A note from Kathleen: I love this blog about knitting a gorgeous shawl based on the Old Shale lace pattern. Old Shale is a classic that's perfect for beginning lace knitters, and designer Meghan Bosanko used it to make her lovely beaded shrug.

She used Cascade Ultra Pima in her version, which we don't carry anymore. Any DK-weight yarn will work though—may I suggest Tosh DK in Lepidoptra? It's a lovely variegation of purplish reds and blues. 

Or the super-popular Bamboo Pop would be perfect, and we have a bunch of gorgeous colors!

Download Meghan's Cristaria FREE shrug pattern, and read on for her wonderful tutorial about how this shrug works. 

The Cristaria Shrug Tutorial

Named for a pearl mussel that produces freshwater pearls, the Cristaria shrug is a quick, pretty knit shrug that complements formal summer ensembles or casual looks alike. Add beads or pearls for a piece that is truly your own!

Materials:

  • 100 g DK yarn
  • US 10 circular needles, 20˝ or longer
  • About 25 freshwater pearls (optional)
  • About 25 head pins (optional)
Stitch abbreviations:
  • yo— yarn over
  • k2tog— knit 2 stitches together
Directions &  Hints: Cast on 108 stitches, leaving at least a 12˝ tail. This will seem longer than it needs to be, but don’t fret! Take a look at the picture to the right. Imagine taking your straight cast-on edge and bending it into the wavy bottom edge of the shrug. That’s why your finished piece won’t be anywhere near as wide as it seems now.
  • Row 1: knit across
  • Row 2: purl across
Here comes the exciting part: the lace row. This sequence of increases and decreases is what turns a fairly ordinary stitch pattern into something visually interesting (and, in this case, wavy!). During each repeat, you are going to decrease a total of 6 times (the k2tog stitches) and increase a total of 6 times (the yarn overs). So, even though you’re subtracting stitches in some places and adding them in others, your total stitch count at the end of each row should always be the same (108, to be precise).
  • Row 3: k2tog 3 times, *k1, yo* 6 times, k2tog 3 times. Place stitch marker. Repeat across row 5 more times.
Phew! Take a step back and congratulate yourself— you just finished the tricky part and I bet it looks like a rat’s nest, doesn’t it? Just remember: you’re taking a wavy row and straightening it out onto your needle, so it really should look a bit confused.
  • Row 4: knit across

And that’s really all there is to it! You’ll repeat those 4 rows about 14 more times, depending on how big around you’d like your armholes. To finish, bind off and break yarn, leaving at least a 12˝ tail.

 

Don't panic when your work-in-progress looks bunchy!

Diving in Deeper: The lace row sure does have a lot of counting— wouldn’t it be a lot easier to use more markers? A tempting proposition, no? Normally, I prefer to use markers like big red flags to remind me when it’s time to change stitches. In this pattern, though, the markers are smack dab in the middle of a bunch of k2togs!

There is method to my madness (well, this time, at least…). This is an atypical lace pattern in that the increases are all bundled together and the decreases are all bundled together. A more regular (rectangular) pattern usually peppers them across the row in pairs. Because of this, if you plunk down markers willy-nilly, they will actually migrate across the row and mess you up!

So, the short answer is that markers are only useful to a point on this pattern. Think of them more as error correction tools— if you end up with anything other than 18 stitches between markers, you know something has gone wrong in that section. The “short answer?” That didn’t seem very short at all. Out of morbid curiosity, what was the long answer? Plate tectonics!

Excuse me? No, really! The stitch markers show you the center of a double-sided stitch “subduction” zone— basically a stitch gobbler. It’s like the stitch markers are hovering over very aggressive black holes that pull stitches in and make them disappear.

Conversely, in the middle of each increase section (right after the 3rd yarn over, to be precise) is a “mid-ocean ridge” of stitches—a place where new stitches bubble up to the surface and spread out. If you placed a stitch marker at each of these spots, you could imagine them hovering over tiny stitch factories, creating new stitches and pumping them outward. The whole row would look something like this: 

 

Which, to me, looks a whole lot like this: 

 

Wow, this is really getting out of hand. Anything else you’ve been dying to get off your chest? Well, since you asked… The idea for how and where to use stitch markers (as a way to catch and isolate mistakes instead of to tell you when to change stitches) came from the mathematical basis for error-correcting code. Also, the function y(x) = 2.5 cos (2π x/13), with x and y in centimeters, describes each row of this pattern. Whee!

Finishing: String a single freshwater pearl onto each of about 25 head pins. Trim pin ends and bend into loops. Attach pins at the bottom of the soft U-shaped rows of the center 3 columns of stitches (see picture), or use whatever arrangement strikes your fancy.

Use reserved yarn tails to attach corners of finished piece to create armholes. Weave in ends and trim. Now throw it over a sundress and go put Audrey Hepburn to shame.

 

Ready to turn your screen off and start knitting? Download Cristaria Shrug tutorial for a printable version of this post, or Download Cristaria Shrug pattern for a no-nonsense, 1-page printable pattern.

XOXOXOXO, Meg :)

This shrug was knitted with Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima in Heathered Pansy #3705.
© 2011 Meghan Bosanko

Kathleen Cubley
Kathleen Cubley



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