02 February 2009

Scottish Wool Shawl: finished!

When my sister and her husband were in Scotland, one of the missions undertaken was to find some wool to send back to me (my sister is a great enabler of my wool addiction: on a trip to Ireland, she drove around the countryside searching for sheep, and eventually managed to talk a shepherd in the midst of shearing his flock out of some raw fleece!).

This lovely yarn really wanted to be worked up in stockinette stitch ... that's about as plain as you can get in the knitting world, but I swatched it in several different patterns and this was the only one that worked to show off the little nubs of colour embedded in the yarn.
So, with a scale and a swatch and a calculator, I figured out a pattern that would produce a long shawl, wide enough to keep my back and upper arms covered and long enough to wrap all the way around my body. I knew I wanted the finished shawl to be nearly 6 feet long, and by weighing and measuring the sample I was able to extrapolate how much wool would be needed to create the finished product ... and, I had enough. The pattern is a simple repeat of plain stockinette with two purl stitches inserted every twenty stitches: nothing fancy, but the purl ribs give the plain knitting a bit of definition and add some visual interest. Four sets of twenty knit stitches with two purl stitches on either side of each knitted band ... repeat for six feet. Yes, it took awhile to knit, but it's a nice easy pattern, something you can work on while thinking of something else, and very restful to work on.
There was enough green wool to make the body of the shawl, and enough blue to make a border all around (which not only looks nice, it also stabilizes the edge). The blue edging is crocheted, although the finished work looks a lot like knitting as I used a single crochet stitch, not wanting any loops or picots along the side. The blue really brings out the colour in the green wool, and there was just enough to make for four rounds of crochet around the edge: the tiny ball of leftover blue yarn would fit in a toddler's hand.
Of course, I love the finished product all the more because I know this wool came from across the ocean, and was diligently searched out by a sister who loves me enough to find the perfect present when she is on vacation (enough, even, to sweet talk the shopkeeper into parting with wool she didn't even have on display: this precious stuff was stashed away in a back room and only offered for sale when the tale of the wool-crazed sister in Canada was relayed).
So, many thanks to my wonderful sister for the great yarn, and to her wonderful husband for his part in wool-chasing excursions across Europe!


  1. That looks lovely. Sometimes the best thing to show off good yarn is the simplest stitch.

  2. Anonymous9:19 pm

    Wow!!! Between the two of you girls you did a GREAT job!!! I'm proud of you both!!

    Love, AC


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