Skip to content

Shetland Haps

Hello! and sorry for the lack of blogs over the past wee while. Things have been very busy at J&S but today I am back with a blog about Haps!

baby wrapped in a hap, courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

baby wrapped in a hap, courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

I feel like lately Haps have been everywhere with Gudruns Hap Knit-a-Long on ravelry and Louise of KnitBritish’s Hap-A-Long which begins this week, so I thought I’d share some of the Hap patterns available from J&S and of course the modern counterparts as well as some ideas of the yarns that can be used to make one!

Haps drying in a field, courtesy of Hap Shawls: Then and Now by Sharon Miller

Haps drying in a field, courtesy of Hap Shawls: Then and Now by Sharon Miller

A Hap is essentially a wrap which is used to keep you warm, of course they come in many shapes and sizes but traditional Shetland Haps are square with a centre panel, a patterned surround (usually feather and fan lace) and an edging. There are many different ways to construct a Hap of which Louise goes into a good amount of detail on her blog post, there is also some good information here.

a hap drying outside in the 1970's. Courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

a hap drying outside in the 1960’s. Courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

We are very lucky that we have a lot of the samples created for patterns over the years for us, I’m going to start with the fancier Haps, traditionally used as Christening Shawls and knit using 1 or 2ply Lace weight.

These 1ply Shawls, all designed by Gladys Amedro follow the construction method of knitting the edging, picking up stitches then knitting into the centre which is one of the styles of Hap construction. They can all be made using 1ply Yarns, we have the 1ply Cobweb and also the 1ply Shetland Supreme. The original 1ply Cobweb will yield a crisper shawl due to its woollen spun make up but the Shetland Supreme will give you a softer shawl with more of a Halo, both beautiful of course!


1ply Cobweb

1ply Shetland Supreme

1ply Shetland Supreme

The Pam Shawl, seen above is another Gladys Amedro pattern but this time it is knit using 2ply Lace, we also have the My Weekly Baby Knits Shawl which is another 2ply Shawl. These are a bit less delicate and more for everyday use, although they would still be perfect for a christening

Although typically knit in Original 2ply Lace you could also knit any of these shawls using 2ply Supreme Lace or Shetland Heritage, both which would give you a different feel. The Supreme 2ply is a bit lighter weight than the original whereas the heritage is slightly heavier, since they are both worsted spun compared the the 2ply lace you would again get a different feel using them.


The Morag Shawl from Sharon Millers ‘Hap Shawls: Then and Now’ is a classic example of a traditional Hap which was worn by Shetland Women over the centuries. Large, warm and soft, this would keep everyone from a tiny baby to an old lady warm.

courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

courtesy of the Shetland Museum and Archives.

Typically knit in Jumper Weight, the shaded sections were used to add interest and use up all the scraps of Yarns.

A subtly shaded Natural Hap in Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight would be classic and timeless but it also offers the chance to use some nice colour palettes of Jumper Weight..


203,1284,366,fc9 and fc56


2, fc39,fc34,141 and 29


54, fc39,fc38,fc12 and fc11

In relation to finding patterns for these kinds of Haps, in the Traditional Shawls and Scarfs pattern booklet – all written out and not charted – there is a pattern for this kind of Shawl



Also available in the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers book: A Legacy of Lace is the Traditional Shetland Hap by Zena Thomson


But online you will find a wealth of patterns inspired by this style of Haps.

Hansel Hap (Full Version)

Hansel Hap (Full Version)

Hansel (Half Version)

Hansel (Half Version)

Gudrun Johnson’s lovely Hansel Pattern is available in a full and half hap version as well as in a Craftsy class! Knit using Jumper Weight the colour possibilities are endless.


Another Modern Hap inspired pattern is the Northmavine Hap by Kate Davies from her Colours of Shetland book, again knit in Jumper weight, this shawl has aspects of a traditional shawl in a modern shape.

I hope this has inspired you to get involved with Louise’s Hap-A-Long which begins on the 10th of April. Of course there are many more patterns which fit into this style so have a look and get involved! I thought I’d leave you with this great photo from a carnival in Lerwick with a Shetland themed float, that’s a big hap on the back!


19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Susan #

    Well, I HAD to back away from my keyboard so I wouldn’t DROOL on it!!! Thank you so much, I AM going to get the Traditional Shawls and Scarfs booklet and am going to check out the Scottish shawl I was given when #1 son was born. It was knitted by the mother of my staff nurse when I worked in Bangour Gen. Hosp. I had forgotten about it! Thank you SO much.

