DIYdiy projects

diy project: polli knitters’ cozy lamp shade

by Kate Pruitt

I believe I’ve compiled enough anecdotal evidence to prove that all artists and designers share a love of discovering new materials; I can say from personal experience that I enjoy dabbling in other artistic fields to fuel my creativity. So it doesn’t surprise me that Maja and Tess, the ladies behind Polli handmade jewelry, are secret knitting fiends. The Australian design duo’s affection for working with yarn has inspired some of the hand woven jewelry in their new collection, and has also brought us this wonderful knitted lamp shade tutorial! I love the idea of cozying up my lamp shades to keep them nice and warm for fall :) Thanks Maja and Tess ! — Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • a selection of buttons that compliment your lamp shade base
  • a lamp with shade (the shade we have used is 7″ in diameter and 9″ high. If your shade has different dimensions, you will have to modify the pattern.)
  • flexible measuring tape
  • wool or cotton yarn (we used 12-ply white cotton; it is best to use a natural non-flammable yarn that won’t shrink in the wash)
  • size 8 knitting needles (circular needles are great for this project because we could wrap the knitting around the shade as we went along. If you don’t have circular needles or haven’t used them before, long straight needles will work just as well.)
  • cotton drill fabric to cover the original shade with a neutral color (you don’t need this if your shade is already a light neutral tone)
  • needle, thread and pins

Click here for pattern template.


1.  Measure the shade. Ours is 23 inches in circumference and 9 inches high. Cut the cotton fabric, adding an extra inch on the circumference (enough to sew together) and 3 inches on the height so you can fold the top of the fabric cover over the top edge of the shade to hide the bottom cover completely.

2. Sew the top and bottom seams first as neatly as you can and iron flat. Pin the fabric around the shade to make sure you have a snug fit, and then sew the edges to make a tube. Iron the seam flat.

3. Knitting this shade is very simple once you get the pattern. Don’t be overwhelmed by the abbreviations — once you read through it and have a look at the chart, it will all become clear, as you are working toward a pattern. Click here and here for some video tutorials to help you with the lace stitches. YouTube is a great resource for instructional knitting videos.

Here’s a decoder for the knitting abbreviations:
k = knit
p = purl
yo = yarn over
sl = slip stitch (pass stitch from the left needle to the right needle without knitting the stitch)
Sl1, k1, psso = slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch

Cast on 81 Stitches:
Row 1: (k1, p1) to the end of row, finish on a k stitch
Rows 2–4: repeat row 1 (this is called seed stitch)
Row 5: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k3,*(yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 4 times, k3* repeat 5 times, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 6: and every even row (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, p to the last 6 stitches (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 7: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k4, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 3 times, *k5, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 3 times* repeat 4 times, k4, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 9: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k5, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice, *k7,  (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice* repeat 4 times, k5, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 11: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k6, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso), *k9, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso)* repeat 4 times, k6, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 13: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 4 times, *k3, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 4 times* repeat 4 times, k3, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice, k1, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 15: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k1, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice, *k5 (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) 3 times* repeat 4 times, k5, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 17: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, *(yo, Sl1, k1, psso) twice, k7,*  repeat 5 times,  (yo, Sl1, k1, psso), k1. (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Row 19: (k1, p1) repeat 2 more times, k1, (yo, Sl1, k1, psso), *k9, ( yo, Sl1, k1, psso)* repeat 5 times, (p1, k1) repeat 2 more times
Rows 21–36: repeat rows 5–20
Rows 37–44:
repeat rows 5–12
Rows 45–50:
repeat row 1

Bind off loosely.

4. Overlap the end borders (moss stitch sections). Place the buttons evenly within the border. Since the shade can be pulled into place, there is no need for button holes. Sew the buttons on through the 2 layers.

5. Place the knitted shade over the fabric shade and you are finished!

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  • Love the idea! Some time ago I made a similar one for my mum using handspun yarn and one of the IKEA’s lamps – it came out beautifully!

  • i would like to know where can i find the lovely jewelry stand on the back (white dutch houses style).
    Thank you!

  • or, for those of us who can’t knit, seems like you could cut up an old cardigan for the same effect. thanks for the inspiration!

  • so cute!! while this far surpasses my knitting capabilities, i think i may have to try recreating this using a thrifted sweater. such a great idea for fall!

  • Thanks for your comments and your interest in the Amsterdam jewellery stand. This is a prototype and we hope to have the finished product ready for sale later in the year. xx Polli

  • Thanks again for your comments – yes wool is a firesafe material.

    The lamp shade is just form IKEA so afforable and accessible – go get ’em!

    xx Polli

  • Just an FYI. RE: yarn choices, cotton is VERY flammable – it burns like paper. Wool, however, is a much safer bet, as it’s flame retardant – it’s what we use for fire blankets!

  • I love the buttons you chose. It adds the perfect touch. I’d love to know where you got them… Please don’t say a flea market!! :)

  • Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your web site by chance, and I’m surprised why this twist of fate didn’t happened earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  • Love the look, but not much of a knitter, so my idea for this would be: Go to the thrift store and find a button down loose knit sweater, cut a news paper template to fit the lamp shade, cut the sweater up the center back and across from the bottom of the arm hole/sleeves. Leaving the front buttoned, center template on buttons, cut template and then stretch around lamp shade and hot glue the back together. I always check out the thrift store for interesting sweaters to use as pillow covers for the winter time. The combination would be great for the bed or reading chair to make it look just warm and inviting.