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.