New pattern: Beanstalk Shawl

Introducing my latest adventure in textured lace! The Beanstalk Shawl is a botanically-inspired triangular shawl in fingering-weight yarn. Its all-over lace pattern includes twisted stitches for crisp texture, and increases & decreases are worked on every row to create the gracefully-curving pairs of leaves.

Beanstalk Shawl 1

The shawl’s stitch pattern grew out of the leaf-lace motif in my Ensata Scarf & Cowl and Hat designs, which I couldn’t stop playing with further! I added more twisted stitches and stacked the leaves in unbroken columns, and through a lot of trial and error, found an elegant way of fitting the repeats into a triangular shawl shape.

The final effect is an abstract interpretation of growing vines or leafy plants, and makes me think of my Mum & Dad’s vegetable garden, which for its small size produces an awful lot of food. Their tomatoes are a particular point of pride, and I admit I actually enjoy their brussels sprouts (gasp)!

Do you ever find yourself enchanted with a certain type of stitch pattern? The combination of leafy lace and twisted stitches has been haunting me for a while now, and I don’t think I’m quite done yet - I still have a few more ideas charted out and ready to swatch…

Beanstalk Shawl 2

The yarn I used to knit up my sample is Maniototo Wool’s Rough Ridge 4ply (90% Merino cross wool, 10% coloured Polwarth wool; 394yds/360m per 100g skein). This is an airy woollen-spun yarn with gentle heathering as a result of the inclusion of naturally coloured wool in the mix. I used two skeins of the undyed yarn for my shawl, but if you’re a colour-lover Mary has overdyed a few special shades to coincide with the launch of the Beanstalk Shawl pattern.

Techniques involved in the pattern include working lace increases and decreases on RS and WS rows (I have a tutorial coming soon for the WS decreases), and knitting and purling through the back loop to form the twisted stitches. I strongly recommend using stitch markers between repeats of the leaf-lace pattern, to help you keep track of the increases and decreases in the WS rows. Marking out the repeats also helped me get fully into the rhythm of the stitch pattern, which is worked over 6 rows.


Beanstalk Shawl features:

  • triangular shape, worked from one point to the triangle’s opposite side

  • all-over textured lace pattern including increases and decreases on every row

  • twisted stitches add crisp definition to the leafy texture

  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn (shown in Maniototo Wool’s Rough Ridge 4ply), and 10 stitch markers

  • suitable for solid, semi-solid, or gently-speckled fingering-weight yarn

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

Beanstalk Shawl 4

The Beanstalk Shawl pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Xerophyte

My Xerophyte shawl has just been published in Making's DESERT issue!

Xerophyte is a generously-sized crescent shawl with contrasting textures inspired by desert plants. The name comes from the botanical term for plants which have the ability to conserve or store water, for example cacti and succulents.

Photo by Making

Photo by Making

The shawl is knit from the top down, beginning with a garter tab cast on. The first part of the shawl is scattered with mini-bobbles, which are simple to work and don’t require any turning, and echo the prickle-studded lobes of prickly pear cacti. The shawl’s border begins with rows of shaping to create gentle scallops, whose softly rounded shapes contrast with the crisp geometry of the twisted-ribbing.

I knit my sample using two skeins of beautiful botanically-dyed yarn by A Verb For Keeping Warm. Floating is a dreamy, drapey blend of 70% superfine alpaca, 20% silk, and 10% cashmere. The shade I used is called Lamb’s Ear, a very subtle sage colour which changes with the light.

Photo by Making

Photo by Making

Xerophyte shawl features:

  • a crescent-shaped shawl, knit from the top down

  • dotted with simple one-row mini-bobbles edged with a scalloped border in twisted ribbing

  • one size, with 85½" [217 cm] wingspan and 16½" [42 cm] depth at centre

  • requires two skeins of fingering-weight yarn (shown in A Verb For Keeping Warm's Floating), and 12 stitch markers for the border

  • pattern includes written instructions only, no charts.

Photo by Making

Photo by Making

You can pick up a copy of the magazine from a local yarn shop, or order one here from Making's website. If you prefer, you'll also be able to purchase the pattern individually later this year.

