Dowland by Dee O'Keefe


April 2018
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
700 - 760 yards (640 - 695 m)
60 x 26" (162 x 66 cm), customizable to larger size
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Dowland is a top-down, half pi lace shawl which I designed to feature two classic traditional lace patterns—horseshoe and diamond laces. I named the shawl after my favorite Renaissance composer and lutenist, John Dowland. I became aware of his work when I studied classical guitar, as many of his compositions have been transcribed for that instrument. I’ve enjoyed playing his music over the years and find it very inspiring to listen to while I work and knit.

For my Dowland, I decided to try to interpret the music into a shawl design. The swirly horseshoe lace carries the main melody, with the counterpoint of the diamonds dancing around and in between the horseshoe motifs, changing size and rhythm as the song progresses. A more literal inspiration can be found in the center section diamonds, as musical notes at that point in history were diamond shaped rather than rounded as they are now.

While dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering weight, Dowland could effectively be worked in other yarn weights. Solid or tonal yarn is recommended in order to show off the design to its best advantage. The size may be easily increased up to a 66” (168 cm) wingspan by working additional repeats of Chart 8. Also included are detailed blocking instructions.

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

Here is a link to Dowland’s Complete Lute Works played by master lutenist Paul O’Dette.

Construction Notes: Dowland starts at the center back of the neck with a garter tab and is knit down to the bottom edge. There is a 3-stitch garter border at each side. All wrong-side rows are purled between the 3-stitch garter borders. The method of shaping the shawl is based on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s revolutionary pi shawl formula, where the stitches are doubled every time the row count doubles. Yarn overs are used to achieve these increases.

Yardage: For a shawl worked at the pattern size, the average amount of yarn used during test knitting was between 700-760 yards (640-695 m) of fingering weight yarn on US Size 5 (3.75 mm) needles.

Size Customization: If you would like a larger shawl, you may work up to 2 additional repeats of Chart 8, which would increase the wingspan to 66” (168 cm). Please allow approximately 50 yards (46 m) per Chart 8 repeat.

ERRATA: IN the first version of the pattern, in the written instructions only, Chart 2, Rows 5 and 7, were missing the first SM (Slip Marker) of the row, after the k3. That was corrected in the Nov. 2022 update.