Lucy Snowe shawl by Elizabeth Felgate

Lucy Snowe shawl

April 2015
Lace ?
17 stitches = 4 inches
in stockinette (blocked)
US 6 - 4.0 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
360 yards (329 m)
As written produces a shawl with a drop of 43cm and a wingspan of 190cm. Easily resized.
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“so I had sought through a dozen shops till I lit upon a crape-like material of purple-gray—the colour, in short, of dun mist, lying on a moor in bloom. My tailleuse had kindly made it as well as she could: because, as she judiciously observed, it was “si triste—si peu voyant,” care in the fashion was the more imperative: it was well she took this view of the matter, for I, had no flower, no jewel to relieve it“

The third in my series of Shawls based on the characters of Charlotte Bronte novels is chilly little Lucy Snowe, heroine of Villette and perhaps literature’s most vexing narrator. This small shawl has a dual nature like our heroine. It actually starts as a shallow triangle in unassuming stockinette that reflects her self-characterisation as plain and simple. It transforms into a sensual crescent with a lace border that has the same innate beauty, complexity, passion and snowflake-like fragility that we (and one bad-tempered school master) realise is Lucy’s other facet through the course of her narrative. For extra snowflake sparkle there are optional bead placements on the charts. It requires only one skein of most yarns and is ideal for that lonely luxury skein you have tucked away.

The shawl can be easily resized by by increasing the stockinette portion and repeating the main lace chart. Full instructions are provided in the pattern, Alternatively make a bigger shawl by using fingering, sport or DK yarn.

Yarn choices
Like the dress she chooses for herself this shawl is made of a soft and misty colour indeterminate between grey and lilac-pink and is designed to showcase yarn that is thing of beauty in its own right. The gorgeous hand dyed tonal yarn I used is by Cariad Fiber Art. This pure cashmere heavy lace yarn is designed to keep poor, cold, Lucy warm while she waits for the comforts of true love; and because of the very unpuritancial luxury and extravagance of this fibre, I’ve kept the design to one skein of lace. If you wish to substitute yarn, this is going to look great in any smooth silk, wool, or cashmere yarn (or one with a blend of alpaca) in solid, tonal and subtly variegated colourways. It also plays nicely with gradient yarns.The Malabrigo yarns suggested have a similar tonal quality to the yarn I used. It can also be knit in weights other than heavy lace weight (heavy lace is around 600m per 100g) successfully. The beautiful red version by shawncknits is in Malabrigo Rastita - a DK yarn. The delicate green blue version is in a fine lace yarn.

This is a crescent-shaped top-down shawl that starts life as a very shallow triangle.

Skills required
I rate this an intermediate knit. The lace portion does have some complexity and would be best suited to knitters who have some lace knitting experience. There are no resting rows, as patterning is on both sides of the lace. You should be able to perform yarnovers of all flavours, and some ability to read your knitting will help you considerably.

Pattern contains
Full charted and written instructions. Optional bead placements are shown on the visual charts only.

Many thanks to my wonderful testing team, with a special shout out to laceknits for testing the beading chart and developing a new (to me) and really nice refinement to one of the stitches.