Kassiani by Dee O'Keefe


July 2017
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
690 - 750 yards (631 - 686 m)
60 x 26" (152 x 66 cm), but some customization possible
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Kassiani is a top-down, half pi shawl which I designed as a relaxing and rhythmic knit, great for experienced lace knitters to enjoy as social or TV knitting or for newer lace knitters who are ready to tackle a full-sized shawl. Knitting Kassiani is like working a sampler of harmonious and fun-to-knit lace patterns from around the world—diagonal Madeira lace from Spain, Shetland cat’s paw eyelets, Estonian diamonds and Italian mesh lace—all of which flow into a dramatic scalloped edge.

While dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering weight, Kassiani 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. Also included are detailed blocking instructions.

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

I named the shawl after the 9th century Byzantine composer, poetess and abbess Kassiani, also known as St. Kassia. I’ve listened to and played medieval music for years, but I just discovered her very recently. Kassiani was one of the earliest medieval composers whose scores still exist, and she is also considered the first woman composer. So few women throughout history have been properly credited as composers or artists, which may be why she is not more well known. When I discovered Kassiani, I knew I had to name my next design in her honor as a means of exposing others to her amazing talent. Here is a link to Kassiani’s music.

Kassiani is also included in the Lace Shawl Design: The Half Pi book.

Construction Notes: Kassiani 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. 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. All increase rows are marked as such on the pattern.

Yardage: For a shawl worked at the pattern size, the average amount of yarn used during test knitting was between 690-750 yards (631-686 m) of fingering weight on US #5 (3.75 mm needles). So in most cases, 2 average-sized skeins of fingering/sock weigh yarn should be more sufficient.

Size Customization: If you prefer a slightly smaller shawl, you may work one repeat of Chart 5 rather than two. This would result in the shawl measuring approximately 54 x 24” (137 x 61 cm) and would use about 600 yards (549 m). If you would like a larger shawl, using a heavier weight yarn is suggested, although keep in mind that more yarn will be required than when worked in fingering weight. Working additional repeats of the final Estonian diamond lace section to increase the size is not recommended, since having that many rows of that could overwhelm the rest of the design.