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 which yarn and pattern for first shawl?
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cindymen
Warming Up

71 Posts

Posted - 08/07/2007 :  6:18:28 PM  Show Profile Send cindymen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I really want to make a lace shawl. I'm not totally new to lace, having knit a lace poncho. But I'm not sure what yarn is best or which pattern to start with. Any advice for me?
Thanks,
Cindy

ceecee
Permanent Resident

1896 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  05:26:53 AM  Show Profile Send ceecee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Here's a recent thread which may be helpful:

http://knittersreview.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=80590&whichpage=1

As for yarn, Zephyr seems to be a favorite among lace knitters here.
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knitwad
New Pal

5 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  07:42:33 AM  Show Profile Send knitwad a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The first lacey shawl I ever made was Elizabeth Zimmerman's Pi shawl. If you google that you will see hundreds of variations, a blog or two, and even a few knit-a-longs. The book is quite inexpensive and can be found at Schoolhouse Press.

I used a couple of skeins of Blackberry Ridge's laceweight yarn http://www.blackberry-ridge.com/lacewght.htm and the result was wonderfully simple, yet interesting enough to keep me going through a month long trip through Japan. I was able to block it and give it as a present to a host there who absolutely loves it. Not bad for a first attempt! Good luck! And, although Zephyr is wonderful yarn, using something with a bit more give (more wooly) and density did have its advantages. The whole thing cost me less than $30 and I'm starting another one this fall!

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cinderindi
Chatty Knitter

Canada
244 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  08:19:08 AM  Show Profile Send cinderindi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My first shawl was fiddlesticks peacock feather shawl, in a soft pink Misti Baby Alpaca. I had fun, and I think it's look beatifully soft and pretty, but I don't think it's the easier of "starter shawls. The pattern link is here:
http://www.needleartsbookshop.com/patterns/Peacock_Feathers_Shawl.html
and alternate detail view:
http://www.needleartsbookshop.com/patterns/Peacock_Feathers_Shawl_details.html
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of troy
Permanent Resident

USA
2474 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  10:24:21 AM  Show Profile  Visit of troy's Homepage Send of troy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
i've made shawls with cobweb weight yarn, and with Lion Brand Homespun (bulky weight)

i've made very lacy shawls, and pretty solid shawls.

the best shawl to make, is one that excites you, that you like.

you can make a bulky yarn lacy shawl in a few hours.. or spend a few months (or years!) making a cobweb weight yarn shawl..

(curiously, the LB shawl, actually cost more than some of the cobweb shawls! so if $$$ is a factor, you might find 1500 yards (4 oz) of cobweb weight yarn cheaper than bulky yarn (which might need 12 to 16 oz of yarn!)

i suggest a DK/Sports/worsted weight as a first shawl.. not too expensive, not so slow going (not to hard to frog if needed)but --its your knitting.. don't forget to check out this site..
250+ patterns for shawl
http://simpleknits.blogspot.com/2007/04/triangle-shawls-galore.html
(more pattern available on JULY 19th posting)

free patterns are bold

Blog: http://golden-apples.blogspot.com/
Photogallery: http://img78.photobucket.com/albums/v299/oftroy/
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cindymen
Warming Up

71 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  6:41:18 PM  Show Profile Send cindymen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Wow - thanks for this advice. What is zephyr?

Cindy
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Calamintha
Permanent Resident

USA
2886 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  7:13:32 PM  Show Profile Send Calamintha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Zephyr is a laceweight yarn that is 50% merino/50% silk. It's a really nice yarn but I don't know whether you want to use a yarn that lightweight for your first project. If you do want to use a laceweight you can't do better than Zephyr.

However, lace does not necessarily have to be done in laceweight yarn and you might want to try a heavier yarn for your first project. The book, Folk Shawls has lots of nice patterns for shawls in heavier weights of yarn.
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ginabow@adelphia.net


Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  10:24:02 PM  Show Profile Send ginabow@adelphia.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I designed a stole pattern for the beginning lace knitter. It is charted so you can see where you are going and where you have been. It is knitted with worsted weight yarn so the stitches are easy to see and easy to "frog" if that is necessary. It is available as a download at pinklemontwist.blogspot.com. There is also a KAL for questions if you need any help. I have sold over 100 of these patterns, and I think you would find that this pattern meets your needs. Happy knitting! Georgina
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CatBookMom
New Pal

6 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  10:34:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit CatBookMom's Homepage Send CatBookMom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Calamintha is the best lace knitter I know, and she's always recommended Zephyr for real laceweight yarn. The first lacy shawl I made was the Highland Triangle Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, using Elann's Highland Wool Chunky. It's big and warm and I love it in winter. The most lacy shawl I've done so far is Kiri, a free pattern here (http://tinyurl.com/5tge5) I did this in a sport-weight cotton (Elann's Lara) and it was so much fun and easy to knit. Elann also has a very easy lace shawl called Sun Ray in their Free Patterns section. I'm just finishing that right now, using a DK weight. And I'm on Row 79 of the Mystery Stole 3; it takes a LOT of concentration and I have to think about nearly every stitch.

