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Quite some time ago I ran across this amazing Faroese Shawl Design Worksheet by Carol Connors. It was a treasure trove of information and how-to’s for designing a traditional faroese shawl.  (It has since disappeared from the web so far as I can tell.) I still have a copy and would love to work through it. And maybe with your help improve upon it.

Who’s in the mood for a little shawl designing?

This shawl is knit bottom up – as is traditional with Faroese Shawls. For top down patterns check out Myrna Stahman‘s book, Stahman’s Shawls and Scarves. Its fabulous!

To begin choose your yarn.

This is the fun part. Think about what you love. What you have on hand. Most shawls require at least 400 yards – some as many as 1000 yards (or more) depending on the weight of yarn and finished shawl size. Consider what stitch you want to use. Will it ‘go’ with this yarn? Will it eat up this yarn and require more yardage?

*I’m using Sportmagundi in Sedah. I have 2 skiens (830 yards).

Pick a needle.

From past shawl experience I can safely recommend a 40 in circular needle. It seems that for lace or shawl knitting its important to go up 3-4 needle sizes to get the drape we all love. So if the label on your yarn says US1, go up to a US4 or US5 and see what you think. My favorite way to pick a needle is to dig through my needle case and see whats unoccupied and close enough. LOL

*I’m planning on using a US7 40″ circular.

Pick a stitch pattern and swatch.

Find a stitch pattern you love. Faroese shawls are traditionally knit in garter stitch with a lace trim or border. You may need more yarn if you plan on knitting in garter stitch as it seems to eat up the yarn. But it could be a great way to use up small odds and ends and make swank stripes ala WestKnits. If you go with an all over lace like pattern, try to keep the stitch count around or under 15sts to a repeat so you don’t run into math troubles later. Try different needle sizes with your swatch to get just the right drape and feel to your shawl.

*I’m going to try overlapping leaves from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary #5.

Now swatch your pattern on your needles and block. Measure it. Be thinking about how big you want your final shawl to be. Check back next Tuesday for part 2.

[I’ll keep notes as we go and make up a new and improved version of Carol’s worksheet to share when we finish our shawls. Check back or sign up for the newsletter so you don’t miss it. =)]

Updated 04/2012 – Carol Connors has a new blog with her original worksheets up. =D