Knittyspin: you like yarn, so make yarn
Lisa Souza Dyeworks
beauty shot


Nature is both destructive and creative. When my home town of Christchurch, New Zealand was struck by a series of devastating earthquakes beginning September 4th 2010, the entire CBD was cordoned off from public access as the many damaged and collapsed buildings were demolished or repaired. Large swaths of residential Christchurch were left ruined and uninhabitable, forcing people from their beloved riverside houses and gardens to more seismically stable ground.

As we all struggled to work through the extraordinary shock that nature had unleashed upon us, it occurred to me that nature would also provide the first pioneer of those demolished building sites, collapsed buildings and abandoned houses; in the form of weeds.

Never before in my life has a weed been so welcome. In a matter of weeks weeds began to populate once well kept streetscapes in all their prolific glory and abandon. This lace shawl celebrates the raw beauty of nature, both destructive and creative, in the form of the weed. Wrap it around you and contemplate your relationship with the natural world, and whatever experiences it serves up to you.

In this shawl I use Estonian lace stitches to depict weeds re-populating the urban landscape, tentatively at first with a Creeping Vine, and then transforming with prolific abandon into the Riotous Vine. Finally, the edge of the shawl depicts what I consider to be the Crowning Glory of all weeds -- the thistle!

spacer model: Jess Hollis
spacer photos: Matthew Carr
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Length at centre back: 35 inches
Width: 85 inches


Purple Handspun Shawl
(shown above)
spacer Treetops merino top; maroon-purple; Colourway: Jamberry; 4.23 ounces, (120 gms)

Finished Yarn:
spacer Wraps per inch: 32
spacer Ply: 2
spacer Yardage used: 984 yards/900 metres approx.
spacer Drafting Method: Worsted


Spinning Tool: Ashford traditional (scotch tension)

Commercial Yarn Alternative
(shown below)
spacer Kia Ora Kiwi Laceweight, by Zealana [40% New Zealand Merino, 30% Organic Cotton, 30% Possum; 217yd/199m per 40 gm ball]; Colour: Fern (07); 5 balls

Note: While Kia Ora Kiwi Laceweight is labelled 'Laceweight', it is on the heavier end of laceweight yarn. If you wish to substitute yarns, a 3-ply yarn or other laceweight would be a suitable substitute, but may produce a shawl with slightly smaller or larger dimensions. Knit a swatch to determine preferred gauge and needle size.

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer One US5 /3.75 mm circular needle

spacer yarn needle
spacer Rust proof pins or blocking wires



22 sts/34 rows = 4 inches in stockinette stitch, after blocking
24 sts/32 rows = 4 inches in pattern stitch, after blocking

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

The motifs in this shawl were inspired by stitch patterns from Knitted Lace of Estonia, Techniques, Patterns and Traditions, by Nancy Bush (2008). The Riotous Vine chart is derived from Hagakiri 2, and the Creeping Vine chart is a modification of that. The Crowning Glory chart is a modification of two edge stitches and some fortuitous mistakes.

If you wish to use stitch markers to identify the beginning and end of blocks of repeating pattern, and it is recommended that you do, please note these markers will need to move on some rows when working decreases.

You can make a smaller (or larger) shawl by NOT knitting chart 2a and 2b (Creeping Vine Transition) and 3a and 3b (Creeping Vine Right and Left) a second time through. Instead, work row 73, the transitional row to chart 4a and 4b (Riotous Vine Left and Right). For a larger shawl, repeat charts 2a and 2b a third time, charts 3a and 3b a third time, then work transitional row 73 followed by chart 4a and 4b.

Nupps (optional): 7 stitch nupps are used in this shawl. You could alternately use 5 or 9 stitch nupps depending on the yarn you choose. This shawl is labelled piquant simply due to the addition of nupps, if you find nupps too challenging, simply omit them altogether and treat the nupp stitch as a regular knit stitch. Knitting should be fun, not frustrating!

7 stitch nupp: Working very loosely, working into the next stitch as follows: (k1, yo) 3 times, k1 once more. 1 st is increased to 7 sts. On the returning WS purl row, purl all 7 sts together. To successfully purl the nupp sts together they must be knit loosely on the preceding knit row.

Working from the charts and pattern repeats:
The shawl begins with a small knitted tab, and grows outward from the centre of the neck edge. The left side of the shawl is a mirror image of the right side.

The charts for this pattern are very large. Each fits on a letter-sized page.
Click below and print each resulting page.

1a | 1b |2a & 2b | 3a & 3b | 4a | 4b | 5a | 5b

Garter Tab
Cast on 2 sts. Knit 6 rows.

Next row [RS]: K2, pick up and knit 3 sts in the garter ridges along the side of the tab; pick up and knit 2 sts in the cast on edge. 7 sts.

Shawl Body:
Creeping Vine Startup
Row 1 [RS]: K2, yo, k1, yo, pm, k1, pm, yo, k1, yo, k2. 11 sts.
Rows 2, 4, 6, 8 [WS]: K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 3 [RS]: K2, yo, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, yo, k2. 15 sts.
Row 5 [RS]: K2, yo, k5, yo, k1, yo, k5, yo, k2. 19 sts.
Row 7 [RS]: K2, yo, k7, yo, k1, yo k7, yo, k2. 23 sts.

Body of Shawl
Row 1 [RS]: K2, yo, work Chart 1a across to center st, yo, k1, yo, work Chart 1b across to last 2 sts, yo, k2.
Row 2 [WS]: K2, p to last 2 sts, k2.

Work as set until Charts 1a and 1b are complete. 103 sts.

Next row [RS]: K2, yo, work Chart 2a across to center st (working Pattern Repeat once), yo, k1, yo, work Chart 2b across to last 2 sts (working Pattern Repeat once), yo, k2.

Work as set until Charts 2a and 2b are complete. 127 sts.

Next row [RS]: K2, yo, work Chart 3a across to center st (working Pattern Repeat twice), yo, k1, yo, work Chart 3b across to last 2 sts (working Pattern Repeat twice), yo, k2.

Work as set until row 72 (yes, 72; this is not a typo!) of Charts 3a and 3b is complete. 183 sts.

Continue as set, working Rows 37-48 of Charts 2a & 2b again (working Pattern Repeat 3 times). 207 sts.

Work Charts 3a & 3b once more (working Pattern Repeat four times) until row 74 is complete. 267 st.

Work Charts 4a & 4b, working Pattern Repeat 12 times across. 347 st.

Work Charts 5a & 5b, working Pattern Repeat 16 times across. 457 st.

Bind off loosely as follows: K1; *k1, slip the 2 sts back to the left needle, and knit them together ktbl; rep from * until 1 st rems; Cut yarn and pull through final st to secure.


Weave in ends and block, being careful to keep the long (neck) edge straight and pinning out the point of each thistle motif.


Mary-Anne Mace lives the good life in Christchurch, New Zealand, a city that shakes from time to time, but which is full of possibilities and new beginnings.

Mary-Anne spins, knits and writes and can be found on Ravelry.