Triangle or Rectangle?
Should a shawl be shaped into a triangle or rectangle? That is the question.
The drapey diamond at the back of a triangle shawl is lovely for showing off a pattern. But the length of a rectangle stole is wonderful to wrap around in front, and you can knot or fling it over your shoulder for dramatic effect.
This shawl takes advantage of the modular nature of frame-loom weaving to create a V-shaped shawl which incorporates the best of both shapes!
Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool yarn is perfect for this shawl; it's quick and easy to weave, shows off the lace pattern, and has lovely drape.
If you will be using a different yarn, I recommend that you weave a sample lace square and block and wash it before proceeding. You want to be sure that your substitute yarn will open up and show off tthe lace pattern before investing a lot of weaving time.
- 6-inch square-frame loom (The loom depicted in this project is the Hazel Rose Multi-Loom, but you could also use a Weavette™ or home-made frame loom.)
- 8-inch weaving needle
- Tapestry needle
- Size C/2 (2.75mm) crochet hook (Note: I crochet very loosely, so you may need a larger hook.)
In order to make it easier to keep track of where you are in the lace pattern, I found it helpful to add row numbers to the side of the loom before beginning to weave.
Adding the row numbers is easy. Begin by wrapping the first three layers of a continuous weave. (For a step-by-step tutorial of continuous weave, see my previous article, Recycled Plastic-Bag Weaving.)
Note: The reason that you wrap the yarn on before marking the yarn, is that you will be marking the loops of yarn, not the pegs.
Then use a pencil or Ultra Fine Point Sharpie to mark the loom as follows:
- Mark the odd rows on the right side of the loom. In the picture below you can see the numbered loops of yarn.
- Mark the even rows on the left side of the loom.
Note: The Hazel Rose Multi-loom (shown) has a little brass button to indicate the bottom left-hand corner.
When you are done, the rows should be numbered from bottom to top (beginning with Row 2), as you look down at the loom.
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool, 65% Wool / 35% Silk, 175 m/50 grams, 5 skeins.
Weaving the Plain-Weave Squares
Weave 22 squares in plain weave.
Leave a generous 12-inches tail of yarn at the beginning of each square and measure out a length that will wrap 6-3/4 times L around the perimeter of loom for the final needlewoven layer. The extra yarn at beginning and end of the woven squares will be used to seam them together, so do not weave those yarn tails in at this stage.
Note: If you are weaving on a frame loom for the first time, you can follow the directions that came with the loom, or the tutorial in my previous article, Recycled Plastic-Bag Weaving. I'd recommend weaving a few practice squares in sport- or DK-weight wool before beginning with your project yarn. Weaving on a frame loom is easy, but there's a learning curve!
Weaving the Lace Squares
Weave 23 lace squares.
- Wrap three continuous warp layers as you would if you were going to weave a plain-weave square.
- Needleweave the fourth layer as follows:
Rows 6 & 7
|:||Plain Weave 9; (Over 5, Under 1) x 4; Over 5; Plain Weave 9|
|:||(Repeat Rows 6-8) x 4|
Note: On frame looms, the needle goes over the loop of yarn that's outside the pins, but that thread is never included in the pattern-thread counts.
Each of the squares in the diagram below represents an intersection where the weft passes either over or under the warp.
Note: Loops outside the pins are not shown in the grid. The needle always goes over these outside loops.
The light gray squares indicate, on the rows that you do not weave, places where where the weft (from the second wrap layer) crosses over the warp. These unnumbered rows appear automatically as you weave the numbered rows.
White indicates where the weft goes under a warp thread.
Dark indicates where the weft goes over a warp thread.
Assembling the Shawl
Lay the squares out in the pattern shown below, with each one having the same orientation.
Having all the squares facing the same direction as they were woven is helps ensure easy and neat seaming. The little loops along each edge should fit together like a puzzle. You can recognize how to line up the squares by looking at the corners; there will be yarn tails available at two of the corners of each square.
With a yarn needle and a yarn tail, sew an overcast seam through loops of adjacent squares. Don't pull too tight or the seam will pucker!
I like to sew all of the rows, then all of the columns, leaving the yarn ends to weave in at the very end. It makes the join where four corners meet neater, and helps me keep the overall pattern organized with squares in the correct orientation.
Check all of the corners where four squares come together, looking on both sides of the shawl. Sometimes you'll need to take an extra stitch or two at the corner to make the seam look smooth and complete.
Adding the Crocheted Edging
After seaming the squares and weaving in the yarn tails on the interior squares, it's time to add a simple crocheted edging. This adds stability to the woven edges and creates a bit of additional interest, without detracting from the woven lace.
With a crochet hook and a separate ball of the yarn, join at any edge loop with a slip stitch and then slip stitch through each loop around perimeter of shawl. As with the seams, be careful not to pull too tight, which will result in puckers.
At the outer corners, make one slip stitch, chain one, slip stitch again in the same space.
At the inner neck corner, draw up a loop in three adjacent stitches before finishing slip stitch.
When you reach the beginning of slip stitch round, join with a slip stitch, chain 4 and turn. *Skip one stitch, double crochet in next stitch and repeat from *.
At outer corners, add extra 2 or 3 repeats in one space.
At the neckline inner corner, make a double crochet decrease over three stitches to reinforce the corner.
Wet-Finishing the Shawl
This shawl requires a vigorous hand washing to open up the lace "windows."
I use dish detergent and hot water in the kitchen sink. Rinse well. Squeeze out as much water as possible without wringing or stretching the fabric. Then lay out a large towel and arrange the damp shawl along its length. Roll up the towel with shawl inside and walk on it to get as much of the moisture out as possible.
Unwrap the shawl and lay it flat on a bed or rug to dry. You are done!
Jana Trent lives in Colleyville, Texas, where she messes around with yarn and tools that use yarn. She shares her yarn space with her husband and three dogs and is teaching her grandsons that yarn is not a girly thing. Jana maintains an informational website about handheld looms—eLoomaNation—as well as the eLoomanator blog.
Model: Chel Tangora Lynn
Photography: David Lynn and Jana Trent