The weather is behaving very oddly. I live in Ireland so I’m an expert on odd weather. We are an optimistic race, though never happy with what we get! It is the beginning of August and we are still waiting for summer to begin. This is a little unfair as this year; weather had not been too bad. Yes we had a tremendously snowy winter which was unusual and then we had the obligatory hot spell at the beginning of June (just in time for the Leaving & Junior Cert exams, it never fails, every year it’s the same) and now we are waiting for the good weather.
The thing is, the weather is a little warm (about 17˚ to 18˚c) and mostly dry (apart from the torrential rain) but I just wish the thunder would come, I have a headache that could knock a building and we’re due a good storm to freshen things up. No doubt, we will be waiting for the good weather well into September (just in time for the schools to reopen) and if it does show its face then we will complain of the heat, the humidity, and the lack of rain. See? Never happy!
Anyway, I digress. With a little chill in the air, I have been wearing my shawls a lot lately. I have a few that I can wear without being too worried about snagging or ripping, the more delicate ones I leave for formal occasions, weddings etc. but most of them either aren’t big enough or not very decorative. Therefore, I have been inspired to create yet again!
I was also trawling through Ravelry and lately there have been a lot of posts regarding shawls for travelling (big, yet light, decorative yet durable and the ability to double as an everyday shawl yet be pretty enough to use on an evening out) and there were a lot of beautiful suggestions from people with their favourite go to shawls. It got me thinking of my own shawls and their uses.
I have several small shawlette types in lace weight yarn that look really pretty over shirts and dresses, but they are more decorative than useful (what I mean is that they are too small be warm and they are definitely not for snuggling up in). I then have larger square Shetland Shawls but they are mostly in cobweb yarn or gossamer and are definitely not for everyday use, unless I can figure out how to live in a bubble! I have one large 2ply lace weight square shawl (my 2ply Lerwick) which was my first ever every row patterned piece and will always be my favourite but because I’m so attached to it I don’t want anything bad to happen to it.
Though I’m a fan of the square shawls, I think that they can be a little bulky when folded in half to be worn, and you can’t always see the beautiful patterns clearly, which is a terrible waste when you have spent all that time knitting it. So I decided on a large (very large) triangle, with the centre triangle knit first, then the border stitches picked up from both sides of the centre and knit outwards, finished off with a knit on edging. I figured if I made a huge triangle it could double as a blanket, pillow, jacket, dressing gown, sofa snuggler and would look good night or day. I knew I would have to make it in lace weight wool (so I wouldn’t be afraid of harming it, any heavier and it wouldn’t be light and transportable) and it was a no brainer to use Jamieson & Smith’s Shetland Supreme in Natural. I had used it for my Lerwick, I love how soft, and fluffy and gorgeous it is. It blocks amazingly well too. Now all I needed was a pattern!
I could have spent ages making up my own stitch patterns but I wanted something a little more sophisticated so I went to Sharon Millers Heirloom Knitting book and picked out some stitch patterns from it. This shawl is just for me, I won’t be posting the pattern, so I figured why not!
I have always loved the antique centre pattern, every time I open the book I’m drawn to it, so I just had to have it for the centre of mine. I think it will make a very nice focal point. I had intended on using only every other row patterns (for durability) but as this will be on my back, I don’t think too much harm should come to it. I was able to work out the pattern on Excel easily enough beginning with 7 stitches (2 side stitches, 3 centre stitches and 2 side stitches) and increasing on both sides (next to the 2 side stitches) every OTHER row. I amended it to be a 47-row repeat to be repeated 8 times in total. I ended with two plain rows, 1 eyelet row and two plain rows before reserving stitches for the edging.
For the borders, I plan to pick up 205 stitches on each side of the centre triangle plus 1 centre stitch (411 stitches in total) and used the Bead and Peerie Flea Diamond pattern for 168 rows increasing by four stitches every other row. This is an every other row pattern and looks quite easy but effective. It should look well in the lace weight with a 3.25mm needle on a garter stitch base. To finish I picked the Alpine Edging 2, which is quite lacy and pretty, around all three sides.
The name of the shawl is ‘Peerie Smoorikins’ which means ‘little kisses’ and it came from a silver circular brooch that my husband bought me for Christmas last year, and I use it to fasten my shawls. I thought it was perfect as it came from Shetland, so did the wool and so did the stitch patterns (via Heirloom Knitting)
I can’t wait to see how this turns out. I may not want the winter to end once I have this beauty around my shoulders!