Four Shawls

A bit ago I was asked by The Knitter magazine to design four shawls for them.  I could choose size, shape and everything else!

I had been looking at some of my (many!) lace knitting books and so I had ideas at once.  I decided to have 4 different shapes from 4 different traditions – a sampler wrap using Austrian stitches, a square using Estonian stitches, a pi shawl using American stitches and a Faroese-inspired crescent.

In time all four were published and in time the rights returned to me.  So I put them out together.

The Austrian wrap is knitted here in 4 ply yarn.  The stitch patterns come for a series of three stitch libraries called Bauerliches Stricken, by Lisl Fanderl, published by Rosemheimer.  I was told about these books by a member of my Ravelry group and they contain many interesting stitches.  I chose to use a selection of patterns to give interest to the knitter.

I wanted to use the pi shaping for one shawl, so it had to be the one using stitches from Knitting Lace by Susanna E Lewis, published by Taunton Books, a dictionary of the patterns in a 19th Century lace sampler in the Brooklyn Museum.  It had to be called Miss American Pi…

As well as the two fairly recent stitch dictionaries of Estonian lace, I have a copy of the older Pitsilised Koekirjad by Leili Reimann.  I used stitches from these to make a square shawl knitted from the centre out.  These include both nupps and gathered stitches, the defining characteristics of Estonian lace.

For the final shawl I used a stitch pattern from a Faroese book,  215 Sjalmynstur by Olivia Joensen, for the traditional lace pattern above the hem, but shaped the ‘wings’ to give a crescent shawl.  It is knitted in the traditional way from the bottom up, so you start with lots of stitches and decrease quite rapidly.

The separate patterns can be bought from my Ravelry store (in $6 each) or from my Etsy store (£4 each).  For the next two weeks, you can get all four shawls for $10 from this link only. Just click on the last sentence to be taken to Paypal. I will then email the patterns to you. Remember, I may be in bed when you buy, so there may be a few hours’ delay!

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Pre-Order Centenary Stitches Now!

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The web page for Centenary Stitches is now on line, and you can pre-order it here. It costs £20, or $30. All the details of P&P are on the web page.

The book has about 70 patterns for all the family, all of them wearable today. Garments come in a wide size range (typically 30 to 60″ bust/chest for adult garments). Most of the accessories are sized for toddlers to plus sizes, and many of the shawls can be adapted to different sizes and yarn weights.

Centenary Stitches Patterns 1

Centenary Stitches Patterns 2

Centenary Stitches Patterns 3

Centenary Stitches Patterns 4

The book will be launched in Lincoln on 9th November 2014, Remembrance Sunday, and will be shipped in the second half of the month.

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Orkney Robe of Glory DK pattern released

Those of you who have been with me some time (thank you!) will know about the Robe of Glory. The story as we know it is this.

Back in 1981, Good Housekeeping released a pattern they called Blessings for a Baby. This was said to be based on the motifs used on the Robe of Glory, a sweater given to a boy when he reached manhood. It was said to have been traditional on the Fair Isle.

However, Anne Sinclair, who is a knitting historian who was born on Fair Isle, and who is now in charge of the museum there, has never heard of it, and there is no documentary evidence either.

It was Rae Compton, a very diligent researcher of traditional knitwear, who describes the Robe of Glory in a Shire book, Fishermen Knitting. She does not give her source, but unlike some researchers of that era, she was not given to making up fanciful stories! If she talks about it, it must be ‘true’.

Enter a friend of mine who was born and bred on the Orkney island of Stronsay. She has a pram blanket using the same motifs in a similar way, but knitted before the Good Housekeeping pattern came out. She remembers older ones too, and that the blanket was given to the first baby in a household. Talking with other Orcadians, I get infuriating glimpses but no definites! Many old people say ‘That rings a bell’, but I can’t get further than that. There is definitely a Stronsay connection, and probably a Westray one.

robe editted

The next interesting bit is that there were two big emigrations from Fair Isle in the Nineteenth Century. In both cases, several large families moved to Orkney, specifically to Stronsay. Was the Robe of Glory a family tradition, and did they bring it with them to Stronsay? I have yet to find photographic evidence, but it is a definite possibility.

Whatever the exact history, you can now knit the Orkney Robe of Glory for your own family! This version of the pattern uses DK yarn, and the back of the blanket is knitted in stripes with the yarn left over from the Fair Isle on the front. I used Paton’s Diploma, a 50% wool, 50% (good!!) acrylic which keeps its looks and its warmth through many machine washes and tumble dry cycles.

DK Robe of Glory 003

The front is knitted first in the round with a steek, then the edging is crocheted.

DK Robe of Glory 002

The back is knitted in stripes, the steek cut, and the back is sewn to the first row of the crocheted edging. The pattern has photos showing the various stages of construction.

steek with writing

dc into both legs

The pattern includes charts for all letters of the alphabet, and numerals, so you can personalise the back (or front) with the initials and birth date of the baby if you want.

DK Robe of Glory 001

I have knitted several for different babies, choosing the colours to match the pram. I crochet the edging in whatever colours suit, and which ever I have left over!!

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DK Robe of Glory 004

You can buy the pattern from Ravelry for $6 – you do not need to be a member of Ravelry.