New pattern: Windcatcher

The Windcatcher shawl began as a collaboration with Nikki of Dark Harbour Yarn for last year’s Indie Untangled yarn club. The club’s theme was ‘Where We Knit’, and because Nikki and I both have a strong connection to Wellington NZ (it’s her home, and my former home), we decided on Wellington harbour as our inspiration. For a few years, I lived high on one of Wellington’s hills with a view of the water, and I spent a lot of time watching the birds, boats, and changing reflections while working on some of my very first knitting patterns.

Windcatcher 1

Wellington is known for its wind - it’s not uncommon for passengers to applaud when their plane lands safely! - so I designed a shawl with the shape of a sail, and a stitch pattern that echoes the rippling water. The harbour’s edge is a lovely place to go for a walk in the city - you can see more photos in my older posts tagged Wellington. The photo below, which I took a couple of years ago, was the inspiration for both my shawl and Nikki’s colourway, which she called In swings the tide.

Oriental Bay

The shawl’s shape and lacy stitch pattern make it possible to knit using only one skein of precious yarn - I used Dark Harbour Yarn’s Starboard Fingering, a blend of 70% merino and 30% silk, which gives it a wonderful sheen and drape. I really like using single-ply yarn for lace, because it holds blocking well, and it’s so soft and delicate.

Because the pattern was originally created for a yarn club (and would be a surprise to the subscribers), I tried to keep the stitch pattern relatively straightforward. You will only need a few different stitches - knits & purls, yarn-overs, and k2tog & ssk decreases.

Windcatcher 2

Windcatcher features:

  • asymmetrical triangular shape, worked from one point to the triangle’s opposite side

  • all-over textured lace pattern made up of simple stitches (k, p, yo, k2tog, ssk)

  • WS rows use only knits and purls

  • suitable for solid, semi-solid, or gently-speckled fingering-weight yarn

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

Windcatcher 3

The Windcatcher shawl pattern is available on Ravelry.

New pattern: Whitewater Wrap

The Whitewater Wrap is a large rectangular shawl in flowing lace and restful garter stitch. My inspiration for the wrap is the waterfall in the middle of my hometown, Wairere falls in Whakatāne, a special place where I spent a lot of time exploring and climbing on the rocks as a kid.  

Whitewater Wrap 1.jpg

The wrap is divided in half diagonally, with lace on one side and garter stitch on the other, but it's constructed very simply - just knit from end, with a stitch marker keeping track of the boundary between the two stitch patterns. I found it a relaxing knit, with intuitive lace and simple knit-and-purl wrong-side rows.

The lace pattern is made up of flowing lines of yarnovers and decreases, with sinuous shapes appearing and disappearing between them. This movement in the lace causes the stockinette stitches to shift direction, catching the light at different angles for a shimmering effect.

Whitewater Wrap 2.jpg

To knit my sample I used three skeins of Sock Yarn from Wren & Ollie, a soft blend of 85% superwash merino and 15% nylon, in a beautiful and subtle colourway called ‘Glisten’. I love the extra depth the gentle speckles give to the stitch patterns!

Wren and Ollie yarn.jpg

Whitewater Wrap features:

  • rectangular shape, with the lace end slanted on the bias

  • half flowing lace, half restful garter stitch

  • knit in one piece from end to end

  • techniques include simple lace knitting (knit, purl, yarn-over, k2tog, ssk)

  • suitable for solid, semi-solid, or gently-speckled fingering-weight yarn

  • one size, easy to alter by changing the number of repeats

  • pattern includes full written instructions as well as charts.

Whitewater Wrap 3.jpg

The Whitewater Wrap pattern is available on Ravelry.

How to block scalloped edges

The scalloped edges of my Beeswax Shawl are one of its most special features, formed by working increases or decreases at the ends of certain rows. I was determined to preserve these rippling edges during blocking, and I came up with the following method which worked very well. This method could be adapted for any shawl with a rippling edge, if you want a very even ripple and/or dislike using lots of pins.

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