|Bear-Bear looks happy! Little Bear looks more subdued. He prefers to celebrate in a quiet way.|
A little champagne, a little caviar, and off to bed.
A few months ago, a lady hired me to knit a baby blanket for her. She wanted a traditional knitting pattern called Old Shale, also widely known, apparently incorrectly, as Feather and Fan.
Now, before you get your feathers ruffled and your fans in a flap, before you grasp your knitting needles like daggers to attack, check out this link written by Elizabeth Lovick, and see what you think!
I decided last night that, for fun, I would research this traditional pattern and post a bit of history on my blog. (My idea of fun is pretty tame.) Along the way, I found the website above, and it makes a lot of sense. Before I finished reading, I thought, "Uh-oh, now I have to change the title of my blog entry." I was so sure I had been knitting Feather and Fan!
Well, I kept reading and it turns out, I was indeed knitting Old Shale, at least according to Elizabeth Lovick, and I have no reason to doubt her. This pattern really does look more like shells, which is apparently what "Shale" originally meant, as opposed to "rock" as we might have thought, and the other pattern she shows really does look more like feathers, at least, if not fans.
Regardless, you who have been knitting for a long time may be thinking, "Ho-hum, another Feather and Fan/Old Shale pattern, big deal."
True, this stitch pattern appears in many stitch dictionaries; all I offer here is a "recipe" in which I have done some math so you don't have to do it.
There's a reason this stitch pattern has remained so popular: it looks delicate and classy, and once you learn it, it's easy.
But the woman who hired me was new to knitting. She wanted to make the blanket herself, but was having trouble with the pattern. I remember when I first started knitting years ago, this one was about as complicated as I could handle. There were many dropped stitches or yarn-overs omitted. There was much tinking and gnashing of teeth. Now it's a piece of pie! Persistence pays off.
However, this otherwise perfectly nice lady who was offering me actual money to knit for her also wanted me to use her sport weight yarn. (Ominous music now plays in the background.)
|The adventure begins|
Having made a baby blanket with sport weight before, I had vowed that I would never make another, as it takes FOREVER, but she was going to pay me, so I relented.
Never say never.
Now, about that "forever" business:
The best way I have found to know if you have made your blanket long enough is to hold up your work-in-progress from one side, not from the top.
If you hold it up from where you are knitting on the needles, the weight of the yarn makes it look like it's long enough. It isn't. Sorry. You have to keep knitting. It's sport weight. It feels like it will never be done; trust me, I know. You have my deepest sympathy.
|Are we there yet?|
After you have knitted for a few more hours, days, or weeks, just hold the blanket up from one side, then lay it down on a table or on a nice, clean floor, perhaps, and get out your measuring tape, and measure down from the needles. Then pick it up and keep knitting.
Almost for forever.
Almost for forever.
Then one day, suddenly, you're done!
|Doesn't look bad from the "wrong side" either!|
GOOD OLD OLD SHALE
© 2013 Reyna Thera Lorele
Finished size: 36" x 42"
1500 yds. DK or sport weight yarn
#5 needles, 29" circulars
Gauge: 5.5 sts per inch
Note: pattern repeat is 18 sts. I have added a garter st border of 6 rows to begin and end the blanket, and 5 sts on either end of each row. You may want to place a marker after the first 5 sts and before the last 5 sts so you don't forget to do your border once you start the Good Old Old Shale pattern.
CO 208 sts.
Knit 6 rows.
BEGIN PATTERN--CENTER STS ONLY
Row 1 (RS): k
Row 2: p
Row 3: *(k2tog) 3 times, (yo, k1) 6 times, (k2tog) 3 times*, rep from * to * across.
Row 4: k
Repeat rows 1 through 4 almost ad infinitum, until blanket measures about 41 inches. Then finish with 6 rows of garter st, i.e., k every row.
BO, weave in ends, block, and take a much-needed rest!
BO = bind off
CO = cast on
k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
p = purl
RS = right side
st, sts = stitch, stitches
yo = yarn over