiful. I didn’t want to knit socks (my love/hate relationship with sock yarn/knitting socks….future post), and it’s a pretty heavy fingering anyway, so I went with shawl. I chose Cosmicplutoknits Simple Yet Effective Shawl. […]

  26. Deb

    Thanks, I’m going to make this.I need something to cover up with at work because of the arctic temps when the a/c is working.

  27. JaneLB

    I like this and think I will try it soon!

  28. Bev Watts

    I just copied and pasted your pattern into a Word Perfect document to shorten the printing process. I pasted it without changing the format. Between the last line of the pattern and the Comments section, a hidden link to a hard core porn site appeared. I don’t know that much about blogs and programing, but I bet this is some infection that you would like to know about. I just deleted it on my copy so no problems. I love the pattern. Bev

  29. Anna’s Shawl « Fat Hippy

    […] a thank-you, I knit her a simple but funky shawl. I found the basic pattern on Ravelry, also linked here, and added both the middle and side increases every other row in plain garter stitch. I decided not […]

  30. Eva

    Thank you for sharing this pattern. I used it to make a shawl, but it’s hard to see I used this pattern cuz it looks totally different – altered the pattern a bit :)

  31. Cecile Powell

    I have been knitting for over 50 years and don’t understand this pattern. It sounds like the 3 rows are repeated – but where to the bands come in: 8 rows garter st, 6 rows stockinette stitch 6 rows garter etc
    You say increase every RS – that is every right side right?
    Also does RW & WS mean right side and wrong side?
    I would like to make this shawl if I could understand it.
    Thank you, Cecile

  32. Brenda

    I’m making this at the moment. To help untangle some of the confusions:

    – it’s knit from the top down, ie neck first. The increases create the V shape.

    – RS = right side ws = wrong side, although it hardly matters with this pattern it’s more-or-less reversible.

    – do an increase Row 3 on every other row, purl or garter, whichever you’re on at the time. Every other Row will be a row 3, with all increases happening in knit rows.

    Hope that helps! It’s looking lovely, by the way. I’m making it in super-chunky so it’s been very quick and easy to see how the pattern works.

    Very simple and effective! ;)

    Thank you!

  33. True Confessions « Kiss My Frog

    […] kinda gal, but the truth will out, and I just can’t help myself. I’m using the Simple Yet Effective Shawl pattern by Laura Chau, and Laura says in the pattern “let your random inner self out to […]

  34. Rachel

    I see the pattern in the form of a picture but can barely read it. Where can I get the Noro Mini Shawl pattern?? Thanks!

  35. Kasie

    How much yarn did this shawl use? I have 190 yds of bulky handspun merino that would be perfect. Thanks.

  36. pingush

    Love it. Love love love it! I think it’s a perfect blend of knitting and professionalism. =)

  37. Yarn Pirate » Handmade Holidays

    […] this skein of handspun and wondered if a small-ish shawl would do the trick. I cast on for the Simple Yet Effective Shawl and after a few hours I had almost half a shawl. I emailed my grandma to tell her I was working on […]

  38. Yarn Pirate » What I made in January

    […] Yarn Wench merino, “Mahogany Peacock”, 9.25 oz Spun- 240 yd of Bulky 2-ply. Pattern- Simple Yet Effective Shawl Needles- size 13 circs. Mods- None, except I ran a bit short of yarn and used some leftover black […]

  39. Evelyn

    I love this pattern. Pics on my blog. I made it for a friend diagnosed with cancer, and I can’t believe I finished it in less than a week, because I am not a fast knitter! This was much faster than a rectangular stole. The only issue I had was that the little ring I was using as a stitch marker wanted to slide under the yo and confuse me about which stitch was the center stitch. After a couple of incidents, I made sure to check that center stitch each time before knitting past it. Thanks so much for sharing this fun pattern.

  40. forest

    ummm,ok, I get rs and ws, and border, but where is the increase happening, please? Anywhere I like?
    Standard k into front and back of the stitch, or make 1, or my choice?
    Thanks,,Forest in Florida (I get cold if temps under 90)

  41. Barbara

    What a gorgeous shawl! My high school art teacher said: “Simplicity is the essence of good design”. This shawl proves he was right! Thank you for making it available to the rest of us. Free patterns are most appreciated right now.

