The Mad Queen Shawl by Anne Podlesak

The Mad Queen Shawl

January 2015
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
28 stitches and 36 rows = 4 inches
in Spanish Fan Border Chart
US 5 - 3.75 mm
775 - 790 yards (709 - 722 m)
One size: 25 ¾” (65.5 cm) back neck to hem x 99” (251.5 cm) wingspan after blocking.
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This semi-circular shawl is shaped using two types of increases, and is worked from the center back neckline down to the hem. The pattern features intertwined Tudor cables and floral lace patterns, and is finished with a simple lace bind-off, to form a cape-like shape.

You will need approximately 775 yards of fingering weight yarn to complete this pattern as written. The sample used almost all of the two 400-yard skeins, so be sure to check your gauge and/or purchase extra yarn. Choose a yarn with a firm twist and without much halo’ing, to help show off the stitch patterns to their fullest.

This design benefits from a fairly robust blocking. To most easily achieve the half-round shape, after soaking shawl and spinning or pressing out the excess water, use blocking pins and/or wires to pull the top edge (garter-stitch edging) into a straight line. From there, working in quarters, block the shawl into a pleasing semi-circular shape, pulling out the points at the bottom hem for each motif and allowing the remainder of the edging to stay slightly ruffled.

Inspiration: Johanna of Castile (also known as Johanna the Mad) was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, and the older sister of Katharine of Aragon. Poised at the crux of multiple powerful Tudor-era families, she was married to the heir to the Holy Roman Empire, and should have been a powerful ruler in her own right. After the death of her husband, she was declared insane and incarcerated in a nunnery while her father ruled as regent for her son, Frederick. Debate about whether she was truly suffering from a mental illness or simply a pawn in the political intrigues of Europe at this time still surrounds her.