Shawls

by Harriet Bazley on November 2, 2013 · 4 comments

in 1910s,1940s,Accessories

It’s getting cold – time to bring the retro-knitted shawls out!

Patons Woolcraft 9th editionI 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!
corner of shawl

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).
Holding up shawl

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…

Wearing shawl under cherry tree

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Standing under the rose arch

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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.

green shawl in garden

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red shawl indoors

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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.

front view, sky-gazing in garden

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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:
http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/crochet-shawl.html

I’ve called it an ‘Art Deco’ shawl, but in fact I’ve been told it may well be older.
Shawl displayed in garden

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.

back view of shawl being worn

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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.

front/side view of shawl being worn

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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.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Bonita November 4, 2013 at 1:22 am

Love the 40s shawl pattern – was it an online pattern or hard copy? I would really like to make one for myself, so if there is a pattern available, please let me know. Your shawls look so cozy and cute, I really think I must crochet one up!

bonita of Lavender & Twill

P.S. – you can email me at bonita.vear(at)gmail.com if you have any links or anything. Thank you! : )

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Harriet Bazley November 6, 2013 at 6:38 pm

The 1940s pattern is online – will e-mail the URL. Come to that the bottom pattern is online as well, although it’s not the easiest pattern to understand…

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Aaminah November 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

Your knitting skills are amazing. I never learned to knit but I did teach myself how to crochet many years ago. I have always wanted to make a shawl; that last one is absolutely stunning.

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evergreen November 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

I especially like the 1940s pattern you used to crochet the second shawls. I love wearing shawls, although mine are purchased because I haven’t yet learned to crochet or knit. Thanks for this inspiring post!

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