Antonia is a lacy yet hearty shawl inspired by the open skies and wide grasslands of Willa Cather’s classic 1918 novel My Antonia. Its scalloped edges evoke a past era of American life, while the center-slanted lace motifs of its main body are faintly reminiscent of the Germanic or Bohemian influence carried over from the Old Country by families like the Shimerdas. I can imagine a schoolteacher in Cather’s Black Hawk, Nebraska throwing just such a light shawl over her shoulders on her walk home from the schoolhouse in the early fall, after releasing Jim and Antonia from their lessons into the prairie wilds.
Included in the Antonia pattern are two versions of the design: a regular triangular shawlette, which can be worked from one standard, 100g skein of fingering-weight sock yarn; and an L-shaped capelet, which requires about 130g of the same weight. Both are knit in a similar way: the entire bottom edge is cast on and the edging worked first, with the turn of the bottom corner formed by an extra-wide scallop. After the edging has been worked, the pattern transitions to the body motif, with the shape of the shawl determined by placement of decreases. (The shawlette places them at the sides and the center, whereas the capelet has them in the center only.) The shawlette is then simply worked until all the stitches have been decreased. For the capelet, the knitter works a certain number of repeats, followed by an eyelet row and a loose bind-off.
The Antonia pattern DOES require the ability to read a lace chart. However, it also features extremely detailed written instructions about chart and decrease placement on every single row of both versions of the design. As such, it’s a pretty long pattern! Don’t be intimidated by the length; those instructions are just there to eliminate any doubts you may have. More intuitive knitters will probably find themselves working large portions with only a glance at the instructions, especially once they’ve made the transition from the edging to the main body of the shawl.
This pattern is available individually and as part of the Accessories Collection.