Filigree – Behind the Design

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I’m happy to announce that I’ve finished up and released a new design, my Filigree shawl. The pattern is available for download in my Ravelry Store for £2.99 (about $4.95 as I write this). Deann and I are working on putting our paid patterns together onto StitchGeek so hopefully we will be able to offer all our patterns here soon for you as well.

The idea for this one came about because I’ve knitted quite a few shawls in the last year or so and, while lovely to knit and show off, they never quite met what I wanted. I also don’t enjoy working with laceweight yarn (we have a hate hate thing going on so far). So I opted for a bulky/chunky. The other issue I usually have is that a lot of shawls don’t stay around my shoulders, and they are never never big enough. I wanted something a bit more substantial in size, because I am not a tiny nymphette and I do tend to stomp in/around/on trees rather than flit gracefully through the woods. Ethereal lace doesn’t suit me and I think I’m not a shawlette or shallow wrap kind of lady! But I still wanted my lace to look elegant and not too clumsy.

The idea sat in my head for what seemed like forever. Mainly because I had no idea how to transfer the shape that I had in my brain into something real. I can generally do it with toys or other 3D stuff, but somehow a big flat shape in lace was eluding me! So I studied and studied various shawl shaping methods and none of them called out to me as working for what I wanted to achieve.

Then one day I was having a chat with Deann about it and I said, “well what I want is something a bit like my platypus foot. But in a big shawl. With those twisted stitch columns”. For readers who haven’t met him yet, here is my platypus design! And here is his foot. So she said to me, “ok then make it like a giant platypus foot”. And that made something click (which is why everyone who wants to design things should be friends with D!) and I was able to move on and create this shawl.


Next I decided on a lace pattern that I wanted to use, and played around with swatches for the main body of the shawl. As I was knitting and getting to thinking about binding off I experimented and decided to incorporate bobbles in the bind-off. It looked pretty cool so I decided to keep that.

Then I set about designing the top, getting the shape right, and working out what I wanted for the neck. The result is a cut-out scoop neck, with a twisted stitch kind of ribbing at the top, merging into a stylised leaf lace motif before plunging into the main lace pattern. It took a few redesigns to get the top looking how I wanted it, but I got there.

From then on most of the (very hard) work was in calculating how to put the increases in the places I wanted them whilst maintaining the pattern and charting and recharting and recharting and…then writing/checking the written instructions, creating schematic, testing (thank you testers!), editing, editing, editing, photos etc.

So it has been a long time in the making, but voila! I named it Filigree because the panels I chose to set the lace into, with the pretty openwork in between kind of reminded me of filigree ornamentation. The main pattern photos at the top of the page here were taken by my daughter who in her professional capacity as photographer advised me to gaze into the distance as it is more “arty”…!