Archive for August, 2009

Aeolian Shawl

Every time I see the name of this shawl pattern, I think “How do you knit in natural minor?”


This is the Aeolian Shawl pattern, from the Spring 09 issue of Knitty. I found it to be an interesting and engaging knit, much like the other shawl I have knit by the same designer, Laminaria. Neither shawl ever got boring.


I knit this on US size 3 needles, using a lilac colored skein of Silk Lace from Claudia Handpainted Yarns. Although the yarn is a bit pricey, I’ve used it before DSCN0897and know that it will hold up well. I was a bit surprised, however, to find how much the yarn shredded when I had to frog a substantial portion of the shawl. I was also displeased to find a knot and a few slubs in my skein; at this price, I do not expect to find multiple knots or other imperfections.

This pattern calls for 2250 size 8 seed beads. I upped to a size 6 bead, but reduced the number of beads used by about 80%. I generally dislike both beading and the feeling of too much “bling,” so  I included beads only on the borders, and picked which beads I wanted for impact. I have listed my reductions at the bottom of this post.



For this pattern, I used a crochet chain bind-off. As this shawl is knit in stockinette lace right up to the bind-off, I would normally be concerned about the edge rolling. However, the edge contains both a heavy amount of open lacework, the beads help to weigh the edge down to prevent curling, and pure silk tends to take a block very well, so I threw caution to the wind and used the bind-off that I thought would look nicest. So far, no curling! At the end, I had about 18 inches of yarn to spare. Given that I started out with 1100 yards, that was a little close!

This shawl was challenging to block. My first attempt to block the shawl flat was unsatisfactory.


I own two sets of blocking mats – theoretically, enough to block just about anything. However, as you can see from the photos, this shawl is just a tad oversized. The edges ran off at multiple points, and parts of the border were quite distorted. So, I folded the shawl in half along its spine.


This enabled me to spread the border sections out properly. At this point, I found that the “tail” of the shawl needed to curve out, something that would not have been possible to do had I blocked the shawl flat.

This shawl blocked out to be quite large: 88 inches along the wingspan, and 45 inches down the back. If I don’t fold the top over, it hits me right at the knee! However, with the top folded up a bit, the wings are long and weighty enough with the beads that I can throw one end over my shoulder and be confident that the shawl will stay put without a pin – nice!



For anyone is knitting this shawl who wants to follow my bead reductions, they are as follows:

Set-up chart: no beads

Yucca chart: no beads

Transition chart: no beads

Agave chart: Center beads only on rows 3 and 5 (these make a little triangle)

Final Agave chart: Center beads only as for Agave chart.

Left edge, center edge and right edge chart: all beads.

Edge set-up chart: Beads on rows 3 and 5 only.

Main Edge chart: all beads EXCEPT for row 43. In row 43, I placed beads on the designated stitches that were knit plain, but did not place beads on the designated decrease stitches. For row 45, I placed all beads as indicated.


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