Quintessence Shawl by Hayley Tsang Sather

Quintessence Shawl

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Join our February 2023 Quintessence KAL on our enVision group!

Session/Chart B Row 5: ignore the tiny red 5 next to the nupps symbol

Section J Chart: Stitch count for row 19A should be 523 and row 21A 527. If you are knitting from chart, the repeat box is knitted 18 instead of 17 times.

Quintessence Shawl is a crescent-shape shawl using three complementary yarns – one slightly variegated and two semi solid. Two of the three yarns (usually the variegated with one of the semi-solid colors) need to work well together for the brioche section. Hopefully the design of Quintessence lives up to the definition of its name: the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.

Quintessence is the fourth (after Affinity, Nephthys, and Protea) original design of Hayley’s that utilizes her love for juxtaposition by combining solid fabric with lace and other interesting stitches – brioche stitch, Indian cross stitch, Japanese stitch, Vikkel braid, cables, and nupps. Quintessence uses approximately 725 yards / 663 meters of three fingering-weight yarns; please see test knit details on page 3 of the pattern for more information. Quintessence may be knitted with or without beads. The approximate yardage for each color and number of beads used for applicable sections are listed below and on page 2 of the pattern.

Note: If you are new to brioche stitch and are not comfortable with the more complicated brioche design, there is a plain-brioche alternative provided in the pattern!

Skill Level
Intermediate. Row-by-row written instruction for part of the pattern and charts only for the lace sections.

Gauge isn’t important but will determine the final size of the shawl.

One size, but options to add more rows if electing to knit the plain brioche stitch for the brioche sections.

Three fingering-weight yarns. Test knit samples with fingering-weight yarns used approximately 350 yards / 320 meters for Colors A and B and 75 yards / 68 meters for Color C following the pattern’s color designation exactly. If you are a loose knitter and/or change up the colors, your usage will be different. Please plan accordingly.

Finished dimensions may be adjusted by using a heavier-weight yarn and/or larger needles. Note that your yardage will increase in any of these scenarios.

Test knitters’ finished shawls vary in size especially width wise (see page 3 of the pattern for details). If you prefer a larger/wider shawl, choose yarns with some silk content and block aggressively. Pure-wool yarns do not hold the block and spring back smaller. Note: yarns with high cashmere content should never be blocked aggressively.

Tips on assigning main color and contrasting color for the brioche sections: Knitting a Brioche Swatch (page 7 of the pattern) will help you decide which side of the brioche stitch you prefer and setting that color as the main color (Color A) and assigning a contrasting color (Color B). These do not need to be the original Colors A and B but a two-color combination of your three yarns.

Circular needles in size US4 / 3.5mm or US5 / 3.75mm (depending on your yarn and knitting tension), and US2.5 / 3.0mm (US3 / 3.25mm if you don’t have US2.5 / 3.0mm) for the brioche sections, cable needle, crochet hook, stitch markers, removable marker, blunt tapestry needle, T-pins, and dressmaker pins, and mat (optional).

Size 6 rounds or size 5 triangles for fingering weight. Bead all or just some of these sections.

Section B 46 beads with 36 on Vikkel Braid
Section C 76 beads (+ optional 41 beads)
Section D 17 beads
Section E 4 beads
Section F 85 beads
Total 224 beads

I want to thank my test knitters – Jennifer, Karen, Kathy, Lynne, Marcy, Monika, and Trang – for all their help and support through the years!