Cynara by Dee O'Keefe


June 2015
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette, but gauge is not critical for this project
US 5 - 3.75 mm
650 - 700 yards (594 - 640 m)
Pattern size of 64" x 26", larger size of 68" x 28"
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Cynara is a top-down, half pi shawl designed with a variety of traditional lace patterns carefully chosen to evoke the life cycle of the thistle plants that thrived in my grandpa’s back yard in rural Maryland. The bottom edging was designed to resemble the plant’s extensive root system. Above that, the Victorian thistle leaf pattern depicts young thistle rosettes growing into mature plants. The open clove stitch in the middle section resembles seeds surrounded by the fuzzy white pappus. A single row of star motifs represents the feathery seeds blowing in the wind. The stockinette band adorned by staggered 3-into-3 star stitches represents the pappus bristles as they rest on the ground. The top open mesh band represents the seeds as they begin to put out little roots to start the process anew.

Directions are included for the 64” x 26” pattern size (pictured) as well as for a slightly larger 68” x 28” version that will maximize your yarn usage without requiring an additional skein of most fingering/sock weight yarns. When blocking either size, you have the flexibility to adjust both the wingspan and depth to your liking, depending on whether you prefer an elongated or a true semicircle.

The Cynara pattern includes both charts and full written out instructions for those of you prefer not to use charts.

Solid or tonal yarn in fingering or sock weight is recommended in order to show off the design to its best advantage. The magenta shawl pictured and worked at the 64” x 26” size used just under 700 yards of fingering weight yarn on a US 5 / 3.75 mm needle.Test knitters used between 650 and 700 yards for the same size. The 68” x 28” size will use between 750 and 800 yards.

If you are a tight knitter, or if you are using a heavier weight sock yarn, you may wish to go up one needle size to a US Size 6 / 4.00 mm in order to achieve the lacy look of the sample shawl pictured.

The March 2018 revision of the pattern uploaded on March 31, 2018, has the following ERRATA corrected: 1) On the written instructions only (charts are all fine), Chart 7, Row 9, after “to 8 stitches before marker” should read: ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog, SM, k3. Bolded text is the correction. The decreases were reversed in the original. 2) On page 4 under the Blocking Section, 2nd sentence, should read: Weave blocking wires across the top of the shawl, etc., taking out “through the yarn overs” since there are no yarn overs at the top.