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Variation on a Theme

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parasol shawlette


Variations are surely one of the most entertaining & educational artistic practices of all time. When you’re familiar with your piece, and have already done the hard graft of choosing your theme, you’re free to play & tinker, and indulge. My attempts are humble, but here is what a master composer can do with a simple tune (perhaps the simplest tune?). Listen while you read on…

Have you noticed that shallow shawls* seem to be all the rage in the knitting world recently? I simply couldn’t resist. The Parasol Shawlette is a variation of the Parasol Stole: narrower, and with a single border for the ribbing section. The central section, instead of being straight, makes a gentle curve, with the ribbing flowing easily in & out of the decrease “bells”. I have to admit, there are several aspects of this variation that I find particularly satisfying:

  • The asymmetry is a natural result of the repetition. What I mean is, though the exact same lace pattern is repeated at either end, it looks asymmetrical, but not unattractively so.
  • I find the shawl shaping method particularly elegant (though I do say so myself). As the decreases grow, the shawl narrows. In fact, this is the only tweak you need to make to shape the shawl. The decrease method (which I showed you in this video), remains exactly the same.
  • It’s a nice balance of mindless knitting & lace.
  • It knits up in a weekend. Who is above the lure of instant gratification? Not me!

parasol shawlette

The lace sections at either end look pretty when you use the shawlette as a scarf, but they also function as ties if you’d rather wear it around your shoulders.

spring steal

Knitting Pattern Ebook

I would like to say that spring has stolen up on me, but I can’t remember a more dull, drizzly or dreary April! These slightly blurry shots were the best I could get, and it’s chilly enough right now that I’m wearing the shawlette around my neck as I type. Still, I’m all excitement for my first pattern bundle! Buying the Stole & Shawlette together will save you £1, which you can will spend on yarn. :)

let’s do it!

parasol shawlette

“Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you.” – Annie Dillard

That might be the tagline of my spring collection. I know some people think sitting & knitting as far from “living” as you can get (that Edvard Munch quotation comes to mind), but where spending days are concerned – and spend them we must – knitting in the afternoon, quietly, contentedly, must come close to bliss. I would be honoured if you were to spend your afternoon with me & my patterns. Which is why…

Stole & Shawlette KAL

Please invite your friends/readers also! Here’s the code to place on your blog:

<a href=""><img src=""/></a>

(You can also link directly to the Ravelry Laylock Designs Group, if you’d prefer.)

Are you also participating in 11 shawls in 2011? I am! You will be glad to know that both the Parasol Stole & Shawlette qualify (in terms of yardage & style) for the challenge. So that puts my current count at 5 and a half.

parasol shawlette

I hope it’s sunny where you are, lovely knitters & that your yarns are colourful enough to put the spring blossoms to shame. Have a gorgeous weekend! xx

parasol shawlette

* Every time I say “shallow shawls”, I get that Cole Porter song stuck in my head: “In shallow shoals English soles do it / Goldfish in the privacy of bowls do it / Let’s do it, let’s fall in love”.

Some pattern specs…

‣ Knit flat in one piece,
‣ in DK or lace-weight yarn,
‣ with lace at either end,
‣ and a central section of
‣ bordered by lace edging.
‣ 2 balls Nako Nakolen
[100gr; 50/50 wool/acrylic;
210m / 230yds; 5090 Lilac
or approx. 400m /
437yds of DK-weight
‣ OR approx.
350m / 383yds of lace-
weight yarn.
‣ Gauge isn’t critical, but It’s
important that the fabric
isn’t too tight, so that the
lace looks open and clear
when blocked.
DK-weight stole:
‣ 12sts / 20 rows
‣ over 10cm / 4in
‣ in blocked ribbing.
1 lace repeat is 17cm x
9.5cm / 6.7in x 3.7in at
widest points after
Lace-weight stole:
‣ 20sts / 23 rows
‣ over 10cm / 4in
‣ in blocked ribbing.
1 lace repeat is 13cm x
6.5cm / 5.1in x 2.6in at
widest points after blocking.
‣ 4.5mm (US 7) straight needles for both versions,
‣ or size suitable to yarn.
‣ Finished size will depend
on blocking.
‣ The DK
sample was approx:
28cm x 180cm / 11in x
‣The lace-weight
sample was approx: 25cm x
136cm / 10in x 54in.

Wordless Wednesday

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parasol shawlette

parasol shawlette

6th April, 2011  // Photographs // tags: , , , , .

In Lilac-time

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“Now that lilacs are in bloom
She has a bowl of lilacs in her room
And twists one in her fingers while she talks.”
– T.S. Eliot, ‘Portrait of a Lady’


Few things are as uplifting as a bunch of lilacs in a room. Even when you’re not looking at them, their scent still surprises you. Being able to pick them myself from the garden is a priceless pleasure. And even after the lilac flowers have gone over, I love seeing the name ‘Laylock’, and remembering the inspiration this plant offers. What a delightful business growth model lilacs would make! Graceful, profuse, colourful, robust, and full of heart.


In the door-yard fronting an old farm-house, near the white-wash’d palings,
Stands the lilac bush, tall-growing, with heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
With many a pointed blossom, rising, delicate, with the perfume strong I love,
With every leaf a miracle……and from this bush in the door-yard,
With delicate-color’d blossoms, and heart-shaped leaves of rich green,
A sprig, with its flower, I break.
– Walt Whitman, ‘When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d’

lilacs in a vase


22nd May, 2009  // Inspiration, Laylock, Life // tags: , , .
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