#32 Lace Shawl
Pattern by Karen Raz
Available in: VogueKnitting Shawls and Wraps
Skills Needed: yarn over, provisional cast-on, ssk, k2tog, knit-in beads
When my sister got engaged, I knew right away I wanted to make her something special for her wedding. Not to be worn at her wedding, but a keepsake type shawl that she might connect with her wedding and could use later in life. More specifically, I wanted a timeless lace piece. The problem was I'd never tackled a lace project prior to this endeavor and I really wanted to make something that looked elegant and worthy of heirloom status. Bottom line, I was crazy and decided to jump head first into something that was not for beginners. With over 1,000 beads and an interesting scalloped edge added to a provisional cast-on, I was all in. Needless to say I had to start over a few times and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to finish. The important thing is that I did finish! And before her wedding, even!
Since this project, I've become a lot more confident with lace work and blocking. (Blocking is extremely important with this shawl I did not do the best job blocking the side edges on this shawl simply because I did not know how at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, I would recommend getting some lace wires. My sister does not live nearby, but I kind of want to get this shawl back and fix it. I don't think she noticed, but it plagues me.) I thought the pattern on this shawl was detailed enough for heirloom lace, but not so much your grandmother's curtains that you couldn't use it for a night out. I wanted my sister to have the flexibility, and this pattern provided the best of new and old, I thought. I chose a light blue/lavender that was hand dyed, so there was variation in the yarn. The beading is not evident in the photo, but I promise it is there. I used clear beads with a silver lining so they would not look overwhelming but hopefully catch the light nicely. The beads added quite a bit of weight to the shawl. I've seen some shawls from this pattern knit in darker, bolder colors with more contrasting beads, and the combination looks great, too. I even saw one in black; I never thought to knit in black, but it turned out really well.
Summary: Having more experience with lacework now, I can say that while it all worked out in the end, for sanity's sake, this is not a shawl for beginners. However, the pattern is fairly straightforward with repeats, so if you are inclined to memorize for lacework, this one is not bad. The bottom edges of the shawl have a beautiful scalloped finish with a ton of beads. It could be part of a pattern you keep in the back of your mind to edge a different shawl, it is very pretty in person. If you are not particularly fond of beading, this shawl looks stunning without it, too. There are pictures of finished projects on Ravelry that are well worth scoping out if you need some ideas for colors or even uses for this beautiful piece.