Keriah's Pyrennees Shawl by Camy Tang

Keriah's Pyrennees Shawl

Knitting
March 2021
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
5.76 stitches and 10 rows = 1 inch
in 36-stitch lace pattern
US 2 - 2.75 mm
2541 - 2772 yards (2323 - 2535 m)
42” wide, 79” long
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This pattern is available for free.

This shawl was originally published as #63 Pyrennees Square Shawl (Alice-Maud stitch with Spider-Net border) in The Lady’s Assistant in Knitting, Netting and Crochet Work, vol. 3, by Mrs. Jane Gaugain, published in 1857, pages 171 - 211. A scanned copy of the original antique book is available as a free PDF download from Archive.org.

However, I have made major changes to the original pattern. My gauge swatch indicated that if I knit this as written, it would likely be seven feet wide (or larger), which is more like a bedspread than a modern shawl. So I decided to alter the number of pattern and row repeats to make this more like a typical modern shawl. I also charted the instructions and adjusted the stitches a little to make it easier to read the chart (see notes section in the pattern). I also corrected a few errors in the printed pattern.

The original pattern likely used laceweight yarn, but I used fingering weight yarn for a warmer shawl.

Why I knit this shawl:
I wanted to knit the sunset-colored shawl Keriah was wearing in chapter 5 of my book, Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 2: Berserker, so I looked for an antique pattern that might have been used during the Regency era. This one caught my eye, even though it was published in a knitting book a few decades later than the Regency era. The Spider-Net border pattern was most definitely in use in the Regency period, but it’s also remotely possible that the Alice-Maud stitch and the lacy border stitch patterns were also in use during the Regency, being passed on from knitter to knitter via hand-written receipts, by verbal instruction, or with knitted sampler squares (like how many Shetland lace patterns and Bavarian cable patterns were shared). My/Keriah’s version of this shawl would have been lacy but warm because it is knit with fingering yarn on small needles. Since Keriah was cold, I think she would have grabbed this shawl rather than something more elegant and airy.