Usonian by Dee O'Keefe


December 2017
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
4.5 stitches = 1 inch
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
US 7 - 4.5 mm
620 - 680 yards (567 - 622 m)
61 x 27" (155 x 69 cm) pattern size; instructions for larger size included
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Usonian is a contemporary striped shawl with a striking combination of textured and lace stitch patterns.The asymmetrical triangular shaping begins with just a few stitches which then flow into striations of eyelets, garter bands, striped ribbing, twisted stitches on reverse stockinette and a woven ribbons lace border.

The name comes from the Usonian-style homes designed by my favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, in the latter part of his long and illustrious career. I remember being awestruck as a kid when I first saw pictures of his buildings. I admire how these modest homes were designed with beautiful, clean horizontal and vertical lines while using non-painted, natural building materials such as wood, brick, concrete and stone, all of which resulted in a uniquely modern yet organic look. When I was designing this shawl, I wanted to capture the feel of Wright’s minimalist design aesthetic as reflected in his Usonian architecture.

While dimensions and yardage are provided for fingering weight, Usonian could effectively be worked in other yarn weights. Directions for a larger shawl are included, or you may use heavier yarn worked at the pattern-size instructions to yield a larger size. Also included are detailed blocking instructions.

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

SIZE AND YARDAGE: Usonian uses between 620-680 yards (597-622 m) of fingering weight yarn in 2 different colors. Test knitted shawls used between 360-410 yards (329-375 m) of Color A (shown in brick red on the sample shawl pictures). Please note that if you are a loose knitter, you may wish to purchase a higher-yardage skein--420+ yards (384+ m)--of fingering weight yarn to use for Color A to be on the safe side. Testers used between 250-275 yards (229-252 m) of Color B (shown in gray on the sample shawl pictures). All tested shawls were knitted on US 5 (3.75 mm) needles and bound off on US 7 (4.5 mm) needles.

INSPIRATION LINKS: Here is some great info with excellent pictures featuring Wright’s most famous Usonian homes.

I was particularly inspired by the Adelman house, even though it is admittedly a bit grander than most of the other Usonian homes. The lights of the pool house reflecting on the water compelled me to put the eyelets into the design.