The shawl was inspired partly by the early morning fog that I sometimes see above the hills near my home in Amherst, Massachusetts. I also had in mind a letter written in 1884 by Amherst poet Emily Dickinson, in which she spoke of her beloved nephew Gib, who had died of typhoid fever the previous year. Dickinson wrote: “The little boy we laid away never fluctuates, and his dim society is companion still. But it is growing damp and I must go in. Memory’s fog is rising.”
Reading those words makes me want to give the poet a shawl to wrap around her shoulders, something light yet warm, to ward off the chill and damp. So I tried to design a shawl that would appeal to contemporary knitters but whose simplicity might have suited Dickinson too. The interlocking diamonds are meant to suggest eternity, which she often wrote about in her poetry, while the beaded edgings call to mind wisps of fog rising over distant hills.
Finished dimensions (after blocking): 19.5″ wide, 60″ long
Classic Elite Yarns Silky Alpaca Lace (70% alpaca, 30% silk; 460 yards [420 meters]/50 grams): Color Number 2403, Cloud Grey, 2 skeins
US#3 (3.25 mm): straight or 24” circular; one additional straight or circular needle one or two sizes smaller for holding sts while grafting
22 sts and 32 rows = 4” [10 cm] in St st after blocking
Size 10 (1.15 mm) crochet hook; 303 #6 seed beads; markers; tapestry needle; rustproof T-pins; blocking wires (optional)
Read the charts from the bottom to the top. Odd-numbered rows are worked from the right to the left. Even-numbered rows are worked from the left to the right. If even-numbered rows are not on chart, sl1, k2, sm, purl until m, sm, k3.
First (Lower) Edging: Loosely CO 107 sts. Knit 5 rows. (As noted above, after the first two rows, slip the first st of every row with the yarn in front, as if to purl.)
Next row (WS): Slip 1, k2, pm, purl to last 3 sts, pm, k3. The markers set off 3 garter sts at each side. Note that these 3 sts on each side are not shown in the charts.
Work Chart A – Distant Hills once. Work Chart B – Rising Fog 3 times, then work rows 1–11 once more. Work the Center Panel.
Center Panel: Knit 5 rows. Work Chart C – Eternity 7 times, then work rows 1–33 once more. Knit 2 rows. Break yarn, leaving a tail approx. 36 inches long for grafting. Transfer sts to a needle one or two sizes smaller and set aside.
Second (Upper) Edging: Work as for First (Lower) Edging, ending on Row 11 of Chart B – Rising Fog. Knit 3 rows.
Graft first shawl piece and second edging (see grafting directions below).
The first (larger) shawl piece should have knit sts against the needle and will be the back piece when grafting. The second edging should have purl bumps against the needle and will be the front piece when grafting.
When the shawl is blocked, it will be stretched both lengthwise and widthwise. Because of this, it’s important when grafting to maintain a tension similar to that of the knitted stitches. To get a feel for how loosely or tightly to graft, knit two garter st swatches with your yarn and practice grafting them. Block the grafted swatch to determine if the graft is too tight, too loose, or about right. If the grafting is done too tightly, the fabric will pull in at the graft.
Set-up: Thread yarn from the back piece (larger shawl piece) on a tapestry needle. Insert the tapestry needle into the first st on the front knitting needle as if to purl. Leave the st on the needle. Keeping the yarn under the needles, insert the tapestry needle into the first st on the back knitting needle as if to purl. Leave the st on the needle.
Step one: Thread the tapestry needle through the first st on the front knitting needle as if to knit; slip it off the needle. Then thread the tapestry needle through the second st on the front knitting needle as if to purl; leave it on the needle.
Step two: Thread the tapestry needle through the first st on the back knitting needle as if to knit; slip it off the needle. Then thread the tapestry needle through the second st on the back knitting needle as if to purl; leave it on the needle.
Repeat these two steps until all sts have been grafted. (The “mantra” is: front needle: knit off, purl on; back needle: knit off, purl on.)
Soak shawl in cool water 20–30 minutes. Gently squeeze out the excess water, then roll shawl inside a towel to press out more water. Block on a flat surface using T-pins and/or blocking wires. Pin out the points on the two edgings to create scallops. Allow to dry thoroughly and remove pins when completely dry. Weave in yarn ends.
About the Designer: Bonnie Sennott
Bonnie Sennott has been a fan of Emily Dickinson’s poetry ever since she first read “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” as a child. An avid lace knitter, she’s bluepeninsula on Ravelry and blogs at bluepeninsulaknits.com.
Pattern and images © 2009 Bonnie Sennott. Contact Bonnie.