Knit a Lace Shawl with Any Yarn

We love designer Rosemary (Romi) Hill! We keep flipping through her new book, New Lace Knitting, ogling the designs and wishing we had time to make all of them. A few of the patterns that were designed for the book had to be cut because of lack of page space, so Romi graciously shared them with Interweave Knits Fall 2015.

purple sage socks interweave knits fall 2015 rosemary romi hill

Romi’s Purple Sage Socks can be found in Interweave Knits Fall 2015, with two different versions to knit.

squall line shawl interweave knits fall 2015

The dramatic Squall Line Shawl is an oversized half-triangle knitted shawl.

In knit.purl Fall/Winter 2015, Romi shared with us an excerpt from her book, the Crystal Bay Lace Shawl.

crystal bay shawl knit.purl fall winter 2015The beauty of this shawl is that it can be knit in any weight yarn, and Romi wrote an article for knit.purl Fall/Winter that explains how she managed this amazing feat! Here’s a bit from her article.

Resizable Lace Shawls
One of my favorite things to design is a shawl that can be resized to fit that special skein of yarn every knitter seems to have on hand. Resizable shawls are often worked in stitch patterns that look great no matter where they end, and in shapes that you can work until enough yarn remains to bind off—and then voilà! The Crystal Bay Lace Shawl (designed for my book New Lace Knitting) goes in a bit more advanced direction.

This shawl was born at the request of a member from my Ravelry group (hi, Kei!) who wanted a super simple shawl with a lovely edging. Because of its elegant simplicity, I decided that this shawl was perfect for different weights of yarn. With that in mind, I expanded on the idea and began to work up the pattern in heavy laceweight, light fingering, fingering, and worsted weights.

So began the process of resizing and reworking for different specs and yardages. Because the edging is knitted on after the top garter-stitch portion is finished, I wanted a resizing method that wouldn’t cause too much knitterly pain.

This shawl was designed from the ground up with resizing in mind. The  extremely simple garter-stitch section has one row repeated on both the right and wrong sides to increase the stitch count. Because each repeat of the edging requires eighteen body stitches, the increase rows are worked in groups of six rows, each row adding three stitches, for a total of eighteen stitches per six-row repeat. In this way, I hoped to make it easy for a knitter to come up with the correct number of body stitches to work the edging.

The High-Tech Approach
My initial desire was to produce a formula or a spreadsheet into which the knitter could plug yarn amounts by weight. I had an inkling this might prove difficult because I was dealing with a crescent-shaped shawl and a knitted-on edging. I knew that the ratio of the amount of yarn used in the top garter-stitch portion to the amount of yarn used in the edging would change as the stitch count increased in the top, so with the help of my amazing sample- and test-knitting friend Teresa from Canada, I set out to capture yarn use data by weight for all the different sample shawls. Roxanne Yeun at Zen Yarn Garden kindly sent Teresa a boatload of yarn in different weights, and I sent Teresa a data-tracking sheet (which I filled out as well for the sample I knitted).

The first and most important part of this project was to weigh all the yarn. I am a huge believer in weighing yarn to determine use, and happily Teresa is, too. For each version of the shawl, one edging repeat was knitted first and its weight was recorded. After each six-row repeat of the garter-stitch body, we recorded the amount of yarn used, calculated the number of required edging repeats based on the body’s stitch count, and estimated the amount of yarn needed for the edging.

I started with a ridiculously small stitch count of twenty-one body stitches, so that I might predict where the data would lead. The pattern for the Crystal Bay Lace Shawl follows a slightly unusual edging scheme, which contains two extra edging repeats. At each end of the shawl, three edging repeats are joined to the number of body stitches normally used for two repeats by joining two edging rows to the same body stitch at intervals shown in the chart.



To read more of Romi’s article, grab your copy of knit.purl Fall/Winter 2015 and turn to page 114. Don’t have a copy yet? You can download it right now from and get started learning the technique of knitting a lace shawl in any weight.

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