WIP Wednesday: Helena’s Shawl

I don’t know about you, but Interweave Knits Summer 2017 took my breath away. Granted, I have a deep and abiding love of all things Shakespeare and the entire issue is themed around the works of the great bard. But it was the projects themselves that had me breathing heavily, with my nose inches away from the pages of the magazine. Especially the gorgeous, gossamer shawls from the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” story. Most especially, Helena’s Shawl, designed by Lori Wagner.

Helena's Shawl

The classic lace Helena’s Shawl is worked from the top down, beginning with lace columns and twisted stitches. The chevron design along the edge sports delicate glass beads that sparkle in the sunlight.

Helena’s Shawl was a perfect match for a few balls of Malabrigo 100% baby merino lace yarn I had been saving for just such a showstopper. I love the rich, yellow Sunset colorway for a shawl, and the subtle variegation isn’t too busy for the simple ribbing and lace of the shawl. So far, it’s been a pleasure to knit, which is good because it’s going to take a while.

As you know if you’ve taken a look at the issue, each of the patterns is accompanied by some lovely verse written in iambic pentameter. For example, Helena’s shawl is accompanied by the following:

Eschew thy short-term whims for classic truth / As ephemeral flights of fancy wane / Whilst beaded edges ring columnar frame / No potion shall cast shadows on true form

Cryptic, yet enticing. The lace columns and twisted stitches do indeed force me to eschew my love of short-term, quick-to-knit projects! This shawl is worked from the top down with increasing rows of twisted-stitch ribbing. The rows are already crazy long and just getting longer. I am so, so, so ready to move on to the horseshoe-shaped lace pattern that comes next. Even more so because I’ll finally get to start adding beads!

helena's shawl

Just a few rows left until I change lace patterns on my Helena’s Shawl!

I’ve never knitted with beads before and I can’t wait. Lori’s design calls for glass beads, but I think I might use silver instead for more contrast against the yellow yarn. The beads are attached as you knit rather than pre-strung. Lori recommends using a tiny crochet hook, but I might also try using beadle tools, as the Interweave Yarn Hacks team demonstrates below, to see which method I prefer.

I’m a little nervous to add beads to my knitting for the first time, but I’m sure that, as with most new techniques, it will be easier than I think. I’ll check back in when this gorgeous shawl is finished up!

In the meantime, let me know in the comments: what’s your favorite way of knitting with beads? Have you tried multiple methods? I need all the help I can get!

Yours in Stitches,

p.s. Hey readers – I finished this gorgeous project! Check it out here.

Stitch Your Own Midsummer “Knit’s” Dream


One Comment

  1. Helen K at 8:19 am June 7, 2017

    I liked the beadle tool but found I tended to split the yarn with it. My preferred tool is superfloss. I tie one bead to the regular floss end and thread as many beads as I want. The fuzzy section is good for holding a few beads ready to use and the stiff end is less liable to split the yarn. I’ve just finished a mystery knitalong using silk yarn and lots of 4mm clear beads with this method. The floss lasts for at least two big shawls. I tried this method because several shawl kits I bought had beads and a free piece of floss included and I decided to give it a go.

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