My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Designing a Shawl: Dumb Luck or Forethought?

Liz asked:
I’ve been wondering, when you’re designing your own shawls, how do you determine when to start the bottom border and/or knitted-on edging? I have a shawl on my back burner that I’m working up with a finite amount of yarn. I haven’t been working on it because I’m not sure how to figure out when to end the body and move on to the edging without running out of yarn.

As a side question, when doing a knitted-on edging, do you just jump right in? Or is there a system to matching the edging to the shawl body? Do you just knit the edging till you get to the end of the body, not worrying about where you are in the edging pattern?

Good questions!

I basically know how much yarn it will take to knit a triangular shawl of the size I am making with a knitted-on edging. When I’m done, I’ll have a more exact idea. There is guesswork involved!

As for creating the knitted on edging, I do plan ahead. I make sure that my edging pattern repeats match the number of stitches that I have on the bottom edge. I take into allowance that when I get to the center point of the shawl, I am going to want to do twice as many edging rows for a couple of repeats so that the edging will be full enough to lie flat around the point when blocked.

Here’s a not-particularly-extreme close-up of the Woodland shawl:


Clare asked:
Have you ever attempted to block (other than very gently) any of the rowanspun yarns? My instincts are saying that this probably isn’t the yarn for a lace project, but I love the feel and drape of the yarn.

The only Rowan yarn I’ve used for a shawl is the Yorkshire Tweed 4-ply, which I used for the Deborah Newton shawl a couple of months ago. It blocked out beautifully.

Stash Enhancement!

I caved in and bought a skein of Helen’s Laces in the oh-so-yummy Aslan colorway last night at Knit Happens.


And when I got home last night, this was waiting in my mailbox:


That would be two skeins (220 yards each) of hand-dyed fingering weight qivuit in the Lupine colorway. From Caryll’s Designs.

I plan to use this to knit a lace scarf for the Qivuit Knit-along I joined a while back. The knit-along starts the beginning of September. I had planned on spinning my qivuit roving and using that, but I know I’m not going to get that done before September. So I’ll save that for later.

So . . . 440 yards of fingering weight qivuit. I may make up my own scarf pattern for this, or thumb through the ones I’ve already got and see if something catches my fancy.

Lucy Sez




  1. That yarn colorway for Woodland is so pretty!

  2. Lorrie LeJeune says:

    In response to Clare’s question… I’ve used Rowanspun 4-ply for lace and it blocks just fine. Unlike Wendy, however, I’m not a particularly aggressive blocker. The 4-ply is a little delicate, but not any more so than similar yarns, say, Jamieson & Smith’s 2-ply laceweight.

  3. In response to Liz’s questions – in the XRX book “Shawls And Scarves” there is an article by Joan Schrouder on page 57 – “Another Way To Attach A Lace Edging”. It discusses working the shawl and edging separately but at the same time when working with a finite amount of yarn. It is all waaay beyond me but maybe it will be of some help to you guys. Great job on the Inky – forgot if I posted! And Woodland is so beautiful.

  4. Great answers and stash-enhancement! Lucy is looking positively seductive.

  5. I LOVE the colors… how I wish I had access to those yarns on a regular basis. Then again I dont know if I have the funds to access that yarn like that so… Squeeze your stash and Kristine for me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now a question- why the triangle shawl? Living in Euro-Land people here wear the scarf style/pashmina/stoles all the time. And I am tempted to make one in that style. But triangle…. I don’t know how to wear it. I mean it points in a direction and at an anotomical part that I am not sure I should be drawing attention to anymore… Non?

  6. ps… in all fairness, I guess I should admit on my last emergency visa run to the states, I did get that colorway (gold hill) in shepard sock yarn. Now if I could figure out what kind of socks to make with it ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I love how the woodland shawl is coming. That colorway is gorgeous.

    Seeing your hank of Helen’s Lace reminded me of a question: how do you wind your laceweight yarn? I am about to embark on my first lace projects (inspired by your summer of lace), and don’t know if it would be wise to use my ballwinder and swift for the task.

  8. totally off topic, I visit often, not enough coffee this morning, and hit .com instead of .net… and got Rowanyarns page of links!
    says:”” (redirected from
    just found it interesting.
    oh and i love your blog and such beautiful work! I visit every day.

  9. Hi Wendy, I was hoping you could provide me with a little advice.

    I won 1000 yds of laceweight cashmere at Stitches Midwest and want to knit some lace for my mother. I’ve never really done lace knitting before and I want some thing extra-ordinary for her.

    Do you have any suggestions for a pattern that’s fairly easy and will use that amount?

  10. Love the colors you picked!!! WOOHOOO!

  11. Thanks for the info. ๐Ÿ™‚ I had a feeling the edging repeats should match the number of stitches. I guess the only way for me to learn is to jump it and do it.

  12. I’m very interested in seeing what you decide to knit with the qiviut as I’m contemplating getting some of the fingering weight from Caryll Designs. I’ve done business with them before and have always been very happy.

  13. LOVE that Aslan. I’ve been eyeing it for a while now – not even really having anything particular in mind yet – just love the colors. Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    Your Woodland shawl is beautiful – perfect name for that shawl and those colors.

  14. The way I deal with body/edging guesswork is to knit a sample swatch. Myrna Stahman, in her book “Stahman’s Shawls & Scarves”, provides a swatch chart for each shawl pattern and a choice of borders that one can add to the swatch for preference choice and for practicing attachment methods.

    IMHO the edging can make or break a shawl pattern. My first Summer of Lace item was the Flower Basket Shawl – but for some reason, I didn’t like the way the edging looked. It may have been the way I blocked the Koigu; but the bottom scallops didn’t look right as compared to the body, so I frogged it and started the Falling Leaves shawl (which has virtually no border) and I think I’m going to be happier with the result.

    I’m also knitting Fibertrend’s Estonian Baby Blanket with Lavold’s Silky Wool and loving it. Been following the Woodland shawl progress and think it would be a great fall project. Is this a pattern you might share with those of us not quite ready to design from scratch?

  15. I made a pair of socks in Aslan and they are so gorgeous, so I can’t wait to see what you come up with in lace with it.

    I am loving the colors on your Gold Hill shawl (and it’s gorgeous to boot!), and interestingly enough, have a couple of hanks for socks in that colorway. Maybe I’ve been buying Wendy colors subconsciously? ๐Ÿ™‚


  1. Shun the resentment

    First, off I’d like to thank Stasia for telling me about the shawl edging info in the Knitter’s Shawls and Scarves book, which I think I have at home. I’ll have to take a look see when I get home. Wendy also graciously answer my question (the questio…