Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring Shawls - Calais Tinkering & Miss Woodhouse

Yes I've been making a lot of lace shawls and No I'm not even close to done! No no no no no!
My latest two are also my current favorite shape - triangle/crescent. With a "classic" triangle shawl you knit from the center top and increase equally along the center spine and edges, working outwards. This gives you a straight top edge with a length that is double the height of the spine. My Swallowtail shawl is a good example.

With these triangle/crescent shapes the increases on the edges are twice as rapid as along the spine. The end result is longer and more shallow. The top edge is often blocked as a curve making it look like a crescent, but the construction is just like a classic triangle. One great advantage is that you can make great sized shawl with relatively little yarn. Another is that extra length makes it so easy to wear.

I had previously made the Traveling Woman shawl and loved it so I set out to find more patterns with this shape. There aren't too many out there (yet?) but I selected Wendy Johnson's Miss Woodhouse pattern as my next project.

Blocked out nice an big and only used about 315 yards! I used Madeline Tosh sock yarn for this one in the "William Morris" colorway. A beautiful, warm brown with speckles of robin-egg blue.
Raveled here

Next up I fell for a new free pattern Calais. I thought it would make a perfect spring shawl but it was that classic triangle and I really wanted that triangle/crescent again. So I set about to alter it to fit that new shape.

First I started with the original pattern chart and widened it along the edge. Then I basically filled in the extra spaces with the pattern. It took a bit of fiddling with until it looked right, but here is what I came up with (sorry for the weird spacing around this):
Next I continued the extra increases through the eyelet portion and finally I was ready for the edging. Here is where it gets complicated again. I wanted to do the edging as is but I needed to get a correct stitch count to start it. You need a multiple of 20 plus 7 for it. When I made mine I knew I'd have 2 extra stitches but those garter rows of the eyelet section are perfect for camouflaging a couple decreases or increases if you need.

I didn't do all the edging rows as written, but it's pretty flexible on doing more or less rows here. With my handy kitchen scale I was able to use just about all of my yarn, around 350yards for this one in HandMaiden Casbah, the "Rose Garden" colorway.
Raveled here

It's definitely a bit trickier to block these shapes but worthwhile!


  1. Thanks for posting your Calais mods. Your version is a little more wearable for me and I'd like to try it. Quick question - did you cast on more stitches to begin?

  2. I did need to start with 9 stitches to begin my chart. 2 edge + 2 pattern + 1 center + 2 pattern + 2 edge. I like to do a garter tab and actually cast on 3, did 6 knit rows, picked up 3 stitches on the side and then 3 from the cast on edge. I only did a 2 stitch border for the shawl but this worked out fine. Any way you get to 9 stitches will work though.

  3. Oh, so pretty! I am making a baby blanket sorta thing in a lace pattern - lots of crazy needle acrobatics involved! Whew!

  4. Oh my stars, it's like you read my mind! I also fell in love with the shape of Traveling Woman and was wishing for more shawls in that pattern. The Dane Shawl is that shape, by the way.

    So, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your modifications. I'm definately going to try that!!!

    Leslie aka Queenbidgood on Ravelry