Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Lilac leaf shawl

I have spent hours on Amazon.com in search of good crafts books. Ones, while searching for crochet laces, I found a very beautiful book describing the tradition of Estonian knitted laces (here is a link to the book). The book was filled with the most beautiful patterns, in addition to telling the story of how the local women of Haapsalu, on the Baltic coast of Estonia, during the 19th century knitted the entire winter in order to sell their shawls to wealthy Swedes and Russians visiting their town during the summer months. There are also specific stories to several of the shawl patterns, making it very interesting to read and to knit.

I decided to make the lilac leaf shawl for my Spanish sister in law as a birthday present. I had problems finding a lace weight yarn. None of the Norwegian producers made such a thin yarn. Finally I found an Italian lace weight mohair yarn. Knitting laces with a mohair yarn was a challenge, but it made the shawl warm and fuzzy, and very suitable for cold spring days (Norwegians celebrate their national holyday on the 17. May, when it may still be very cold).

In order for these shawls to look good, they must be blocked out after knitting. The finished shawl is gently washed, and stretched out on a wood frame with brass nails in it, and air dried. This makes the pattern more visible and the finished shawl very thin and even. It also gives a nice effect, making the edges wavy where the shawl has been attached to the nails.

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