knitting · spinning

Workbasket – Blue & White Shawl

(AKA: Knitted Shawl. Very Small Diamond Pattern):

Because of the first sentence of this pattern, this has always been the “Blue & White Shawl”. Working from Victorian era knitting patterns can be a challenge for a couple of reasons: needles were sized differently, types of yarn were described differently or are no longer being made, and the way stitches were described was different from modern knitting.

A quick google search lead me to The Knitting Genie, with a chart for Old UK sizes to metric conversion. The pattern specified No.10 needles, which according to the chart is a modern 3.25mm. From where I was sitting that day I could reach the circular tips in size 4mm. That is what I chose to use to knit this shawl.

The yarn called for in the pattern is “Shetland Wool”. Back to Google lead me to Vintage Yarns/String-Or-Nothing and another chart. This chart had needle sizes along with the historical names of yarn and modern equivalents. According to this chart, Shetland Wool translated to modern is “lighter weight sock yarn”. As I mentioned in a previous Workbasket post, I had yarn that would work. I’d been imagining this shawl being made from this very yarn.

The third challenge is in the way the stitches are described. In the front of the book there are some instruction that describe the stitches to be made, in the same language that is used in the actual patterns. Google was a little less helpful in this search. Mostly because some of the suggested links were very interesting rabbit holes that distracted me (think…shiny squirrels). Knit Pal had very thorough descriptions.

The original Weldon’s shawl pattern is finished when there are 11 rows of one color and 10 rows of the other. Interestingly it doesn’t look like it would block out at a “yard square”. (shrug) I would prefer it to be longer and took “The shawl can be made to any size required” approach. Besides, there is still more blue and white yarn. If I stop here, I will have a small amount of left over yarn in each color that won’t be enough to make anything. I will continue on until one or both yarns are all used up. 😉

My lovely yarn bowl, a gift from LB, hold the yarn and doubles as a transport device for the whole project.