Sprite's Fen Shawl by Helen Stewart

Sprite's Fen Shawl

Lace ?
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 6 - 4.0 mm
one size
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This pattern is part of the second Shawl Society eBook - you can buy the collection here: The Shawl Society 2

Ethereal. Enchanting. Unexpected.
Blithe, wise, and sparkling with vitality, sprites play with the power of elemental forces. Their task is to animate nature, to take lifeless matter and breathe joy into it. They watch over the forests of earth, dance on the winds and sing through fire, but the most famous sprites of all are the water sprites. Some rule the oceans as sirens, others frolick in fresh water springs and pools as naiads and nymphs, but a few choose quieter waters, making their homes in shallow marshes and fens.

The idea of an animating spirit taking up housekeeping in a peaceful wetland is not as strange as it may seem. Beneath the surface, these are rich, fertile, often-overlooked scraps of wilderness. The Sprite’s Fen Shawl honours the breath of life that runs through the apparently calm waters of a fen. A generous semi-circular shape, it is rich with texture and interest. Garter ripples and streams of eyelet bubbles alternate with the gentle waves of of a beautiful, deceptively simple lace stitch. The pattern is written to work with fingering-weight or lace-weight yarn, giving you plenty of options for a lovely, lightweight summer shawl. Choose a lovely gradient to reflect the shifting shades of water under light, or go with a rich solid to call the mind the still waters which run deep beneath the water lilies. With a sprite’s passion for colour and beauty, it’s hard to go wrong.

Guarded by a loving sprite, a fen works its magic as a place of safety and refreshment for small living things. It is a nesting spot, where new life can dabble in the shallow water and the shelter of reeds. It is also where water, tainted by its travels through the mundane world, is filtered and cleansed by an intricate lacework of roots. There is a thrill to be found in this quiet alchemy, something we discover again with each new project we attempt. A fistful of yarn becomes a treasured object. A grey afternoon becomes a cherished interval of stitching and dreaming. As knitters and makers, we know the sprite’s joy in taking something that is purely potential and transforming it into something full of life and love.

One size (Samples were knit in lace weight and fingering weight yarns, producing different finished measurements.)

Finished Measurements
Lace weight
Approximately 117cm (46”) across top edge
56cm (22”) neck to bottom edge

Fingering weight
Approximately 127cm (50”) across top edge
64cm (25”) neck to bottom edge

Lace weight
Julie Asselin Merletto 75% Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk; 732m/800yds per 115g skein,
1 x 115g skein,
Colourway: Birch

100g of lace weight yarn totaling approximately 640m/700yd (actual yarn used)

Fingering weight
Seven Sisters Arts Matrika
Fingering 80% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk; 365m/400yds per 100g skein,
Varigradient set: 3 x 100g skeins,
Colourway: Water Garden

210g of fingering weight yarn totaling approximately 770m/840yds (actual yarn used)

Lace weight
3.75mm (US 5), 80/100cm (32/40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Fingering weight
4mm (US 6), 80/100cm (32/40”) long circular needles (or size to obtain gauge)

Tapestry needle
Medium safety pin

Lace weight
22 sts/38 rows = 10cm (4”) in garter stitch after blocking

Fingering weight
19 sts/32 rows = 10cm (4”) in garter stitch after blocking