Iolanthe by Dee O'Keefe


August 2014
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
600 - 675 yards (549 - 617 m)
Shawl size 65 x 28" (165 x 71 cm); Shawlette size 50 x 21" (127 x 53 cm). Both size may be customized further
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Iolanthe is a contemporary, Estonian-inspired triangular lace shawl with beautiful star stitch motifs that add elegance and textural interest. There are tiny star stitches in the geometric body pattern; larger stacked 3-into-3 star stitch clusters forming faux cables on the fancy spine and repeated on the mesh edge; and dramatic 3-into-7 star stitches forming the border flowers. Because the traditional border pattern of wide leaves and small flower clusters resembles delicate African violets with their rounded, fuzzy leaves, I named the shawl Iolanthe, which is a Greek name meaning violet flower.

Using fingering weight yarn, rather than the lace weight traditionally used in Estonian knitting, really makes the texture of the stars pop. Please note that the dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering/sock weight. Using lace weight yarn will give a more ethereal look, but keep in mind that the texture of the spine and mesh edge will be more subdued. And knitting Iolanthe in a sport or even worsted would give you a whole lot of texture with really big violets!

Directions are included for both a full-sized shawl (pictured in Cayenne) and a one-skein shawlette (pictured in taupe). The size is very easy to customize further by changing the number of Chart 2 repeats worked, by using a different yarn weight, or both.

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

Construction: Iolanthe starts at the center back of the neck and is knit down to the bottom edge. There is a 2-stitch garter border on each side and an intricate 7-stitch spine composed of stacked 3-into-3 star stitches flanked by yarn overs and decreases. Patterning is done on the right-side rows only. All wrong-side rows are purled between the garter borders.

Size and Yardage: See above for shawl and shawlette size measurements. The shawl size used 600-675 yards (549-617 m) of fingering weight yarn; shawlette size used 350-400 yards (320-366 m).