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Ántonia Shawlette & Capelet

$4.50 or 2 Pages of Your Story

Available as part of the Accessories Collection for $18

Difficulty: Engaging (click for info)

Ántonia is a lacy yet hearty shawl inspired by the open skies and wide grasslands of Willa Cather's classic 1918 novel My Ántonia. Its scalloped edges evoke a past era of American life, while the center-slanted lace motifs of its main body are faintly reminiscent of the Germanic or Bohemian influence carried over from the Old Country by families like the Shimerdas. I can imagine a schoolteacher in Cather's Black Hawk, Nebraska throwing just such a light shawl over her shoulders on her walk home from the schoolhouse in the early fall, after releasing Jim and Ántonia from their lessons into the prairie wilds.

Included in the Ántonia pattern are two versions of the design: a regular triangular shawlette, which can be worked from one standard, 100g skein of fingering-weight sock yarn; and an L-shaped capelet, which requires about 130g of the same weight.  Both are knit in a similar way: the entire bottom edge is cast on and the edging worked first, with the turn of the bottom corner formed by an extra-wide scallop.  After the edging has been worked, the pattern transitions to the body motif, with the shape of the shawl determined by placement of decreases.  (The shawlette places them at the sides and the center, whereas the capelet has them in the center only.)  The shawlette is then simply worked until all the stitches have been decreased.  For the capelet, the knitter works a certain number of repeats, followed by an eyelet row and a loose bind-off.

The Ántonia pattern DOES require the ability to read a lace chart.  However, it also features extremely detailed written instructions about chart and decrease placement on every single row of both versions of the design.  As such, it's a pretty long pattern!  Don't be intimidated by the length; those instructions are just there to eliminate any doubts you may have.  More intuitive knitters will probably find themselves working large portions with only a glance at the instructions, especially once they've made the transition from the edging to the main body of the shawl.

This pattern is available individually and as part of the Accessories Collection.

Pattern Information


  • Both styles measure 38 inches (96.5cm) horizontally from point to point.
  • Shawlette measures 17 inches (43cm) vertically from point to upper center.
  • Capelet measures 11.5 inches (29cm) vertically along the side of each "wing."


  • 12 sts and 17 rows = 2 inches in stockinette (blocked)


  • 1 skein (for the shawlette) or 1.5 skeins (for the capelet) Fleece Artist Sea Wool (70% Merino/30% Seacell, 112g/382yd), colorway Brick
  • One circular US#3/3.25mm needle, preferably with cable at least 29 inches long
  • Stitch markers in two easily-distinguishable types: 8 type 1 markers and 2 type 2 markers
  • Tapestry needle

Necessary Techniques:

  • Reading lace charts
  • Knitting and purling through the back loop
  • Working yo, k2tog, ssk, p2tog, p2togtbl, centered decrease, and s1-k2tog-psso
  • Wet-blocking

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