My current work in progress:

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


Antimacassar Shawl

I am apparently not “over” the concept of shawls knit from the bottom up because I am working on another one.

This baby is being knit from Indigo Moon Nature’s Harvest sock yarn in the “Cochineal” colorway.

I’ve already named it: Antimacassar Shawl, because it reminds me of an old-fashioned lace antimacassar.

Now, I have a memory of seats in European trains or touring coaches in the 1960s that actually had lace antimacassars on the seat backs, but I have googled my little fingers to the bone and cannot find any photos of same. All I can find are photos of plain fabric ones. Perhaps this memory is really a hallucination brought on by too many yarn fumes.Or Macassar Oil fumes? šŸ˜‰

Once again, I’m dating myself: first Tiger Beat, now this. (For the record, though, I’ve never actually seen inside an issue of Tiger Beat. The covers were frightening enough to me.)

By the by, I am now keeping a running total of donations to the Red Cross via purchase of my Japanese Garden Shawl in the box listing my works in progress above the posts here at, so you can drop in at any time to see how we are doing. I’ll update it every day or so.

And in other news, Lucy is working on her interpretive dance moves.

Look at that perfect form!


  1. These photos of Lucy really made me laugh OUT LOUD!!

  2. Lucy looks like she’s having a great afternoon! I love the new shawl, and thanks for expanding my vocabulary. šŸ˜€
    biomaj5Ā“s last blog post ..Holy crap I made yarn

  3. Love the new shawl and Lucy is so adorable.
    Trish D.Ā“s last blog post ..A Few FOs

  4. Mum2one says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about and I remember them well although not by that name. I found this which is a little nearer to what I remember!!

    Love the Lucy moves!

  5. Mary in Carol Stream says:

    We had antimacassars on our sofa and chair back. They were crocheted lace. Ahhh….memories of my younger days.

    Oh, btw, the shawl is loverly and Lucy is adorable (with my cat allergies, I am allowed to enjoy a virtual cat).

  6. I remember crochet lace antimacassars – can’t find a photo right now but your shawl definitely fits the bill!

  7. Cyndi in BC says:

    Is this what you were looking for?

  8. Cat Dancing is almost always best when practiced in the horizontal plane.

  9. That Lucy. Poll dancing for the masses.
    LeslieĀ“s last blog post ..Style icons

  10. Pole dancing. Yikes.
    LeslieĀ“s last blog post ..Style icons

  11. My grandma had lace antimacassars on her chair backs. I’m pretty sure hers were crocheted.
    jannaĀ“s last blog post ..Checking In

  12. The whole bottom up/top down thing with shawls confuses me to no end. I’ve knit a couple of shawls & I’m always surprised at the end that what I thought was one edge turned out to be another! Can you spend a few seconds explaining that when you get a chance? I don’t guarantee that I’ll get it, but your other tutorials have always clicked for me, so I’m hoping that you can unmuddle the waters!

  13. Love the shawl, and always, Lucy šŸ™‚

  14. Love the shawl. I have a whole trunk full of antimacassars and doilies in my garage, handed down from various grandparents and aunties. Must find them a new home someday – gah!

  15. My aunt used to crochet antimacassars (and that’s what she called them) from very fine cotton thread. She had a long one across the top of her sofa, smaller ones on her chairs, and small ones on the armrests of her upholstered chairs. She also crocheted tabletop runners and doilies and even bedspreads with that same very fine thread/ yarn! I can still see her with those steel crochet hooks. My aunt is gone now, but I have some of her beautiful crocheted lacework. Thanks for the reminder!

  16. Your shawls are truly amazing, Lucy is a treasure and your charitable spirit towards the Red Cross is absolutely inspiring!
    Angela JenkinsĀ“s last blog post ..What a Weekend!

  17. CatBookMom says:

    You mean there really is/was a magazine called Tiger Beat? I thought it was just something made up for “Stripes”, the movie with Bill Murray. Huh.

    Pretty shawl. Great moves on Lucy’s part. Give her a grooming lick or two from George and Gracie.

  18. Good Lord, woman! Another shawl already!?!

  19. Lovely new shawl. I must confess that starting with 290 stitches on the Japanese Garden Shawl was daunting; all my other shawls have been from the top down or rectangular shawls. Must wrap my mind around this new concept.

  20. Kathy Sue says:

    Oh nooooooooo!! I have a feeling that I am going to NEED the Antimacassar shawl. It looks old-fashioned and like lots of knitting fun. And, Miss Lucy will be a dancing star any day no, methinks!

  21. I love the new shawl!! Can’t wait to see the finished product…I created a magenta dye bath and dyed my dark wool from my sheep and it turned into this lovely varigated yarn. Magenta is one of my favorite colors, as well as chartruese …there is no end to great colors though.

  22. Sandra D says:

    Purrrfect indeed! Both Lucy and the lace.

