Monier's Flowerpot by Shaina Bilow

Monier's Flowerpot

Knitting
May 2015
Light Fingering ?
20 stitches and 30 rows = 4 inches
in Stockinette stitch, unblocked
US 6 - 4.0 mm
900 yards (823 m)
One size - 20" x 66"
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Experience Level: Intermediate

A French gardener dissatisfied with the materials available for making flowerpots, Joseph Monier began experimenting with concrete and became a principal inventor of reinforced concrete in the late 1860’s. The symbolism of naming this shawl for Monier is twofold: not only do the colors of the yarn evoke images of beds of French Lavender in huge gardens built of concrete pots, the yarn I used, Sylph from Jade Sapphire, is a combination of two fibers that remind me of Monier’s materials. Cashmere is pliable and yielding. Similarly, concrete is easily poured and shaped. However, concrete lacks the tensile strength to build stable structures. Linen is strong, rigid, and built of long fibers, much like the tensile steel rods used to reinforce concrete. The combination of the two materials creates a strong structure that can be shaped easily. The combination of linen and cashmere creates a fabulously soft fabric with incredible drape. One fiber supports the other; one building material supports the other.

Wear your shawl as you stroll through the lavender fields on a chilly morning, or wrap it around your neck as a scarf to wear in the cafes of Paris.

Construction Details
This shawl begins with a central rectangle. Once the rectangle is complete, stitches are picked up around all four edges and the remainder of the shawl is worked in the round to the outer edge. The long sides of the shawl are worked in stockinette stitch (knitting in the round) and the shorter sides are worked in reverse stockinette stitch (purling in the round). The short and long sides are separated by corner increase lines, accentuated with yarn overs. These increase lines are made by working a unique double increase in each corner every other round.

Techniques Necessary

  • Provisional cast on
  • Knit
  • Purl
  • Picking up stitches
  • Yarn over
  • Bind off

Finished measurements: 20” x 66”

Yarn: 300 yards each of 3 colors in Laceweight CYCA #0.
Yarn used in sample is Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibers “Sylph” 1 skein each of Rustle #S5, Hush #S4, Lavender Lace #S22

Gauge: 20 stitches and 30 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch before blocking
17 stitches and 34 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch after blocking

Needles: US 6 (4mm) circular knitting needles 40” and 60” length. Adjust needle size as necessary to obtain gauge.

Other materials: laceweight or fingering weight scrap yarn and D-3 (3.25mm) crochet hook for provisional cast on, 5 stitch markers (one of a distinguishing color or style), row counter, and tapestry needle

Additional Notes:
I asked my husband (a really hunky architect) to help me figure out what to name this shawl. I told him what I was looking for – a name that spoke to the architectural look of this shawl (I think I used the word concrete) but also gave a nod to its softness. He immediately said “Joseph Monier” and I think you’ll agree that Matt’s done well naming this shawl! Thanks, Matt!