The Prairie Lace Shawl was inspired by a re-read I did over the course of the last year or so of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series. The books were much loved and read many times when I was little, but it had been years since I'd last read them. Many details I had forgotten over the years, but I was not at all surprised that my favorite parts were those involving crafting and making (I think I did gain a new appreciation for Almanzo's mother in Farmer Boy, however, when I read about her carding, spinning, and then weaving wool for their clothing). It wasn't surprising that, in making their clothes and accessories, the Ingalls girls were very thrifty and wasted nothing; fabric, after all, was expensive, and money was scarce. But what struck me this time around was how the women strove to make even the most plain and utilitarian items pretty by adding small details. I immediately thought of a shawl that was predominantly garter stitch but had a touch of lace.
(Incidentally, I think I should mention that when this pattern was submitted to the magazine, it had a different lace. The publisher changed the name -- a fairly common practice in the industry -- and I think it's quite fitting!)
This shawl is knit from the top down, starting with a garter tab. The majority of the shawl is knit like a regular top-down triangle, with four increases ever right-side row (at the beginning and end and on either side of the center stitch). Near the bottom, however, a lace panel is inserted that grows out from the center stitch, serving both to "pretty up" the garter and soften the lower edge at the center (great for those of us who prefer not to have our shawls point right to our bottoms). The shawl is finished off with a simple crochet edging -- and I promise you don't have to crochet to be able to do it! As long as you've got a hook and can use it wrap yarn and pull it through a loop, you'll be able to do this edging.
|Matilda likes a little lace covering her assets|
This sample was worked in Quince & Co. Finch, a fingering weight 100% American Wool. I haven't used many of Quince's yarns, but I'm a fan. This base is bouncy and round, so it makes incredibly squishy garter stitch fabric. I used a bit less than three skeins in the Sorbet colorway to create the sample. Of course, you can use any yarn you like (with something like a shawl, gauge usually isn't critical as long as you like the fabric you're getting and have enough to finish), but I liked the idea of using an American grown, processed, and dyed yarn for this shawl given its inspiration.
I'm excited to finally have this pattern in my Ravelry store, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it!