For your first really lacy pattern, I wouldn't suggest you try true laceweight. Try sport-weight or fingering weight, so that you can get used to the concepts of lace and not have to struggle with the really fine yarn. And use lifelines!!
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Northside Knitter
New Pal

14 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2007 :  10:54:42 PM  Show Profile Send Northside Knitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You might want to look at Alison Hyde's book, "Wrapped in Comfort". It is written with fabulous instructions for both shawls and scarves. You can read more about it on Alison's website {http://spindyeknit.com/my-books/}, although I was able to get mine at my LYS.

quote:
Originally posted by cindymen

I really want to make a lace shawl. I'm not totally new to lace, having knit a lace poncho. But I'm not sure what yarn is best or which pattern to start with. Any advice for me?
Thanks,
Cindy

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susan@beeberrywoods.com
New Pal

11 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  06:23:28 AM  Show Profile Send susan@beeberrywoods.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi - You've had some great suggestions about patterns. I like to use sock yarn - WITHOUT nylon. There are a lot of good superwash merino sock yarns available. I'm particularly liking Toffutsie at the moment. Check out http://lovetobikeandknit.blogspot.com/2006/05/rectangular-shawl-patterns.html for rectangular shawl patterns and http://simpleknits.blogspot.com/2007/04/triangle-shawls-galore.html
for triangular shawls listed by the amount of yarn they require.

Of course there's always good old www.knittinpatterncentral.com

Susan Dewey (on MDI in Maine)

Susan - on MDI
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knitloon
Gabber Extraordinaire

524 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  07:07:52 AM  Show Profile Send knitloon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd like to second some of the ideas already presented here. Don't do your first one in laceweight. You might do just fine, or you might get so frustrated that you swear off lace forever. The book Folk Shawls is great for presenting a variety of weights and patterns. I have made two "Bird's Nest" shawls from it out of Louet Gems Opal. They are the most versatile and practical shawls I own and I grab them for multiple occasions. I also did the Kiri shawl out of Koigu, and it's absolutely beautiful, and not too difficult. You can see these on my flickr page. Have fun!

View my projects at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/knitloon/
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NutmegOwl
Gabber Extraordinaire

580 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  07:18:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit NutmegOwl's Homepage Send NutmegOwl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A nice, gentle way into lace shawls is the Little Leaf Shawl in Jamieson's Shetland Book 3 (I think it's book 3). I used Mountain Colors Bearfoot - although it has some nylon, it's soft, behaves beautifully and the color mixes do not puddle. A good introduction to starting with very few stitches and working your way up the triangle, using increases to work in new pattern repeats. You won't be fashioning flowers, but the results are lovely and it's not a frustrating project for one starting with lace.

-----
Nutmeg Owl
Quaecumque sunt vera
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cindymen
Warming Up

71 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  08:42:31 AM  Show Profile Send cindymen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think part of the problem is that there are so many good choices! It is hard to decide where to start but thanks for the information. Are there any recommended needles for lace knitting? Does it differ for lace weight vs. dk?
Thanks,
Cindy
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spindledreams
Warming Up

87 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  09:20:12 AM  Show Profile Send spindledreams a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Another suggestion is NOT to do you first lace shawl in mohair or other sticky fluffy yarn. Grin it makes very hard to see dropped stitches and tinking let alone frogging is a bear.

Pure wool sock yarn is actually a very good choice for a first lace shawl. As for pattern find one that excites you as that is the only way you will actually finish it.

Look for nice long tapered tips in your needles. You will need find them to be a blessing when you start doing a lot of k2tog or p2tog and they make it easier to pick up missed YOs. Brands are a personal choice based on what you like and what you can afford.

