An Easy Lace Knitting Pattern: The Sausalito Shawl

The Sausalito Shawl : An easy lace knitting pattern

The Sausalito Shawl by Melissa Leapman

How many times have you stared at a knitted lace pattern in a shawl, wishing you could unlock its mysteries? Or skipped a shawl pattern because it included charts, and you just don’t feel ready for charts yet?  Now it’s time to face your fear and face your lace, or lace up your fear!

Love of Knitting always includes a Make It Quick pattern for a lovely wrap, and the Summer 2016 issue does not break this rule. Our summer design is the Sausalito Shawl, an easy lace knitting pattern made with a delightfully soft bamboo yarn. Easy, chart-free instructions will have you working this lace pattern in no time. Designer Melissa Leapman included several ingenious bits to painlessly guide you into lace knitting.

Take it from someone who’s knitted lace for about 25 years: if I’d started with an easy lace knitting pattern like this one, I’d have been much happier. Maybe I’m the only person in the world who’s ever had these problems, but just in case I’m not alone, here are the things I wish I’d known sooner:

Right Side vs. Wrong Side

First, because this shawl is not reversible, it’s easy to see which side is which. (I often have trouble with this part.) The lace pattern stitches always happen on the right side. On the wrong side, knit 3 edge stitches, purl to the last 3 stitches, and then knit the last 3 edge stitches. It’s that easy.

The Sausalito Shawl: An easy lace knitting pattern

Even I can’t mix up RS and WS on this project!

Double Yarn Over at Edging

A typical yarn over forms a really obvious increase. In this shawl, Melissa chose a double yo (wrap yarn around the right needle twice) to make a super-large hole between the shawl’s main body and its edge stitches. When you come to these stitches on the wrong side, they’re worked as separate stitches: purl the first one, knit the second one. I love the double yo because no markers are necessary for the edge stitches. I can mindlessly purl away on the wrong side rows until I hit that double yo, then I know to knit the last 3 stitches. That’s an easy lace knitting pattern at its best.

Strong Lines

You won’t need any stitch markers for Sausalito Shawl, because its overall lace pattern is easy to “read”—even without a chart. Don’t get me wrong—I love stitch markers and charts. But markers can move around a lot when they’re next to yarn overs, and not all knitters like charts. Beginners especially seem to find them scary.

Here, obvious diagonal lines within the pattern help you stay on track.  Look at two rows from the pattern:

Row 11 K2, [yo] 2 times, k2, *k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * to last 5 sts, k3, [yo] 2 times, k2—4 sts inc’d.
Row 13 K2, [yo] 2 times, k2, k2tog, yo, *k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo; rep from * to last 7 sts, k1, yo, ssk, k2, [yo] 2 times, k2—4 sts inc’d.

Each row has a repeated sequence including a ssk and a k2tog. Every single time, these decreases merge seamlessly with the previous round’s decrease. See how the decreases create a continuous line? That’s your clue: you’re doing it right!

The Sausalito Shawl: An easy lace knitting pattern

Ssk stitches line up in the green circle and k2tog stitches line up in the purple circle.

When I made (deliberate—they were deliberate) mistakes knitting at my desk, these continuous lines were broken. And yes, it’s the same yarn, just photographed under totally different conditions.

The Sausalito Shawl: An easy lace knitting pattern

Problems show up first with ssk stitches, which don’t form a diagonal line. Then the k2tog stitches lean too much.

The green and purple circles mark correctly made decreases. The red ones show how getting off by just one stitch becomes really obvious. Check your work for continuous diagonal lines after each repeat of the lace pattern.

The Sausalito Shawl: An easy lace knitting pattern

The Sausalito Shawl in all its glory

If you’re ready to try this easy lace knitting pattern, we’ve gone one step further to make it easy: a kit for this project. It includes a copy of Love of Knitting and all the yarn you’ll need. Plus you’ll earn karma points for supporting this yarn company—Be Sweet Yarns works with South African artisans as part of its mission. Buy a kit, make some lace, and feel good about helping others. You can’t lose.

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