Friday, April 4, 2008

My First Try at a Shetland Lace Pattern

“Shetland Lace is an accepted term for the very fine and elaborate lace knitting produced in the Shetland Isles from the 19th century onwards…The most famous pieces were the Wedding Ring Shawls; these were commonly six foot (180 cms) square and so finely knitted that when finished, the shawl could be passed through a wedding ring. Shetland Lace is still available today, usually for exclusive items like Stoles, Christening Shawls and Robes, prices ranging from £100 - £2000 each.” (From Heirloom Knitting.)

I used one of these traditional patterns, Old Shale, to make a very airy summer-weight baby shawl with Red Heart Soft Baby three-ply yarn and some circular needles in size 10 ½ (American).

I love this pattern, which is just one of the many Old Shale variations. The end product looks far more complicated than it actually is to knit. The only problem I had was losing my place while knitting and chatting with my knitting group and that was soon solved by making a little chart to keep track of which row I was on. As long as I finished each row and checked it off, I could see where I was and could avoid errors.

Since the pattern calls for a multiple of 18 stitches, I cast on a total of 108. This gave me a shawl about 32 inches wide. I expected it to relax more after blocking than it did, and would make the next one a bit bigger.

Old Shale Pattern

Cast on a multiple of 18 stitches. Check off each row as you complete it, using this chart.
Pattern Row: *[K2 tog] 3 times, [yo, K1] 6 times, [K2 tog] 3 times, repeat from * to end.


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