Bensusan by Dee O'Keefe


November 2021
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
4 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 8 - 5.0 mm
US 9 - 5.5 mm
600 - 790 yards (549 - 722 m)
2 sizes: 65 x 28" (165 x 71 cm) medium and 74 x 32” (188 x 81 cm) large; easy to customize further
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Bensusan is a contemporary cable and lace shawl that combines graceful cables, twists, stockinette and garter stitch with thoughtful design details such as I-cord and slipped stitch edgings. An elegant, wide panel features a unique lace cable with little pillars of textured lace that intertwine with the cable strands. Smooth stockinette bands alternating with stripes of mirrored twists fill up the body of the shawl. Bensusan is very intuitive to knit and surprisingly easy to memorize—to the point where you won’t even have to look at the charts very often once the pattern becomes established!

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

While dimensions and yardage are provided for worsted weight, Bensusan could effectively be worked in other yarn weights. A solid or tonal yarn is highly recommended to showcase the intricacy of the panel design.

Bensusan is offered in two sizes—medium (pictured in sage) and large (pictured in rust), but instructions are included should you wish to customize the size either larger or smaller.

YARDAGE: The yardage range is 600-650 yards (549-594 m) for the medium size and 740-790 yards (677-722 m) for the large size. These ranges are determined by averaging test knitter data. For those of you who are looser knitters and have a limited amount of yarn, please be sure to check your gauge ahead of time on a blocked and relaxed garter swatch and adjust your needle size according.

SAMPLE SHAWL INFO: The medium size sample shawl was knitted with Berroco Ultra Wool in the Sage colorway. The large size samples were knitted with Hazel Knits Cadence in the Penny Loafer colorway (rust) and Elsabeth Lavold Silky Wool Aran in the Cerulean colorway (blue).

NEEDLE SIZE INFO: I used US 8/5.0 circular needles for the shawl and then switched to US 9/5.5 needles for the bind off.

INSPIRATION: I named the shawl Bensusan after a beautiful piece of music by one of my favorite acoustic guitarists, Michael Hedges. I was listening to music for inspiration while designing the shawl when the song “Bensusan” came up in my acoustic guitar playlist. The rise and fall of the melody made me think of spiraling cable strands, so I decided to feature lacy cables to capture the flow and delicacy of the composition. Links to the song “Bensusan” and other amazing guitar music by Hedges are included on the pattern. If you’d like to have a listen right now, here is a link to his stunning Aerial Boundaries album.“ Bensusan” is the 2nd cut.

Special thanks to my talented friend Paula Feldmann, who turns everything she knits into magic. She was kind enough to knit the two large samples for me, and I am very grateful for that and everything else she does to help me in my design endeavors.