Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A better day with Rams & Yowes.

That initial roll is a nuisance. In the end, it’ll be flattened by the final border. For now, it swallows the little six-row edge pattern and the entire first rank of sheep. But I have finally knit my way beyond it. I got a whole seven rounds done yesterday. The third rank of sheep should acquire their faces today. That's the steek, down the middle.,

And here’s Milano/Relax3. Beautiful, no? The stitch count is right and the markers in place. The stripes are really straight, not wavy.

I spent a while yesterday entertaining the fantasy of knitting an another fancy shawl for future brides, maybe Sharon Miller’s Unst Bridal Shawl.

The Princess is an enormous triangle – knit back and forth, therefore, producing garter stitch which is the norm. All Sharon’s others – most Shetland shawls – are square: edging, four borders, centre. How to make the borders come out in garter stitch?

Knit them separately and sew them together? Just knit them round and round in st st and don’t worry about it? In very fine yarn, the difference is not as great as all that. Or, of course, purl alternate rows?

I had remembered that Amedro eschewed purling altogether, and that her technique was to do the edging first, pick up stitches, and knit inwards all the way to the centre – no central square. But memory has distorted things somewhat. There’s plenty of purling in Amedro. It’s only the Brora Black Shawl that seems to combine a garter stitch edging with a st st body: i.e., all knit.

Madeline Weston’s “Old Shell Shawl” in “The Traditional Sweater Book” starts with half the edging, and then picks up stitches for two of the four borders. This process is then repeated, and finally the centre is knit back and forth. Two corner seams to sew – better than four. I don’t think I’ve seen that idea anywhere else.

Somebody – I think quite likely Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer – came up with the idea of wrapping and turning at the end of every round, as you knit the borders. I did that once – that wrapped-and-turned corner looks different from the others, but it’s maybe not too bad. And then there’s Fleegle’s brilliant idea, of turning around as before but with a separate ball of yarn for each side.

I did that for my most recent shawl, the Mourning Shawl for our niece after her mother, my husband’s sister, died. I think I sort of muddled things and the turns aren’t perfect.

It’s all a bit of a dream.


  1. Have you read Mary Thomas's Knitting Book? It's a great read and she gives two alternate constructions for Hap Shawls, one of which doesn't knit the border round and round and so could produce garter stitch.

  2. I must admit that while admiring the cute sheep faces of the "Rams and Yowes", I also thought your potatoes look really good in a yummy way. It's coming on winter (even in Texas) and food is on my mind.

  3. Deidra8:57 PM

    Hi Jean,
    There's a group on Ravelry called Heirloom Knitting and they cover this issue amongst the other chatter about the Princess shawl and Sharon Miller's designs. You probably already know about the group but if you don't, it's got excellent members with lots of experience and advice about lace knitting and they're attempting to reproduce Shetland shawls to preserve the patterns.

  4. There is a thread in the Heirloom knitting groupon Ravelry with another way to avoid all that purling for the border:http://www.ravelry.com/discuss/heirloom-knitting/2556526/1-25#15