  23. I did look it up tiger beat is still around (and for the record I bought it as a teen). Love the shawl your making a bit less afraid of lace( I had a lace fiasco last year). Lucy does have perfect form:)

  24. RustyBird says:

    I give Lucy a 10 for her dance routine. :o)

  25. Ooooohhh.. pretty. I see a new shawl pattern in my future and a new shawl in the queue. Can’t wait to see the finished product. I remember antimacassars that my great aunt made for the family. She was a crocheting machine with her two little hands and flying crochet hooks. The multi-talented Lucy continues to amaze – elegant form and pointed toes, too! My two, Louie and Lilly, were duly impressed.

  26. That Lucy! Sooooooo Cute!
    I’m off to Ravelry to join the Japanese Garden Brigade.

  27. What a ballerina šŸ™‚ I love your concept to attach her photos to every post here. Greetings!

  28. FYI – The name anitmacassar came from a men’s hair oil a century and more (?) ago called, you guessed it, Macassar. It was applied liberally and in turn donated itself liberally to the backs of upholstered chairs and sofas. Anybody running his hands through his hair would also leave generous amounts on the chair arms as well. Hence “antimacassars” to protect the nice furniture in the parlor.

  29. Katherine says:

    Ah, one of my two favorite words–anitmacassar. The other is balaclava.
    Geez, Wendy, here you are with yet another shawl and I’m still plodding away on my same old project. I used to think I was a fast knitter. How about a “How to knit as fast as Wendy” class for those of us in the DC area?

  30. Susan D. Smith says:

    My “other half” and I refer to them as “anti-macatters” because our cats liked to sit on them when we had them on the arms of the sofa, Then, when they would leap off to chase imaginary gremlins, the “anti-macatters” often wound up askew on the arms, on the floor or still attached to a cat’s claws (depending on how quickly the cat may have leapt off the couch).

    Lucy’s form is a perfect “10”!

  31. I hope Lucy has recovered from the humiliation of falling off the bed!

    I love bottom up shawls! It’s so rewarding to be knitting shorter rows as you approach the end.
    MicheleinMaineĀ“s last blog post ..Floating Leaves Project Bag

  32. This is a bit earlier than you was thinking but proves that trains did have lace antimacassers.

    I have seen some in the York Railway Museum, in the Royal train. I do’t have a photo though.

    (That’s York, North Yorkshire, England)

  33. I really like the new shawl

  34. You should knit some little ballerina slippers for Lucy.

  35. I have one of my grandmother’s antimacassar arm pieces nestled into an oval glass vanity tray on my bureau. It’s a teardrop shaped pineapple pattern and looks so sweet with a photo of gramma on the tray. Also, back in the 70s we blind-stitched circular doilies onto solid colored silk circular throw pillows for bed decorations. I also have 8 doilies laced with tiny ribbon into large brass rings and hanging on the wall. If you have lowE windows you can hang them right in the window like a suncatcher.

  36. Well, learn something new everyday! I had no idea that the lace doilies that my Grandmother put on the back of Grandpa’s chair had a name! Though I’m thinking it was more anti-Brylcreem than antimacassar!

  37. I love your new shawl construction of bottom up! I also remember my Grandmother having antimacassars but didn’t know their name.

  38. I really like the new shawl! I am sure my grandmother had some of these on the back of her chairs., they were crocheted. Love Lucy! She always makes me laugh. She is so special!

  39. Hi Wendy
    So glad you enjoyed working with my yarn! The shawl looks wonderful! I have a couple of furry ballerinas myself…although…they are boys so not sure if they are still called ballerinas. Either way, thanks so much for sharing the photo …I love to see what people knit up with my yarn šŸ™‚ Thanks!

  40. In the 1970s my aunt and uncle visited China then came back to show their photos. I remember that the trains there had antimacassars on the seat backs. I searched “lace doilies on trains” and found a flicker set here on a Japanese train:

    The shawl is lovely, and Lucy is in beautiful form!

  41. actually…a “flickr” set…geesh.

  42. The Orient Express Dining Car had seats with antimacassars over the backs.
    As does the British Pullman dining car chairs.
    Diana TroldahlĀ“s last blog post ..Almost Spring

  43. Lucy is so fluffy! I love her dark stockings. So risque.

  44. susan murphy says:

    I so enjoy this blog and am so inspired by Wendy’s knitting! I have not attempted lace and am a little intimidated. I think because I would have to pay attention to the pattern the entire time and would be so fearful of dropping a stitch with all the YO’s!!!!! What would be a good FIRST lace project?

  45. I look forward to a pattern for this… it is absolutely gorgeous!

  46. Well, I love seeing what you have come up with on all these patterns being made from the bottom up. I plan to order the japanese one and the island one sometime this weekend.

    They are definitely the way I’d prefer to work a shawl.

    I hope one day you will maybe design a circular one from the outside in. I think I would love that to pieces!
    madonnaearthĀ“s last blog post ..18 thousandth timeā€™s a charm

  47. Congrats on the donation amounts – how awesome! Love Lucy’s dance moves…

  48. Found two, neither exactly what I imagined:

    You’ll have to search within the page to find it, probably (antimacassar):

    This doesn’t look anywhere near what I imagined:

    This is what I expected, but it’s the 30’s

    I hope someone sends you a link to a really good one!