Today marks the third annual World Curlew Day! We want to raise awareness of these wonderful wading birds so we’re marking the day by bringing back the beautiful curlew knitting patterns we shared with you two years ago. 

Knitting for Curlews

Curlews, with their bubbling calls and distinctive long curved bill, are a firm favourite for many of us and depending on the time of year can be seen along beach shorelines or up in the hills. The UK is a really important place for curlews – around a quarter of the world’s breeding population is found here and Scotland is home to around half of them making it a real stronghold for the species. Unfortunately, curlew numbers in Scotland as across the UK are experiencing huge declines and so the RSPB has been working on a Curlew Recovery Programme for the past few years.  

Curlew - credit Ian Francis (

In 2018 we were lucky enough to have two very talented knitters share their curlew inspired patterns with us to help celebrate these birds and raise awareness of their plight. Now in 2020 with life under lockdown and many of us spending our time at home on craft projects, rediscovering the joys of art and nature, or learning new skills it seems very appropriate to share these incredible patterns again.

Shetland is home to many curlews where they are known as whaaps. Linda Shearer, Chair of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers, created a whaap hat pattern for us inspired by the birds she can see in the field next to her house and which she made using Shetland wool. She has recently been using the pattern to use up odd ends of wool creating this wonderful mix of coloured hats! The hat pattern can be downloaded from here (pdf download).

Linda's colourful curlew hats

Nicky Fijalkowska designed a knitted curlew pattern called Wendy the Whaap which was available as a free download from Ravelry for a limited time in 2018. She has very generously made it available for free again now. Nicky has a life-long love of birds and was a member of the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists Club as a child. Her book filled with bird patterns called Knitted Birds was published by Search Press in 2015. Her free Wendy the Whaap pattern can be downloaded here by using the code WHAAP which is valid until 31 May.  

Wendy the Whaap 

To find out more about Linda, Nicky, and Shetland’s whaaps you can read the original blog here 

If you are inspired by these knits please do share them with us on RSPB Scotland Facebook or Twitter, or any other ways that curlews have inspired your craft projects!