In September I am teaching a weekend on Faroese knitting at The Wool Shed near Aberdeen. So I am knitting samples, using their Alba lace weight and 4 ply/fingering. I have done a couple of mini shawls, one in each yarn, so far. This is the lace weight:
I am now working on a full sized shawl using the Artesano 4 ply alpaca I bought on Papay. I have the main Faroese book on the subject (and the English translation) but I also have photocopies of an earlier book, long out of print. These were given me by a friend who lives in Thorshavn, the capital of the Faroes. Unfortunately I don’t have a note of the title of the book.
The book gives general instructions for knitting the traditional shawls at the front, including a diagram of the construction:
It then gives page after page of charts (215 of them) written in the usual Faroese manner – ie a x in the square where the yarn over will be. These are called ‘eyelets’ and the chart only gives these, leaving you to put in the decreases which go with each eyelet. I only have a few pages and am using one of them as the basis for my full sized shawl.
Many folk seem to think that it is the shape of the back gusset plus the two triangular ‘wings’ which keep these shawls on the shoulders so well. In actual fact it is the ‘darts’ knitted in the wings at shoulder level which do the trick. These are extra decreases in the top 3 or 4 inches of the shawl, which don’t show well on the blocked shawl, but do on the unblocked one (here on a mini shawl in 4 ply/fingering Alba wool):
The big shawl hasn’t got that far yet… I am currently at the stage where my head KNOWS I have enough yarn to finish it, but my heart doesn’t believe it! If I knit fast enough I will have enough…. If the worst comes to the worst I can ring Papay for more….
The colour in that pic is not right – it is a much deeper cherry red, as shown in the pic below. I am using my new Signature Arts circs – which are gorgeous…