Patapsco by Dee O'Keefe


December 2019
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
4 stitches = 1 inch
in garter
US 8 - 5.0 mm
US 10 - 6.0 mm
550 - 610 yards (503 - 558 m)
62 x 26" ((158 x 66 cm) for pattern size, but easily customizable (light blue shawl pictured worked with one more 24 row repeat, details below)
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Patapsco is a contemporary cable and lace shawl featuring a textured panel composed of a bold XO middle cable (also known as the hugs-and-kisses or tic-tac-toe cable) flanked by rope cables. The asymmetrical triangular shaping begins with four stitches which flow into a cable panel. An I-cord edge provides a lovely finish to the panel side. While the panel forms one edge of the shawl, the remainder of the body is filled with squishy garter stitch intersected by lines of coin lace, which echo the “O” of the main cable and add just a touch of openwork.

Patapsco would be an excellent “first cabled shawl” project for newer knitters, as the pattern is filled with detailed explanations, hints about working and blocking cables as well as helpful video links. The stitch patterns have a nice rhythm to them, are easy to memorize, and there is always something going to keep your interest. And the shawl knits up very quickly in worsted weight, so before you know it, you’ll have a warm, super textured, squishy Patapsco to call your own!

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

While dimensions and yardage are provided for worsted weight, Patapsco could effectively be worked in other yarn weights, although sport weight or heavier is recommended to show off the texture to its best advantage. The size is very easy to customize by changing the number of Chart 4 repeats; full instructions are provided, including how to calculate stitch counts for any size.

YARDAGE: My peacock blue sample pictured used 585 yards (535 m) of Knitted Wit Worsted yarn (First Frost colorway). The rose sample used 560 yards (512 m) of Hazel Knits Cadence (Daphne colorway). The yardage range of 550-610 yards (502-558 m) for the pattern size is based upon test knitter data. Most of us used between 550-585 yards (502-535 m); only one tester used over 600 yards (549 m). So for those of you who are looser knitters and have a limited amount of yarn (600 yards or less), please be sure to check your gauge ahead of time on a blocked and relaxed garter swatch and adjust your needle size according.

The light blue sample pictured was knitted at a slightly larger size: I worked one more repeat of Chart 4--eight times instead of the pattern size repeat of seven (24 more rows than the pattern size); I used 710 yards (649 m) of Gilliat De Rerum Natura in the Ciel colorway for a shawl measuring 68 x 28” (173 x 71 cm).

NEEDLE SIZE INFO: I used US 8/5.0 circular needles for the shawl and then switched to US 10/6.0 needles for the bind off.

Because the main design element of this shawl is the hugs-and-kisses/tic-tac-toe cable—I had to dedicate Patapsco to my father, Steve Stubits. When I was a kid, Dad and I played strategy games every night after dinner. He started by teaching me tic-tac-toe, then checkers, until we worked our way up to chess, his favorite. I named this shawl Patapsco because some of my most cherished childhood memories of my dad were when we made our weekly visits to Patapsco State Park and played tag together. Dad was an engineer by profession, but at heart he was an artist—both a talented photographer and wood sculptor. So this shawl’s for you, Dad! Thanks for showing me by example how important it is to cultivate one’s inner artist.