Hearts Ease by Lonna Cunningham

Hearts Ease

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Hearts Ease is a shawl designed specifically to cover the heart and wrap you in warmth and comfort.

This shawl is based on a very old Danish design called the bindesjal or tie-shawl, which is a wide triangle that can be worn in several ways but was most commonly crossed over the chest and tied in back. This makes it convenient to wear when working, as the tails of the shawl are safely out of the way and won’t drag in the soup or get singed by the cooking fire, but it also means that the fabric hugs and warms the upper body, especially that vulnerable spot just over the heart where the ache of grief seems to take hold.

I was introduced to this style of shawl through Mette Rørbech’s Kaellingesjal. I have imitated several of the construction methods she used, first knitting the long border then filling in the centre with garter and stockinette, though rather than knitting then sewing on the top border I have knitted it on as it is worked.

This shawl is extremely comfortable and warm to wear, and would be excellent in handspun. Any yarn that is worsted weight or on the smaller side of bulky is probably ideal.

The one pictured was made with 520 grams of Cascade Eco + (mostly - the blue stripe is lovely heathered yarn from Scotland that was given to me, but about the same weight) - so just over 2 skeins.

In answer to a question from a knitter, here’s some additional info on the border length:

The border needs each half to be your full armspan - like, finger tip to finger tip, plus a bit. Really, really long. It will seem to shorten as you knit it into the V shape, so you’re actually making one long edge, then turning the corner and making the other. If you want to be very scientific, you could get someone else to hold some string out and measure from where you want the bottom of the shawl to be (about your backside) up over the edge of your arm by your elbow, across your front, and around again to your back.

Or, just knit until it is as long as you can hold (with the needles in one hand and the cast on end in the other, don’t stretch it just hold it out wide), then do six or eight more repeats, then turn the corner. Maybe eight. Maybe ten if you want lots of room for the ties. :)

I am 5’3” and about a size 12 - 14, depending (I’m “Reubenesque”). Your arm span is usually the same as your height, and I made mine arm span plus six repeats.

Eight should be plenty even for someone several sizes bigger than I am, unless you knit super tight, then go up. Blocking always adds more, but really, on this shawl, having extra there isn’t a problem, it just makes the ties dangle a bit further. Feel free to message me if you have more questions!

Knitters: If you purchased the electronic version of this book and your eReader is giving you grief with the charts and images, just send a PM and I will provide you with a PDF of the essential information.

The pattern download also includes a 10% discount code should you decide to purchase the paperback at a later point in time.

Both printed and eBooks are now available … thanks for waiting!