In Which the Pirate Designs Lace.

I’ve been thinking about lace design.

I have a single skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light, 440 yards of yarn in the Vintage Frame colourway, to work with. I’ll have to swatch, of course, but I’m thinking that using US 5 (3.75 mm) needles would give a nice drapy fabric without looking too open in the stockinette sections, and help the yarn to go further. Not only is it a matter of not wanting to go buy a second skein, it’s also that I want this to be my first for-sale pattern, and I don’t want it to break anyone’s budget if they should decide to knit it up.

The first question is, what shape to make the shawl? A rectangular stole might be easiest to design, with no increases or decreases to account for, but I like the look of triangle and half-circle shawls as well. The half-circle could be made up of wedges or it could be made up of three triangles put together, which would look sort of like a square with one triangle cut out of it. I am considering making up two versions of the same design, one in the rectangular shape and one in another, as-yet-undecided, shape. And there will almost certainly be an optional ruffled edging.

Which type of shawl do you prefer: rectangular, half-circle, triangular, or some other shape? And why?

The second question is, what lace patterns should I use? This shawl/stole is being designed with a specific theme in mind, one that I’m not ready to share until I am a little further along in the process. After some consideration, I’ve come up with three symbols that represent my theme – heather flowers, chevrons, and cats’ paws. I am armed with the Barbara Walker Treasuries, several instructional webpages on how to integrate lace patterns into differently-shaped shawls, and a knitting symbols font loaded onto my computer. I am ready! Here we go! This will be fun!

I guess if I’m going to be the sort of knitter who makes shawls, that makes me into the sort of person who *wears* shawls. This is very, very far away from the image I have of myself, but I like to push that image sometimes to see how far it will go. I have a necklace made from a vintage typewriter key that says “margin release,” and I think that’s become my new motto. Push the boundaries, try new things! Get outside of the lines!

3 Responses

  1. Mom says:

    Your last paragraph is very interesting and inspiring. It took me to my forties and a move to be willing to start pushing boundaries.

  2. Calophi says:

    I tend to make triangle shawls, but there is one shape of shawl I haven’t done yet that I REALLY want to do, and that is the faroese shawl. It’s essentially a triangle, but it has shaping for the neck and shoulders that help it to stay on, and a panel going down the center of the back rather than just a “spine” in other triangle shawls.

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