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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More on the red Faroese shawl

Well, the shawl is almost finished.  It is off the needles and photographed.

Because its size and shape, I dressed it folded.  I first pinned the back gusset to shape, then one wing, then folded the other over the top and pinned that:

Because of the double thickness and the fact it was alpaca, it took a while to dry, but it has kept the blocking well:

The fringe is now in progress.  Yes, I did have plenty of yarn and will have some left over after the fringe – so it has taken 250 g of the Artesano 4 ply alpaca for the shawl and about another 50 g ball for the fringe.

Being alpaca (a heavy fibre) it doesn’t need the fringe to weight the bottom edge, but it is looking nice!  Final pix and details at a later date – I haven’t weighed and measured it yet.

This was a nice warm knit – perfect for the silly June temperatures we have been having – I am now missing the nice warm weight of it on my knee…  Still, another shawl is next up, this time one to be ready for Knit Camp…

Faroese Shawls

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.

chart fron book (left) and my version (right)

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…