As I write this, September is already half gone, flying by in a haze of back-to-school activity and exciting new routines! Jackson has begun kindergarten and Nina has begun preschool. Two big milestones in the same month and I am equal parts proud and wistful. I think my mother put it best; this time in our lives is both sweet and bittersweet!
I also can’t believe how quickly Summer passed, but I did have a very productive knitting season! Today I’m thrilled to release the 2nd of three designs that I finished in the warmer months. This is the Jamberry Shawl!
(Once again, much of the credit for these photos goes to my sister as model and the lovely day we had shooting outdoors amongst some great foliage!)
The Jamberry shawl is an elegant crescent-shaped shawl featuring arrowhead lace interspersed with rows of slip stitch colorwork. One of the fun bits about this pattern is that it can be knit with either laceweight yarn held doubled throughout (as you see here) or with fingering-weight yarn held single. Whether you use lace or fingering yarn, the end result is the same: an airy and delicate shawl that is warm and cozy without being the least bit heavy!
(The name of the shawl is also fun. The colors I used reminded me of juicy summer fruit, berries and jam, etc. and that reminded me of one of our family’s favorite picture books: Jamberry by Bruce Degen!)
These 2 colors of Malabrigo Lace yarn (“Pink Frost” and “Fuchsia”) had been in my stash for years. I had made a conscious decision more than a year ago to work from my stash as much as possible, so it was high time these skeins saw the light of day. I also had a desire to work with more lace and to play with a crescent shape for the shawl, so the framework for this design was set.
Starting with a garter tab, the shawl is worked flat from the top down in one piece in two complementary colors. To get that classic crescent shape, stitches are increased on every row. That way, the shawl is long enough to wrap easily around your neck without being too deep/wide in front of your neck. And please don’t be discouraged by any of the techniques included here. The lace pattern is only a 4-row repeat and all of the wrong-side rows are purl stitches. Likewise, the colorwork is created using just slipped stitches and only one yarn color at a time. So if you know how to slip stitches and you know how to work increases like a yarnover and decreases like “k2tog” and “ssk,” you’re all set!
Because of the detail in the lace sections, I think that a solid or mostly solid colorway works best here. But in the colorwork sections, you can either use a solid color for a classic look or you can get creative with a unique multicolored yarn for the contrasting color! In addition to designing a shawl that could be used for either laceweight or fingering-weight yarn, I also intentionally made this design flexible in its sizing: to make a smaller or larger shawl, simply omit or add repeats of the lace and colorwork sections!
I love how the airy and delicate lace sections worked in the subtle “Pink Frost” colorway are punctuated by the cheery, unexpected punch of the “Fuchsia” stripes. But rest assured that this shawl works equally well in more neutral tones. One of my test knitters created a stunning version in a graphic combination of cream and black fingering-weight yarn, while another test knitter chose a soothing mossy green lace yarn paired with a subtle grey stripe.
There are a few knitting tips to keep in mind, since this design is mostly lace. First, the finished dimensions will vary greatly depending on how aggressively you block it, but I see this as a positive aspect. If your yardage is a bit on the lower side, you can still work some magic with blocking to achieve a shawl that’s big enough to wrap around yourself. The shawl you see here is at least 71″ along its neck edge and more than 16″ deep at the center neck. (One of my test knitters ended up with a wrap that is 90″ along the neck edge, making it supremely cozy for the chilly months!) Second, while the exact gauge is not critical, the finished dimensions (and how many lace and colorwork repeats you can complete) can depend on your yardage and your gauge.
I hope that this design brightens your day (and your knitting basket) when you look at it and reach for it. I find myself smiling whenever I think of its bright pink palette. And I hope it encourages you to add a little lace knitting to your repertoire!
Happy knitting and happy Autumn!