Monday, March 29, 2010

A Review of Folk Shawls

I did get a lot of knitting done over the weekend, but didn't manage to finish the Litla Dimun shawl. Since it was cast on at its longest point and is getting shorter and shorter as I go on, it feels like I was moving really fast! It was especially nice when I hit the two rows that decreased 16 stitches each, rather than just 4. I get the impression I'll actually finish that project in my lifetime!

Since I didn't finish the shawl over the weekend and since the bookstore didn't have Wendy Johnson's new book, like I'd hoped, I thought I could at least talk about the book I got the pattern from. I have had the Folk Shawls book, by Cheryl Oberle, quite a long time (it was published in 2000), but hadn't made anything from it until this project. That doesn't mean the book hasn't been used. I have read through it many times, dreaming about making one or more of the patterns, or thinking of ways to use ideas from them. The patterns are so clearly written that you can easily envision yourself working on them.

One reason I read it so many times is that there are examples of shawls from such a variety of traditions. Not only are there the expected British Isles, Ireland, Scandinavia, etc., represented, but there are Japanese, Spanish and even the Americas. I like some better than others, but the explanations of the traditions and techniques involved are all fascinating. The book makes a great introduction to techniques from around the world, and give you an idea of what you might like a lot, so you can head out and find more patterns in your favorite tradition.

That is one reason I chose a pattern from the Faroe Islands (which happens to be the first tradition focused on in Folk Shawls). I had read the patterns here and went out and made some Faroe style shawls in the past. I kept coming back to the Litla Dimun and Stora Dimun patterns, because they seemed more authentic (others I made are the modern versions that start on the small end and build, while these patterns are bottom up and have shoulder shaping).

If you don't have this book already, it's one I'd recommend adding to your library while it's still in print. Some of the shawls are huge masterpieces, but there are also some (which I give Ravelry links to so you can check them out), such as the Simple Garter Stitch Prairie Shawl and the Wool Peddler's Shawl (which many people I know have made), that are good introductions to knitting shawls or knitting lace. 

By the way, the mittens blocked nicely and came out very soft. I look forward to wearing them.

I didn't get to go knit with friends this evening, due to my son having a band event (sometimes you have to do the ole family stuff), but I got my knitting need met by looking through this treasured book once again!

1 comment:

  1. Suna, do you have drawers and drawers full of beautiful handknits? You are so quick! And everything you make looks so beautiful.


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