    April 6, 2015
  2. Now you, as well as Louise at KnitBritish, say that traditional construction of a hap was to start with the square centre. My experience of hap construction is to start with narrow lace edging, then the border with mitred corners and finally the square middle. This is the method used by members of Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers, Dyers and Knitters but none of them had heard of construction starting with the square middle. Members come from all areas of Shetland. Now I’m more curious about source of your information.

    April 7, 2015
  3. Hi Hazel, as i say in the blog there is many different ways and orders to make a hap, theres no right or wrong way as long as the end product is what you want. We have a few different patterns all with different constructions so just trying to give an overview, Ella x

    April 7, 2015
  4. helena bruce #

    Hi Ella- interesting overview of haps. Nice to see the Gibbie shawl which I knitted twice when I was 16. Sold one when I went to uni and used the other one when my children were born. However the photo of the woman with the blue shawl has resulted in a morning of reminiscing for my family as that is my gran’s sister Maggie Blance and the photo is taken outside the Pund in Mossbank probably earlier than the 1970’s as she died in September 1967.

    April 7, 2015
  5. I have read about the Hap-a-Long and to be honest, I started early. So I’m well on my way already.
    I’ll keep mine simple in colours, using the Half Hap (Sharon Miller) because I want an elaborate lace edging.

    Happy with your suggestions! Some people don’t leave it at just one Hap. More to come!

    April 7, 2015
  6. Hi Helena,

    Thanks for that, I have changed the photo description to the 1960’s, glad you enjoyed the post. Ella x

    April 7, 2015
  7. Sandra #

    I love this post so much information you are such a genius ella and I am so proud of your research and work keep it up

    April 8, 2015
  8. Am definitely going to have a look at Hap-a-long, although I doubt I have the time to knit one myself. I have an Aberdonian mother, now 85, who was always knitting round haps (although she called them shawls) which could be pulled through a wedding ring, they were so fine. Every time a friend or neighbour had a baby due, which seemed quite often(!), my mum would start another shawl. My eldest daughter is now 26 and settled with a husband and plans to have babies, so what do you think my mum is doing? 1 guess …. I spend my time feltmaking and embroidering rather than knitting. I wish I had time for all three.

    April 13, 2015
  9. Mary Clegg #

    Many thanks for these posts. I have used Gladys Amedro’s book on Shetland Lace many times over the years and the pattern she designed for the Woman’s Weekly which I am pleased to see is still available. Is it possible to buy a copy of the “Pam” shawl? I do not think I have seen it on the J & S website. One of the things I specially like about the patterns Gladys did is the way they begin with the border and end with a graft…NO SEWING!!

    The recent posts written by Oliver are wonderful. What a great tradition so glad it continues.


    April 18, 2015
  10. bridget payne #

    I’m just finishing the border of my first (half) hap, and i’m already planning my next. just so satisfying. I bought ‘the Art of Shetland Lace’ by Sarah Don in my twenties, and now retirement is in reach, it’s about time to start.


    August 5, 2020
  11. Susan Hunt #

    Many many years ago on a trip to Fetlar, I stopped off at J&S and bought an old and worn copy of “Shetland Traditional Shawls and Scarves” – at that time an A5 badly photocopied booklet. The patterns in it are beautiful but, as typed out in full with every piece of punctuation you could think of, they were a nightmare to read. I had to rewrite each one I did with my own rather more straightforward code. Is the book offered here a reprint of the old A5 or a new BIGGER version. If the latter, I will be very tempted to buy it again …..

    October 19, 2020
  12. Hello, yes we still sell that. We offer it now in a better reproduction of the original but the patterns are still the same. Our Shoormal Hap pattern is taken from that book and we completely redid the pattern – you can find it on Ravelry and Lovecrafts as a PDF.

    October 20, 2020

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Muddar – Wristwarmers Gloveboards | Britas Verk
  2. half hansel | ella gordon
  3. Yarn Series – Shetland Supreme Jumper Weight | Jamieson & Smith
  4. Spinzilla prep. | welfordpurls
  5. hap – like happy? – kathi knits
  6. Shetland and Back Again… – Jean Elizabeth Fiber Studio
  7. Johnson Family | Shetland Family Photographer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: