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Polyxena Shawl knitting pattern

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The Polyxena Shawl uses a half-pi construction, which doubles the number of stitches after each section. The construction is well-suited to showing off gradient yarn, and the final section is adjustable based upon how much yarn you have available. Although the name Polyxena refers to a character from the story of the Trojan War, the “poly” part of the name means “many,” which refers to the gradient or color-changing yarn used in this design.

The pattern includes instructions for three sizes based upon how much yarn you have (463 yards, 555 yards, and 693 yards).

Pattern includes both written directions as well as charts for the lace.


Art-by-Ana Sock Garden Party Cake (75% Merino, 25% nylon, 693 yds/633 m per 150g cake); 1 cake

or 670 yds (612 m) of another fingering weight gradient yarn

Optional instructions provided for 463-yd and 555-yd versions


US 6 (4.0 mm) 32” (80 cm) or longer circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
2 stitch markers


26 stitches and 35 rows over 4” (10 cm) in stockinette

Finished Measurements

Straight edge: 62” (157.5 cm)
From straight edge to widest point of half-circle: 25” (63.5 cm)

Printing Details

The pattern has been professionally printed on 80# cover stock and uses a half-fold binding (created by folding a single sheet that is twice the size of the finished product in half, creating a 4-page publication). The middle pages of the pattern are printed front and back and inserted into the 4-page folded section. The pattern is 6 pages long. The size of the pattern is letter size (8 1/2" x 11").

Electronic PDF Version Included

On the print copy of the pattern, you'll find a sticker with a coupon code. Enter that coupon code on Ravelry and a PDF version of the pattern will be added to your Ravelry library. That way if you ever lose the print copy, the pattern will still be available to you. If you just want the electronic version of the pattern, you can purchase it on Ravelry here.

Photos copyright Anne Podlesak. Pattern layout by Elizabeth Green of Stitch Definition.

The Story Behind the Pattern Name

Polyxena is a character in Greek plays and poems about Troy. Her father, Priam, was the king of Troy, and Polyxena was engaged to be married to Achilles. But when Achilles went to the temple to meet her (or in some versions of the story to be married), her brothers Paris and Deiphobus kill Achilles. His ghost returns to demand the sacrifice of Polyxena (in some versions, the sacrifice is payment for Achilles’ murder and in others the sacrifice is so the Greeks will have enough wind to sail their ships home).

Many medieval authors used stories from the Greeks and Romans within their own tales, sometimes retelling the stories and sometimes just as a quick reference within the story, an allusion to something contemporary readers would be familiar with. Geoffrey Chaucer, one of the most important writers in medieval England, referred to Polyxena in several of his works. In Troilus and Criseyde (which takes place during the Trojan War), Polyxena is Troilus’s sister, and Troilus promises his friend, Pandarus, that he can have Polyxena if Pandarus will help Troilus win the hand of Criseyde (who is Pandarus’s niece). In The Legend of Good Women (which might more appropriately be titled The Legend of Bad Men), Polyxena’s name is evoked as one of love’s martyrs.

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