12mm-US 17

How to Create Short Row Shawls and Shawlettes

short row shawl
This short row shawl is available on Ravelry

I have knit just about every kind of shawl and scarf imaginable over the years and designed quite a few originals but I always tended to gravitate towards the traditional top-down triangular construction with increases in the center and along the edges until I found a wonderful antique lace pattern that I didn’t think would lend itself well to this method. So I decided to do a short row shawl and the more I work on it, the more I really enjoy the short row construction and how much more versatile it is for customizing the size and shape of your shawl.

I love shawlettes and scarves and admit I am a little obsessed with them. I have a really large collection of them and I think between my scarves and shawls I could almost wear a different one everyday during the winter months without wearing the same one twice. LOL Most shawls are rather large and the points can be kind of thick so they don’t always lend well to wrapping around your neck in a scarf-like fashion. This is especially true for ones knit in a heavier gauge of wool. The short row scarf allows you to easily narrow those ends while maintaining the pattern without a lot of complicated graphing and calculations.

The advantages of using short rows to shape your scarf is that, unlike decreasing stitches at the beginning and end of each row, when you are finished and ready to add an edging, there is no need to pick-up and knit stitches along the outer edge as the stitches are all still on your needles and ready to go.

Another big advantage, for me anyway, is that you start out with many stitches on the needle while you are excited about the project and as the piece goes along, the rows become shorter and shorter making it feel like an easy knit. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I begin to get bored with a shawl pattern after working it for a few weeks. With this method of knitting a shawl, I don’t seem to have the same problem because by the time I begin to feel a bit bored with the pattern, the rows start to move faster and I am done in no time!

How to knit a short row shawl:

  • Choose your lace pattern
  • Choose your yarn
  • Choose your needles
  • Knit a swatch of the lace pattern so you can test the gauge to know how many stitches you will need to cast on for your desired length.
  • Cast on the desired number of stitches adding 2 or 3 stitches on each end for a garter stitch border.
  • Knit 2-3 rows of your pattern and then begin doing short rows.
  • If you want a traditional triangle, knit one stitch less at each end of row (leaving the unworked stitches on the needle and placing a marker when you turn so you will easily know where to turn on the returning row).
  • For narrower ends, I work to within 3 stitches of the end of the previous row and turn. This makes a shallower shawlette that is perfect as a scarf.
  • Work back and forth in shorter and shorter rows until your shawl is the size you want. If you want it triangular you will work right down to one or 2 stitches, if you want it to be more semi-circular shaped, you will just stop when it is the right shape. Then work 3-4 rows of garter stitch before beginning your edging stitches or just bind off loosely if you want a plain edge.

Give the short row shawl a try. It is ideal for any lace stitch or striped yarn that you do not want to have an obvious increase worked in the center as you would with the traditional triangular shawl construction. It also is great for self striping yarns that you want to have nice horizontal stripes instead of the V shape.

12mm-US 17

What is a Prayer Shawl?

prayer shawl ministryTraditionally, prayer shawls were worn by men and women to church or places of worship as part of their prayerful rituals. In recent years, prayer shawls or healing shawls have taken on a new meaning.

The concept was started by two women, Janet Bristow and Victoria Galo from the Hartford Seminary. They began making shawls for women in need of healing. Whether the healing is medical or spiritual it does not matter. The shawls are intended to bring comfort.

The pattern you use does not matter. Any shawl or scarf pattern is suitable, it is the prayers you say before, during and after creating the shawl that turns it into a prayer shawl and a source of comfort to the person using it.

You begin by saying a healing prayer for the recipient. As you work on the shawl, you continue to bless the shawl with your prayers of good intent as you weave/knit/crochet the yarn. When you complete the work, you say another prayer for the person who is to receive it.

The shawl is given to a person in need and is intended to bring them comfort and solace in their time of need. Often these are given to people who are going through medical procedures, struggling with illness, the loss of a loved one, emotional turmoil or suffering. They are also given at milestones such as marriages, birth of a child, graduation, etc.

The idea is that the shawl is blessed with the love of God and will see the recipient through times of sorrow, to help someone stay committed to a new beginning in life or to celebrate a joyous occasion.

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12mm-US 17

Sagittaria Triangular Lace Shawl Pattern

sagittaria-lace-shawlThis is a beautiful lace shawl pattern suitable for an intermediate or advanced knitter. I love this one and am planning on knitting it as soon as I finish the lace scarf that is on my needles now.

I really like how open and dainty this shawl looks and the intricate arrow shaped edging. I have to find just the right yarn for this beauty. I am thinking another silk or maybe even cotton this time.
Yarn: the brown shawl is made of Novita Wool (100 % merino wool, 50 g = 135 m), approx. 160 g. The green shawl is made of approx. 150 grams of Drops Alpaca ( 100 % alpaca wool, 50 g = 180 m). You can knit the shawl from virtually any yarn: the thinner the yarn the lighter the shawl and the smaller the pattern.

Needles: Pick about two sizes (2 mm) bigger needles than recommended to the yarn. The size of the needles depends on how tight or loose you knit: my knitting style is quite average, and with the brown shawl I chose 5,5 mm needles when the recommendation is 3,5 mm.

Other equipment: 4 stitch markers, and a tapestry needle to weave in the yarn ends.

Finished Measurements
The size of the brown shawl is 200 cm x 90 cm, the green shawl is 200 cm x 100 cm. The size can be easily adjusted by knitting less or more of rows 1-12 of chart 2.

Here is the free pattern for the lace shawl. http://vilman.blogspot.com/2007/03/sagittaria-shawl.html

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12mm-US 17

Beginners Leaf Lace Scarf Pattern

branching-lace-scarfBeginner knitters are always terrified at the thought of tackling a lace project. Really, if you have mastered the basics of knit, purl, yarn over and knitting 2 stitches together you are ready for a nice easy lace scarf.

I must warn you though, knitting lace can get addictive! Once you have completed your first piece, you will want to try more and more.

You will want to experiment with all different types of lace weight yarn as well as knitting lace with heavier weight yarn. I have just ordered some lovely silk/cashmere yarn in a creamy off white color on eBay and my fingers are just twitching waiting to get started as soon as it arrives. I plan on knitting this very pattern for my daughter for Christmas.

Silky Wool Version (green scarf): 7 inches wide, 59 inches long (after blocking)
Douceur et Soie Version (pink scarf): 7 inches wide, 78 inches long (after blocking)

Elsebeth Lavold, Silky Wool [65% wool, 35% silk; 190 yards /175 meters per 50g skein]; color: Moss #008; 1 skein


Knit One Crochet Two, Douceur et Soie [70% baby mohair, 30% silk; 225 yards/205 meters per 25g skein]; color: Soft Sunrise #8243; 1 skein

1 set US #8/5mm straight needles
Tapestry needle

Gauge is not crucial.

Silky Wool Version: 16 sts/26 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch (unblocked)
Douceur et Soie Version: 20 sts/24 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch (unblocked)

You will find this free pattern over at Knitty – http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/PATTbranchingout.html

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