Tristano by Dee O'Keefe


November 2013
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
5 stitches = 1 inch
in Stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 8 - 5.0 mm
510 - 560 yards (466 - 512 m)
59" x 27" in fingering weight; 64" x 30" in sport weight (see below for sport weight yardage), but the size is easily customizable
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Tristano is a bottom-up, triangular lace shawl with a fancy faux cable spine and subtly textured stitch patterns. The shawl begins with an open mesh followed by a stunning swirled border. The body consists of delicate leaves that appear to be in free fall due to the placement of the decreases.

Instructions are provided for two sizes: a 59” x 27” shawl worked in fingering weight and a 64” x 30” shawl worked in sport weight. The sport weight version worked at the pattern size used between 580-630 yards.

The light gray shawl pictured is worked in sock/fingering weight and the orange shawl pictured is worked in sport weight. I used US 5s (US 8s for the cast on) for the fingering version and US 6 (US 9s for the cast on) needles for the sport weight version.

While dimensions and yardage are provided for both sport and fingering weight yarn, Tristano is designed so that it can be worked in just about any yarn weight. The size is very easy to customize either by using different yarn, changing the number of pattern repeats of the body leaf pattern, or both. Full instructions are provided, including how to calculate stitch counts for any size.

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

Construction Notes: Tristano starts at the bottom edge with a bunch of stitches cast on and is knit up to the center back of the neck, ending with a one-stitch bind-off. On the body, patterning is done on the right-side rows only, with all wrong-side rows being purled between the eyelet cable spine and borders. The border is patterned on both sides on most rows.

The design is named after my favorite song that I played used to play on the Celtic harp, which was “Lamento di Tristano,” a haunting Italian lament written in honor of the knight Tristan of Cornwall. His famously tragic love story with Isolde inspired the design elements in this shawl. According to legend, a hazel tree and a honeysuckle grew out of their adjacent graves. The tree and the bush intertwined their branches so that the lovers could never be parted. And so the swirly curves of the Tristano border resemble the tendrils of honeysuckle vines as they wrapped around the tree branches and the leaf motifs of the shawl body are reminiscent of the rounded leaves of the hazel tree.