Monday, 28 January 2013

The thistle shawl

Throughout my childhood, we used to go for long walks on Sundays, as most respectable families in the 70's. My favorite places to go hiking was a large rock with 3000 year old rock carvings at Penne, "Bøensbakken" at the end of a narrow fjord called Framvaren, and on one of the many Lista beaches. The beaches are especially beautiful during the winter, when you can walk on the sand without falling down and without getting sand in your shoes.

In the ditchs in the fields along the beaches grew thistles. They are really quite beautiful, with thick and spiky silver leaves and stems and with a lovely purple flower. When the flowers of thistles wither, they become burdocks, which get stuck everywhere. I especially remember one Sunday when my brother and I had a burdock fight. I do not remember the fight, but I remember very well how much harder it is to get the burdocks out of long than short hair.
Yet, I have always liked thistles. The plant may not be particularly welcoming, but the flowers are beautiful. And it's fascinating how well the burdocks adheres to almost any surface.

An Estonian pattern, which goes by the name of "The most beautiful lace pattern in the world" gives me associations to thistle flowers. I've used this pattern before, including in the center of "The Most Beautiful" Shawl in the world". You can find this pattern in Siri Reimann's book "The Haapsalu Shawl". In this shawl, "the most beautiful lace pattern in the world" is used on the outher border of the center. In the the middle of the center, I used a pattern called "Thistle Leaf Pattern", which I found in Barara G. Walker's book series "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns ".

In the rest of the center, between the leaf and the flowers, I used a classic Shetland lace patterns you may find in Sharron Miller's book "Heirloom Knitting", where the pattern is called "Small leaf". I've used this pattern in several shawls, and it gives a very airy lace, like a sea breeze. I have composed the pattern on the outher boarder myself around the flower of the thistle in a modified version of the "World's Most Beautiful lace pattern".

I have knitted the shawl in a very thin merino wool yarn called "Fine Merino". This lace shawl is almost invisible, like the smells of salty air. The problem with this yarn is, however, that it is so thin and lightweight that the shawl does not really falls as nicely as I had hoped. It was also a bit damp in the air when I took the picture, which led to the shawl loosing shape and elasticity.

In hindsight, I should perhaps have chosen a slightly heavier yarn to knit this shawl. I was, however, happy with the composition of the shawl. It is a bright, light and airy shawl, like a happy childhood memory of a Sunday stroll on the beach.

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