Why not pick out a few patterns in different designs and weights that you are attracted to then just pull a name out of a hat. Or join a KAL that is doing a design that interests you. KALs can be great fun and they can help both if a problem arises and to keep you motivated.


dorothy from windy wyoming
They say that when the wind reaches 75 mph in the south they give it a name and call it a Hurricane. When it reaches 75 mph here we call it a bit windy.
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gma
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  09:30:22 AM  Show Profile Send gma a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Try a Fiddlesticks pattern -- I would suggest the Triple Mohair or the Lotus Blossom -- the Lotus Blossom has the types of stitches that you encounter in lace knitting. The joy of lace knitting is that you do no have to use lace-weight yarns -- if you use a heavier weight wool, once blocked, the pattern still emerges beautifully. I knit the Lotus Blossom in Berocco Alpaca, and a friend knit it in Rowan 4-play soft -- with different results, but both beautiful.
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kpollard@direcway.com
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  11:49:04 AM  Show Profile Send kpollard@direcway.com a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yarn for shawls depends on personal taste. From the shop I work at, here is input as shawls are very in or popular here. One customer has allergy to wool, uses Bernat Baby, a fingering weight acrylic which works up well. Brown Sheep has Nature Spun Fingering weight in a cone and they are using # 5-7 needles for a light airy lace. Patons Lacette a fine weight nylon, acrylic, mohair blend and #7-9 needles makes a soft light fabric. Another is using Trekking sock yarn and #6. Skacel makes Merino Lace-fine #3-#4 needles. Sport weight and large needle (maybe 4 time bigger than you normally use) goes fast. EZ Pie Shawl is good one in many yarns. Several are doing from Folk Shawls Litla Dimun Shawl and the Wool Peddler’s Shawl because of the garter stitch body. Vogue Shawls has an easy one called Triangular Shawl all in garter stitch. Many are first time shawl makers and are choosing a garter stitch body and simple increase with an edge of a more detail lace pattern as their first with a yarn they feel at ease working with, and I am helping them adapt the pattern to the yarn they choose.
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granny purple
New Pal

22 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  1:29:14 PM  Show Profile Send granny purple a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would recommend using a fingering yarn--and one pattern that works well with either solid or variegated yarn in that weight is the Flower Basket shawl from Interweave Knits about 3 years ago. It was shown in a camel brown, but done in multicoloured yarn, it can be quite sensational. And the elasticity of wool, esp. merino, helps with all those k2 togs etc. Zephyr is an awesome yarn, ditto Kid silk haze or equivalent, but neither has much give, if you're still in the learning stage!
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cindymen
Warming Up

71 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  7:07:47 PM  Show Profile Send cindymen a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What is the difference between a fingering yarn and a lace weight yarn?

Cindy
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spinalcat
Warming Up

USA
74 Posts

Posted - 08/09/2007 :  11:29:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit spinalcat's Homepage Send spinalcat a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Fingering weight yarn is a size often used for socks, and the ball band would probably say to use US size 1-3 needles. There's generally in the ballpark of 2000 yards per pound. Lace weight is much finer at about 3000 to 6000 yards per pound. (Zephyr is about 5040 yards per pound.)
After that, you get into cobweb (6000-8000 yards per pound) and gossamer (10,000 to 15,000 yards per pound) territory.

Victorian Lace Today classifies its patterns into 3 different weights. Zephyr would be considered #1 (the finest). The #2 yarns are generally fingering weight, and #3 yarns appear to generally be DK weight.
I would recommend this book, especially if you can find it on sale. It is a beautiful coffee table book, pretty interesting to read, and has a wide range of patterns for different skill levels (patterns are classified as beginner, intermediate, and experienced) and yarn weights.
I just checked, and Knit Picks has books 40% off right now. :)

-Amy

http://spinalcat.blogspot.com
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Janbie
Chatty Knitter

USA
112 Posts

Posted - 08/10/2007 :  11:23:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit Janbie's Homepage Send Janbie a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm currently knitting the Clementine Shawlette from the Interweave Knits Spring 2007 issue. It's not as delicate and "lacy" as some shawls, but it's not that difficult or time-intensive.

http://www.interweaveknits.com/preview/2007_spring.asp

(scroll down about two-thirds of the way on the page)

So far, it's been a relatively quick knit. I'm actually making it in pale pink because orange just isn't my thing!

Although I made it in the original Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, you could probably substitute it with Knitpicks Shimmer, using only skein and playing only about half the price for one skein of the Blue Sky.

http://www.knitpicks.com/Shimmer_YD5420112.html

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