‘Oh wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,…’
-- excerpt from Ode to the West Wind,
Percy Bysshe Shelley
The westerly winds, which sweep from west to east across the midlatitudes, intensify with altitude in the atmosphere. At height, these winds can howl at speeds of several hundred meters per second. The stockinette columns and lace patterned scallops of “The Westerlies” are reminiscent of the wind barbs on an old-fashioned weather map. The number of flourishes on the tail of the barb is used to indicate wind speed, and an upper level weather map displays the midlatitude jet stream as many of these wind barbs running in parallel, all emanating from the west.
Overview: The Westerlies is a lacy crescent-shaped shawl worked from the top-down. Knitted in a mixture of garter, stockinette, and twisted ribbing stitch patterns, the shawl is finished with a flourish of lace tipped with ribbed scallops.
Pattern Format: Instructions are provided in both written and charted form. Stitch counts are provided for each pattern row.
Sizes: The small size has a diameter of approximately 40” (100 cm) and the medium size has a diameter of approximately 60” (150 cm).
Those who are comfortable with reading charts can customize the size of the finished shawl to their liking.
Yarn: The small size requires approximately 500 yards (460 meters) of your favorite sock- or lace-weight yarn, while the medium size requires approximately 900 yards (825 meters) of your favorite sock- or lace-weight yarn.
The shawl pictured is the small size, and was worked with approximately 440 yards of Saffron Dye Works Amara Sock in the Cinnabar colorway.
Needles: US size 6 (4.0 mm) straight needles, or circular needles with a long cable (greater than 30” or 75 cm).
Skills: This pattern is recommended for the intermediate-level knitter. Required techniques include picking up stitches (for the garter stitch tab from which the shawl is begun; only a total of 8 stitches need to be picked up), increases (YO, K1-YO-K1, K1-YO-K1-YO-K1-YO-K1, and M1-purlwise), and decreases (k2tog, ssk, k3tog, sl1-k2tog-psso). Some experience with blocking lace is ideal.