A shawl for my granny

A shawl for my granny

It’s funny how I’m always looking for shawl patterns that aren’t granny-looking, and now I’m looking for a shawl pattern for my granny. She’s turning 90 in exactly one month and — please don’t tell her! — I’m planning to knit her a shawl. The thing is, I’ve been planning it for at least a month and haven’t cast on a stitch yet because I’m hung up on what it should be. I feel like it should be lace — or at least lace-edged or something — but I don’t want to give her anything that requires really precise blocking every time it’s soaked. Ditto the yarn selection: Not only am I hesitant about giving her anything hand-wash-only, she lives in Texas! So wool is out of the question. Size-wise, she’s not a very large person, plus there’s that whole Texas aspect (this is really something to toss on in over-air-conditioned spaces), plus I need to be able to complete it in a month. So basically I’m looking for a simple, small-scale, decorative-edged shawl. For the yarn, I think I’ve settled on the dark purple Shibui Heichi in my stash (her entire wardrobe is shades of purple), which is 100% silk. Still hand-wash, but not wool. Right? So I’ve narrowed it down to the smaller Lola (top), a scaled-down Palmyre (middle) and the lace-less but still really pretty Marin (bottom), which I’ve wanted to knit for a long time. I haven’t knitted with 100% silk before and really don’t know what that will look or behave like, so it seems like my best bet is to swatch all three and see.

Still have never managed to pick the right shawl for my mom. :(

48 thoughts on “A shawl for my granny

  1. You may be over thinking this, which I seem to do when kniting or buying for others. All of the patterns are lovely and from a mother and grandmother whould be loved and used.

  2. Have you seen Lawton on the newest Knitty post? It is rectangular but uses silk and is beautiful, I think, and knitted for another granny

  3. whenever I am struggling with this decision (what to make for someone) my husband points out that they will love whatever I made (because I made it for them) so just pick the thing you’ll enjoy knitting the most :) for me it would probably be Palmyre, especially in silk.

  4. To me, shawls and wraps are all about the fiber. I love Lola and the sweet Marin is in my favorites; but again, it’s all about the yarn. I am always drawn to the simple elegance and usefulness of Espace Tricot’s Aise Wrap in Jade Sapphire Sylph. But Knitter Beware! Once you knit with Sylph…you’re a goner. Oh, did I mention that I just finished Veera Valimaki’s Neon Beast in Baah! LaJolla and am knitting it again…in Jade Sapphire Sylph? Enough said.

  5. i just finished lola for my mother and she loves it. made it in quince and co lark in the larger size since shes always cold.

  6. I’m sure your granny will love any of the shawls, especially because of the love and intention you put into your handiwork. Thanks for sharing these great designs.

  7. I love the simplicity and asymmetry of the Lori shawl from the second madder anthology! It’s very versatile with the variety of yarns you could use for all ages.

  8. Can I add another contender to the list? I knit my 89 year old aunt the Betsey shawl in Cascade Venezia Worsted http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/betsey-2 She lives in Memphis, so not seriously cold and the wool/silk blend yarn draped beautifully. Plus because it’s worsted it works up quickly and it doesn’t really have to be blocked again when they wash it. Just another suggestion to add to your list :)

  9. Are we related? Haha, my grandma is also 90, lives in Texas, and wears purple all the time. I wouldn’t worry too much about the pattern – I’m sure she’ll love anything made by her granddaughter :)

  10. What about something in linen? I’m traveling right now without a computer so it’s hard for me to search for and recommend any pattern, but that would be machine washable and not in need of crazy blocking either? Plus great for Texas weather…

  11. I love how we’re all suggesting other shawls! My suggestion is 198 Yards Of Heaven. (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/198-yds-of-heaven) It’s lace, but you can see in the photos that even if it’s meant to be hard blocked, not everyone does, and it still looks great. I’ve made it out of acrylic before, but I think for your needs, making it out of a squishy cotton would be PERFECT! And then it might not even need to be blocked at all?!?!

