These Spellbinding Shawls Are Inspired by the Anatomy of Plants – Designed and Knit by Dr. Julia Riede

These Spellbinding Shawls Are Inspired by the Anatomy of Plants – Designed and Knit by Dr. Julia Riede

If you didn’t know otherwise, you might think the images below are from a pattern book for knitted shawls.

An illustration from Nehemiah Grew’s Anatomy of Plants, published in 1680

In fact, they are illustrations from a 330+ year old book called the Anatomy of Plants and they inspired Dr. Julia Riede to create a collection of ten shawl designs, all around this natural theme. It’s a wonderful idea – she notes, “the book is full of detailed, beautiful illustrations of the microscopic anatomy of plants: mostly cells, and lots of interesting textures evolving naturally.”

Riede is documenting her process from start to finish, which you can read about here, offering insight on her process to create ten different shawl designs, their compilation into a pattern collection and their final publication in book form.

It looks like she has four completed so far, below is one of them, The Sage Shawl.

The Sage Shawl Knitting Pattern – Designed and Knit by Dr. Julia Riede

To learn more about this smart and inspiring project, visit Riede at her site

And to keep up with patterns as they are released, be sure to follow the Knitting Plant Anatomy collection page on Ravelry.

About The Author


Danielle Holke is a long-time knitter, first taught by her beloved grandmother as a young girl growing up in Canada. In 2008 she launched KnitHacker, a lively blog and knitting community which has since grown to be a popular presence in contemporary knitting culture, reaching more than a million readers each year. As a marketing professional, Danielle advises and works with a motley squad of artists, yarn bombers, film makers, pattern designers, yarn companies and more.

Learn more about her latest book, Knits & Pieces: A Knitting Miscellany.


  1. Some of those are knit, but the ones at the top of the page are crochet.

    • Hi Johann, all of the shawls are knit. The images you are referring to are plant illustrations from a book published in the 1600s, Riede’s inspiration for her shawls. Apologies if that’s unclear, I’ll review the post to see where it can improve. Danielle


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