FANTOOSH! – my new spring shawl – is now available.

Fantoosh is a top-down triangular shawl featuring a tesselating allover motif defined by centred double decreases and twisted stitches. Its a lovely rhythmic knit with a pleasing end result!


In Scots, fantoosh means “fancy”, or a wee bit “over the top”. When I was at the beginning of the design process, this shawl felt quite fantoosh to me (although I suppose if you compare it to, say, any design of Shetland fine lace, it is not in the least fancy at all). But because it is worked in a beautiful, luxurious yarn (of which more in a moment), coupled with the fact that it features twisted stitches and openwork, the design idea initially seemed a wee bit more elaborate to me than my usual style. I really enjoyed creating this shawl, and spent quite a bit of time swatching and re-swatching as I honed the motif. I like tesselating shapes, and my favourite kind of lace patterns are those with a well-defined geometry. Playing around with the decreases and twisted stitches meant I could lend this large leafy motif a really graphic strength and structure. Then, once I’d finalised the stitch pattern, I was pleased to discover that the shawl itself was going to end up being incredibly straightforward: memorised after just one repeat, the motif is extremely easy and satisfying to knit. Its an intuitive design whose slightly fancy appearance in fact belies its real simplicity. When I’d finished, it was the exuberance of the shawl that pleased me most – I think it really suits its name – Fantoosh!


The yarn is (gasp, sigh) Old Maiden Aunt Aunt Alpaca / silk / cashmere 4 ply. This blend of luxury fibres makes it a very fantoosh yarn indeed for me to work with. . .but I took one look at Lilith’s colours on this base and I was completely hooked. I knew I had to work with it. The shade is called “Pretty Floral Bonnet” and it really is exceptionally pretty: a subdued shade of pink-y purple, just slightly semi-solid, with these amazing luminous pops of eau de nil running through it. The overall effect is subtle but luminous.


It knits up into a wonderfully soft, drapey fabric that also feels substantial and warm. Perfect to wrap oneself up in on a breezy day.


The shawl is knit from the top-down, to create a triangle twice as wide as it is long. I personally love the flexibility (and wrapability) of a Really Big Shawl. With a wingspan of almost 2 metres, this sample is, ahem, quite large, and uses around 700 yards of yarn (2 skeins).


But a mahooosive shawl is not for everyone. I knit up a second sample and found that a single skein (400 yards) still makes a good-sized shawl with a 114 cm / 45 in wingspan and yarn to spare – so I’ve written the pattern for two sizes, small and large. And because the repeats are short and simple, you’ll find its also really easy to adjust their number to suit other size preferences (and yarn quantities).


Fantoosh is both relaxing and fun to knit – there’s enough variety in the stitch pattern to keep things interesting, and its satisfyingly addictive seeing each new motif appear.


Designing and knitting Fantoosh has put me on a something of a roll, and I suddenly find myself with quite a few ideas fizzing around my brain.


Lets see if these ideas come to fruition!


Fantoosh is available digitally via Ravelry and in print via Magcloud


Happy knitting!

76 thoughts on “Fantoosh!

  1. Has anybody tried to knit an additional repeat to the small version, in order to use up all the yarn from one skein? (I have about 30g left after finishing the last repeat..) Seems such a shame to not use it all.. And also the pattern is pretty addictive :)


  2. You always have great pictures to illustrate your work, but I must say that this time they are absolutely fantastic! Love them very much.


  3. Kate, I started knitting my own Fantoosh as soon as the pattern was available. I’ve done about half of the shawl so far and am absolutely loving the knitting! You were right, it’s a fun, excting knit and I can’t wait to finish my shawl. I’m already sourcing yarn for another one. All the best, Catherine


  4. That shawl is so beautiful and the colour is just right for me, I definitely have to have one. Also, the photo of the kilt compliments the shawl so well, where can I get one of them as well….


  5. This is lovely. I am with you on the massive shawl front too, so the fact that it is a proper wrap around is very appealing to me…


  6. HELP: Kate, love love this pattern, but may I please appeal to you for help? I just cannot get the stitch count right!! I have worked the 30 set up row, no probs, looks right, but after that it all goes down hill!!! I have tried knitting from the chart and tried knitting from the written pattern, frogged 3 times– and I just cannot get the pattern to flow. Any ideas what I may be doing wrong?
    Hope that I haven’t bothered you with my query but I am just SOOO frustrated with myself.


