It’s getting cold – time to bring the retro-knitted shawls out!
I seem to have completed quite a few this year. Here’s an electric blue number knitted in decided non-period wool from my 1915 copy of Patons’ famous Woolcraft booklet, in amongst all the other highly exotic undergarments of the era:
I used a cone of machine-knit acrylic in place of the super-fine Shetland wool recommended in the pattern. The pattern is actually extremely simple, consisting of sets of intersecting ‘fans’ repeated again and again (and again and again and again…): the only difference between rows is that there are three different corner groups, which have to be repeated in a set order, and if you get it wrong you don’t notice until you try to work the next row into it and find that it doesn’t fit. It’s very dispiriting to discover this when each row takes forty-five minutes to complete!
This is a square shawl measuring thirty-six inches along each side (plus star-border). It was so large that I had to pin it out and steam it on my bed: I don’t have a ‘blocking board’ big enough. But the whole thing weighs only 160 grams (five and a half ounces).
It took me a while to work out how to wear a square shawl by looking at the photo in the booklet, but in fact if you fold it right you get a genuine ‘shawl collar’ forming all by itself…
My second shawl was also worked in crochet, but was a far faster project! So fast in fact that I did two, with slightly different colour schemes to use up the spare wool: spot the difference.
This was a 1940s pattern for a round shawl entitled “Cozy comfort on cool nights”, and it is designed to sit with a yoke section on the shoulders and a looser section in ‘Solomon’s knot’ stitch. It only takes a few days to make out of double-knitting wool, and is a good way to use up scraps.
My third shawl is a triangle shawl of unknown date, since the website I got the pattern from gives only a diagram from an old magazine:
I deliberately chose a much larger hook size than would normally be used for working double-knitting wool (itself thicker wool than would have been intended for a pattern of this type) so that, instead of getting multiple squares to be assembled together with their edges matching in a further lace pattern, I got a single large square that would more or less fit across my back.
This was just as well, since the instructions don’t give any directions as to how you are supposed to make the partial squares to fit along the edges, and I had to guess… and clearly got it wrong, as they ended up distinctly shorter than the full-size motif! Luckily with only two dangling down the front, it doesn’t show.
By using the very large hook size to produce this extra ‘lacy’ effect, I managed to get an entire shawl out of one spare ball of double-knitting wool: very economical.