Adapting the Julia shawl to laceweight yarn
Friday August 31st 2007, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Knit

First, the technical stuff: Ruth asked about doing my shawls in finer needles. I’ve done the Bigfoot and the Nina shawls in one skein each of Fino, which is an 80/20 baby alpaca/silk laceweight, 875 yards/100g, on size 7 needles, and loved how they came out. But she’s asking about using 4s and 5s.  (That’s 3.5mm and 3.75 mm.)

I saw someone doing the Pacific version of the Julia shawl, the one with the smaller number of stitches, expecting it to come out bigger because the picture (done in kid mohair) was of a bigger shawl. But her project was in laceweight and was going to come out sized to fit a child. I knew she had enough yardage, so what I had her do was an extra increase row at the bottom of the yoke, doing a row of k1, yo across, ending k1. That brought it to 481 stitches, which would work well for her–and Ruth, I think that would work with your 5s and some laceweight, maybe one of the heavier ones like Malabrigo. I don’t know what kind of gauge you work at; you might want to double the stitch count for one of the larger shawls instead? Shoot me an email at if you need any help figuring out how to get the counts right in the extra increase row to match up with whatever pattern you’re doing.cocoa Malabrigo laceweight

Meantime, I’ve been eyeing the Malabrigo laceweight at Purlescence for some time now, swooning over the softness of the baby merino and waiting for inspiration to strike. I tend to use fingering weight and larger needles because of arthritis issues, but variety is definitely an enticing thing.

Lynn, a commenter on Lene’s The Seated View blog, teased me about always being able to find the chocolate, after I figured out what that Danish word meant in someone’s birthday greeting to Lene. I was thinking about that all the way to my knitting group last night, egged on by my friend Nancy, who started telling me I had to knit something on the theme: rectangles to represent chocolate bars? Hershey’s kisses in lace?

Nah, I was telling her, I’m much more into hot cocoa with my morning email than chomping on a bar. Besides, Scharffenberger, Dagoba, Rapunzel, the really good stuff. That’s the only form of “milk chocolate” I go for: liquid. And I make it good and dark. We both agreed I needed to find the exact right yarn for this imaginary shawl we were concocting in the air–if it only existed.

One guess to what I found in the Malabrigo cubby at the shop immediately after that conversation. I was not going to buy more yarn, I was not going to buy more yarn… It was absolutely perfect. I bought more yarn. And after coming home with it and swatching, Ruth, you’re on: the size 5s pleased me the best. The shawl is designed, 518 stitches in the body, and the swatch is swatched. It may take me awhile because it’s a lot of stitches and I’ll have to take lots of breaks, but we’re off. Thank you for jump-starting the process, Lynn, Ruth, and Nancy. It’s all your faults. I can wear my chocolate and drink it too. I am having way too much fun!

(Edited to add: I owe one to Jasmin, too, who was knitting away on her own Malabrigo laceweight and not only declaring it lovely stuff, but encouraging me to keep reaching over and fondling the fabric she was creating, till I finally couldn’t stand it and went and looked at that cubby and that chocolate leaped out at me.  Oooh.  Nice.)

6 Comments so far
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Can’t wait to see your next creation. Brown yarn is yummy, and I bet that is SOFT!

Comment by Amanda 08.31.07 @ 1:51 pm

The funny thing is, before, I would never even have glanced at anything in brown. But four years on a chemo drug have darkened my complexion–one of the known side effects, and pretty harmless as they come–and it has broadened my appreciation of colors I didn’t used to like. It’s funny. They say everybody likes best the colors that look good on them, and I like the old and new both now.

Comment by AlisonH 08.31.07 @ 2:00 pm

I can just see the chocolatey goodness you will come up with.

Comment by Sonya 08.31.07 @ 4:37 pm

can’t wait to see the latest colour knit up:)
amber in england

Comment by amber 09.01.07 @ 8:29 am

So glad that your swatch is working out. I’ll stop by soon to see it.

Comment by Nancy Weber 09.01.07 @ 9:05 pm

Thank you so much for your answer. I can see that I have my work cut out for me. But I am an experience lace shawl knitter, so between you and me, we can do this.

If I can only find the time. You know, I retired at the end of Feb, and I am so busy with whatever that I need a 26 hr. day.

Comment by ruth 09.02.07 @ 8:21 pm

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