Wakakusa by Jeanne Long


September 2017
Lace ?
23 stitches and 32 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette, after blocking
US 4 - 3.5 mm
750 - 1150 yards (686 - 1052 m)
Stole 15" x 68", Wrap 21" x 76"
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Wakakusa (若草) translates from Japanese as young grasses, wildflowers, or herbs. In Japanese poetry, it is associated with the spring season and evokes the feeling of soft sunlight and a light breeze rustling new growth; it also is a poetic epithet for wife. The term famously appears in The Tale of Genji, where it alludes to a future bride, and in a work by Kunaikyo, whose poem referencing it is so beloved that she is known as Kunaikyo of the Young Grasses.

Our Wakakusa is a lace stole in two sizes, worked on the long edge in one piece. The primary motif is reminiscent of newly sprouted leaves of grass, while the outer border references the delicate seeds and shoots of wildflowers and herbs.

The design grows elegantly and organically in Why Knot Fibers’ Savor, a Merino lace-weight yarn with just a hint of bounce to evoke the fresh life of young green things in the sunshine. Inspired by the delicate beauty of the year’s first growth, Wakakusa represents the cheer and light of the season of renewal.

Yarn: Why Knot Fibers’ Savor, a very aptly named Merino lace, in the delicately tonal Wasabi colorway. The stole can be worked in 1 skein, or approximately 750 yards of lace weight yarn; the larger wrap can be worked in 2 skeins, or approximately 1150 yards of lace-weight yarn.

Gauge: 23 s. and 32 r. to 4” (10 cm), knit flat in stockinette stitch and blocked.

Notions: Four stitch markers and a tapestry needle. The markers aren’t strictly necessary, but I find having a few of them can make it easier to keep track of the pattern when working on the long edge.

Techniques: Knit, purl, yarn over, knit two together, purl two together, slip-slip-knit, slip-slip-purl, and slip one/knit two together/pass the slipped stitch over. One motif of the body requires working a yarn over and a decrease on the wrong-side rows.

Instructions: Wakakusa includes both charted and fully written-out instructions.

Modifications: Wakakusa can be modified on the long edge in 40-stitch increments and modified on the short edge in 38-row increments.

As Modeled: The modeled Wakakusa is a modified Wrap, worked to the width of the Wrap but the shorter length of the Stole (21” x 68”), in 104 grams of Savor.