Show to shawl

November 7, 2014

A couple of years ago I made this for Australian Sheep and Wool Show with some of my handspun yarn.


Baby Lottie won a prize and as part of the prize, I received this hand dyed merino top from Fibres Yarns and Threads.

IMG_3031I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with this. It is an exceptionally intense colour.

IMG_2793Then my new whorls arrived and I decided to try the fast whorl for some laceweight spinning. I just grabbed the fibre because it was handy but fell in love with the yarn I was making. It was as if the merino wanted to become lace. As I experimented, the project, pattern and recipient became clear also.  Spinning revealed paths and purpose.

IMG_3628I decided to spin for a 2 ply worsted laceweight that was slightly underplied, so I used the 18:1 whorl for both singles and plying. I spun 487m, that would be enough for the shawl I had in mind.

IMG_4551The pattern is Evelyn A. Clark’s Prarie Rose Lace Shawl from The Knitter’s Book of Wool (2009) by Clara Parkes. The rose pattern, the fushia colour…a flower theme seemed to serendipitously form around the person I realised the shawl was for.

IMG_4620The only modification I made was an extra repeat to make the shawl a little larger. Project details here.

Prarie Rose Lace Shawl is typical of Evelyn Clark’s shawls, elegant and restrained patterning, concise and clear instructions and garter tab cast on. This shawl also features an extra stretchy bind off which I had not used before and will now finish every shawl with.

The other thing I learned from this project was that it is unwise to knit lace during periods of emotional turmoil. The lace marks several points where I had to learn this lesson. I don’t think it has marred the work, rather it has encoded some lived experience into the shawl.

IMG_4629A row and a half to go, I ran out of yarn! But that was OK, I had kept records and could spin some more from the remaining fibre. I just had to finish the spinning project currently on the wheel which was using all my bobbins. As I finished that project the emptied bobbins surprisingly revealed the exact merino singles I needed and forgot about. I plyed them and kept knitting. I finished with an inch and a half to spare…not ideal but just enough.

IMG_4636Is this not a Shawl of Destiny? It was certainly determined to be made.


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  1. “Encoded some lived experience into the shawl”….just beautiful. Another stunning piece to add to your body of work. I loved seeing what the prize became 🙂

  2. What could be better than a hot pink lace shawl!! It’s absoloutely magical. It looks like a glorious moth stretching it’s wings about to fly in your wonderful photos. Fancy finishing with an inch and a half to spare, it was definitely meant to be.

  3. I love reading your blog and viewing the wonderful knitted items you create. Your writing allows me to feel like part of your family! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Rebecca, I am blown away again. I must learn to spin. Must learn. How did you learn? Wow, just wow! Baby Lottie is lovely and so is the shawl. You know, I have never made a shawl, but I am due to make one for a Christmas present, from a Gudrun Johnson pattern that I like. I’m looking forward to the new experiment. You make me want to become a more adventurous knitter, rather than a comfort knitter and how satisfying it must be to spin the yarn you knit with. I so wish my grandmother had taught me. I am determined to find a local teacher.

    PS I can relate to emotional turmoil being knitted into objects. I have seen it myself while knitting sweaters on many occasions! (For me the knitting just gets quite tight, although there are others with more complicated lace patterns that have developed some new “nodes,” so to speak. PPS I don’t have Clara Parkes’s books but have been thinking of getting them for a long time. Do you have them all?

  5. Thank you for a beautiful story to start the morning, Rebecca. I really love a tale where the universe pulls everything together and the plucky heroine is along for the ride.

    That color! Your shawl’s person should prepare for a shower of compliments and be assured that charms against emotional turmoil are at the ready.

    Well done you, girl!

  6. I loved the story of Baby Lottie and it certainly did deserve a prize!
    However, that colour is a stunner 🙂 I applaud you for working with it…my prejudices coming thru with the colour pink ! However the shawl is stunning……probably because of the lace the colour doesn’t ‘bother’ me quite so much. And Destiny certainly describes it with 1 1/2″ to spare……Woof!!

  7. What a truly epic accomplishment! It’s really beautiful and the colour suits perfectly. I love how this shawl has some real “lived experience” knitted in – the magic only hand knitting and spinning can make. Baby Lottie is completely adorable too – what a talent you are 🙂 xo

  8. Popped over from Rachael’s blog to read more about this beautiful shawl’s story! You are a very generous soul to give this away! Despite the emotional upheavals knitted into the rows, it is fabulous!

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