  42. Cally

    It does say knit from the neck down yet it starts at a point.Also,i dont understand how you’re simply knitting rows and increasing but the finished shawl looks like you’re knitting in two directions?
    Where exactly is the starting point, is it at the bottom point of the;v; shape or at one of the other corners, or even in the middle, and do you make two of the same and then graft them together?
    Effectivwe, yes,simple, not!!!!

  43. Maggie

    I made this pattern many years ago and loved it but lost my copy of it. I am so glad to see it again and I cannot wait to make it.

  44. Pink? for me? « entropy

    […] for a quick jaunt to the store or have handy for a cool soccer game. I believe the combination of this pattern and this yarn will be the perfect […]

  45. Alice

    thank you so much for this pattern its just want i wanted a simple, easy, yet beautiful and not boring to knit shawl pattern! i’m having so much fun knitting this! :D

  46. Ginna

    My shawl is coming out lopsided. Should the Row 3 yo, k1, yo be on either side of the center stitch or all on one side? Thanks!

  47. Tallguy

    This is the very best shawl pattern, I feel, for anyone that is unsure of their yardage. You just keep on knitting until you run out of yarn, or it reaches a length you like, whichever comes first! But this is also perfect for using up leftover bits of yarn, in almost any colour or weight. Just change as desired.

    Yes, you start at the back of the neck, and proceed down to the length you want. Each row adds a couple of stitches, so your rows will get longer and longer. You will be knitting the outer edge all the time.

    You can insert any patterning you wish, but careful that you don’t get carried away. Keep it simple, letting the yarns show off. Use any weight, any fibre, any size needles. It’s all up to you!

  48. AllisonB

    Great pattern, amazing. I thought it wasn’t going to work, but it does. Just follow the pattern and you’ll find that it works out.

  49. Elianastar

    There are YO… but no decrease stitches of any kind. Every YO, therefore, IS an increased stitch. On the following row, you knit that YO as though it were a regular stitch in the row before.

    She clearly states that the pattern is worked “from the neck down.”

    “Increase on all RS rows”… in the manner of Row 3 via YO that will be knit as new stitches on the following row.

    The bands are knit via groups of garter stitch, followed by groups of stockinette stitch.

    For the center to remain centered, you must have the same number of YO on each side of the center stitch. [YO, knit the center stitch, YO]

    Depending the yarn weight and needle size you choose, 500-1000 yds would cover pretty much any size shawl you’d like to make. Less than that, would make a nice scarf or shoulder wrap. :-)

    You can make your shawl as large or as small as you like, dependent first upon the amount of yarn you have to work with and second upon how large you want it to be if you’ve not run out of yarn but decide that’s big enough.

  50. Ginna

    Thanks for your help Elianastar. I’m knitting in a thick dark green wool on size 8 needles and it’s coming out beautifully.

  51. Elianastar

    You’re very welcome Ginna! Hope that helped and that your shawl is all you hoped it would be! :-)

  52. kelli ann

    Effectivwe, yes,simple, not!!!!

    –Er: simple, yes. Not obvious when looking at the pattern perhaps, but nothing could be simpler. Am copying shamelessly Larissa Brown’s ‘melted crayons’ shawl and have something infinitely less funky– but me likey anyway.

  53. KTHunter

    I just made one of these with my size 9 needles and some Caron Simply Soft heather gray and country blue. So pretty and so easy! Thank you so much for coming up with this one.

  54. kkSparks

    Hi ~ I am using Noro Iro on size 11 32″ circular needles, and love it! I have more than enough yarn, just not sure when to stop. I have 325 yards in so far, and the depth measures approx 24″ with approx 160+ stitches across. If I am half-way, this will be one big-mama shawl! Of course, each row gets longer, and the ratio is not linear. Maybe I will make a hat with the last skein… Anyway, brilliant pattern, thanks.

  55. Tonja S

    Simple yet gorgeous. Using Noro Chirimen…soft, textural…Love this pattern!

  56. Michelle

    Thank you so much for this pattern Laura! I just finished mine & I LOVE how it turned out:-)


  57. Jennie

    I love this pattern! I was unsure a first how is was going to play out but I’m almost halfway done and it’s beautiful! If your confused looking at the pattern just follow the directions and it’ll make sense after a while! Thanks for posting this!

  58. Martha

    I love this pattern. I made it for a friend who is undergoing chemo. She said her shoulders were always cold during the treatments, and the shawl warmed her and made her feel better (I used her favorite colors). The piece didn’t interfere with her iv’s. I made fringe on it, and I love the way it came out. So does my friend!


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