    1. This is my first shawl, and the description of this as easy to memorise by practically everyone encouraged me to give it a go. I’m obviously missing something cos. I’m making really heavy weather of following the written instructions. Any tips for what I should be looking out for in terms of the flow of the pattern would be gratefully received. Fantoosh is so beautiful I really don’t want to abandon it. Help please! Maybe the fabulous Mel could be persuaded to do a video tutorial?


  7. Gorgeous! I’ve never made a shawl… But this makes me want to attempt to make one… I love the yarn choice too. Kate, the one you’re modeling is the “mahoosive” size? It´s wonderful


  8. Beautiful! I love your final tessellation. So pretty! Would you mind sharing your swatched prototype tessellations on Instagram? It is fascinating to see where the designer moves the increases and decreases to create flow and energy in the fabric, and to see that process unfold in your swatches would be wonderful.


  9. A girl can never have too many shawls and this one is truly fantoosh! Added to my list of projects for this year. Stunning photography in my favourite place in the whole world. Anne


  10. Faboosh Fantoosh! The color you chose is marvelous, too – the sort of “half mourning” color that isn’t mournful at all, but rather cheerful, gleeful even.

    OT/total non-sequiter: what’s happening with your study of women in uniform? Moved to the back burner?


  11. This is a lovely shawl, Kate, and the pictures are gorgeous. I’ve already purchased it and am now trying to decide if I’m going to knit it from stash or splurge and buy the OMA yarn.


  12. This shawl is stunning. You have the most beautiful location for modelling your creations.
    Summer is already in fun force here at over 30C, not quite shawl weather but in no time September will be here again.


  13. The third last photo is the best–the dress, the wind, the colours of the water and mountains! Does the shawl start with a garter tab, or not? Just wondering…


  14. Thank you for the beautiful pictures. Your shawl is beautiful. The sea and mountains are so beautiful in the background. I want to live there.
    admiration and appreciation and gratitude and love.
    reguards cindy


  15. So beautiful, thank you Kate. Also much appreciate your written instructions as well as charts on your wonderful shawl patterns.
    All good things to you and yours.


  16. you have derailed me, I’ve been thinking about the stripy hap shawl! Might the twisted stitch be stressful on my left thumb? I knit by throwing….


  17. Love the lace! And I love knitting lace and there’s lots of it in this shawl! The color is very pretty and I bet it would be in all sorts of colors. Might have to add that to the queue. I do simply adore this shawl. It would be my first shawl, but what a fantastic shawl to start with


  18. Kate, this shawl is so beautiful! I knew it would be from the small photo you showed us a while ago! I love it, and have marked it a favourite on Ravelry already! Thank you


  19. absolutely beautiful Kate – the photography on the blog post was stunning! Who wouldn’t love to knit this wonderful garment and I’ll have to try and source some of that Old Maiden Aunt – I’ve been wanting to try it for a long time, its just not readily available in the US. Cheers! Mel


  20. Absolutely Fantoosh! I love lace shawls, and this one looks entirely “do-able” for me with my limited time to knit. I’m sure I could easily pick it up and find exactly where I’d left off. Lovely!


  21. Just about to start knitting Firth-o-Forth which will take me forever but this is next on the list! It’s lovely and will keep me warm in my old age!


  22. Stunning! I never knit shawls or anything with very much lace because if there is a way to mess it up I will . . . we just don’t speak the same language! I do love shawls but will never ever knit one! Wear one yes knit . . . not unless I learn shawl-language.


  23. This is truly beautiful! I always love your write ups of your designs – hope that those other “ideas fizzing around the brain” come to reality soon, very soon!


  24. My sister and I travelled to Scotland and Loch Lomond a few weeks ago. Our trip was, in part, inspired by your writing and your photos. It’s nice to see these pictures and think, “Oh! We have been there!”


  25. The shawl is beautiful, but I am enchanted by the photo of you wrapped in it with the sea behind you!
    Thanks once more for your imagination and creativity! Just got back from a fabulous weekend at the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival here in the states, with tons of lovely new hand dyed yarn to knit; perhaps this shawl !


    1. I’m with you. A bright and breezy shawl isn’t cutting the mustard today although it is very beautiful and styled wonderfully


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