Flagstaff by Dee O'Keefe


November 2020
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
750 - 800 yards (686 - 732 m)
74 x 34" (188 x 86 cm) but easily customizable
Flag of English English
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Flagstaff is a top-down triangular shawl featuring the beautiful octagonal motif known as the selburose, which resembles a rose or a star. Early versions of this iconic design may be found in Sumerian mosaics, Byzantine art and early European textiles. The modern selburose, which was popularized in Selbu, Norway, in the mid-19th century, has adorned about a zillion stranded colorwork sweaters, mittens, socks and hats ever since, often in combination with various geometric and winter-themed patterns.

Flagstaff is my interpretation in lace of these classic Nordic designs. I surrounded my big and bold lace selburose motifs with two sizes of pine trees and hints of mountain ranges; the variety of stitch patterns makes for an engaging and fun knit as you work your way through an alpine forest of lace.

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

Throughout the pattern, I incorporated a technique used in Arctic knitting which tightens up the yarn overs and makes a very crisp line between those yarn overs and the surrounding stockinette stitch. Whenever a yarn over is worked, the knit stitch which is worked directly over top of that yarn over on the next right-side row is knitted through the back loop. This twists the wrong-side row purl stitch that was worked into the yarn over. You will be amazed at how neat and beautiful your yarn overs look!

While dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering weight, Flagstaff could effectively be worked in lace or sport weight as well. Solid or tonal yarn made of natural fibers is recommended for best results. The size may be easily customized by changing the number of Chart 1 repeats; full instructions are provided, including how to calculate stitch counts for any size. Also included are detailed blocking instructions and helpful video links that show all the techniques required to knit a beautiful Flagstaff.

Yardage: The yardage range is determined by averaging test knitter yardage data as well as that of my own samples. Most of us used between 750-790 yards (686-723 m) when knitting close to gauge (one tester went down one needle size to do so). So for those of you who are looser knitters and/or have a limited amount of yarn, be sure to check your gauge ahead of time on a blocked stockinette swatch and adjust your needle size accordingly.

Construction: Flagstaff starts at the center back of the neck and is knit down to the bottom edge. There is a two-stitch garter border at the beginning and end of every row. A single center stitch separates each half of the shawl. Four make-one increases—adjacent to the garter borders and center stitch—shape the triangle on the right-side rows. All wrong-side rows are purled between the two-stitch garter borders.

Sample Shawl Yarn Info and Sizes: All thee samples measure around 74” x 34” (188 x 86 cm). The gold sample was knitted with Black Sheep Dyeworks Sock Weight 4 Ply Superwash Merino in the Honey Mustard colorway; it used 770 yards (704 m). The light gray sample was knitted with Hazel Knits Entice MCN in the Reflection colorway; it used 765 yards (700 m).

Bind-Off Edge: Note that both samples used the same stretchy lace bind off, but it was worked a bit more loosely on the gold shawl. hence the slightly deeper scallops.

Heartfelt thanks to my great friend and test knitter Paula Feldmann, who knitted the fabulous gold sample pictured here and featured on the pattern.

For knitters who use the fabulous KnitCompanion app, this pattern is available at the kCDesigns store, already set up and ready for you to knit!