  12. This post is so bittersweet for me…I knitted a shawl for my Grandma some years ago, which she loved, but she just passed away and I’m travelling to her funeral today. I did a double take when I saw your post. So lovely to cherish your grandma while you can! Happy knitting!

  13. Those shawls are beautiful choices. I love how simple they look and yet elegant with details along the edge. I’m sure, whichever you decide to knit, your granny will love and cherish it.

  14. Ok. This post has gotten me all excited this morning! (First thing: morning coffee and Fringe posts – standard.) But now I’m reminding myself that I have two shawls in process and need to finish them! I’ve come to love the smaller shawls using handdyed sock weight yarn. Great accents for the shirts I wear and they work well for the cool but not cold days of the Pacific NW. That said, the two shawls that need finishing won’t stop me from playing on Ravelry this morning with everyone’s great shawl preferences. Hugs to bloomingheather as she travels to her Grandma’s funeral today.

  15. love your pattern ideas. i am going to recommend a yarn that is lovely to knit, easy to wash, and shows lace very nicely. quince and company’s sparrow linen yarn comes in lovely colors and would work in texas climate very well.

  16. Being a granny myself, I want a shawl that will cover my shoulders and stay comfortably in place. A couple of these don’t have enough yardage to do much more than wrap a neck. Do you want a shawl or a neck accessory?

  17. I made Marin out of the Fyberspates yarn it called for, a lovely merino, silk blend. As much as I love the shawl, (and loved knitting it), it is a very shallow crescent that wears best wrapped around my neck like a scarf or cowl, and may not be well-suited to sitting around the shoulders of your granny. My guess is that it might be easier for her to wear the Palmyre or something similar with a deeper crescent or triangle shape.

  18. I love Heichi, but it would not be my first choice for a shawl. It’s a bit chunky and rustic and wouldn’t sit and/or wrap as nicely on the shoulders as something lighter would. If you are set on it, leaning to a stockinette (rather than garter) will help. Also, don’t discount the merino silk mixes (Sweet Georgia comes to mind.). They can be light and cool, but also give you the beautiful stitch definition you should have for the shawls you’ve shown here.

  19. Being a Great Granny with a purple stripe amoung the gray, knitting bag in one hand and a pocket wheel in the other I knit or spin where there is a gathering. My shoulders do not have time to get chilly love the shawl 😘

  20. Marin is a great shawl but all those textural stitches will not POP as much with silk as they do in wool. I’d go with one of the first two lacier options, silk + drape = lovely lace.

  21. Hi Karen:

    You might also consider Piper’s Journey by Paula Emmons Fousele (I think is how she spells it aka Prairie Piper of the Knitting Pipeline podcast). It is an usual construction, garter stitch with w knitted on edging that was interesting. I enjoyed it enough that I have made several as gifts. They were all well received.


  22. I made Palmyre for my mother (80 in one month)for Christmas with Rowan Felted Tweed DK and she loves it. I heard about the pattern from your blog.

  23. Just to let you know, my Palmyre turned out pretty small. Personally I wouldn’t downsize it, because it’s a little hard to wear if it’s too small. Love your blog!

  24. I live in Texas and the a/c is colder then you think here. You might want to consider a Merino/Silk blend or Merino from Juniper Moon Farms or Madeline Tosh. I have made myself shawls from those and also a lace weight alpaca. In summer, I like the merino and alpaca. I, personally, crochet and add a shell edge. Takes about 1500 meters of yarn.

  25. Palmyre is even more lovely in person than in the photo. It’s a fun knit. I made one in less than two weeks, while travelling.

  26. Karen you are special! Looking at the designs I am drawn to the Palmyre for it’s style and practicality. It is beautiful but it is also a style that would travel with nearly all outfits. If you need the flexibility of the cool/warm/too warm factor… I would go for a shawl that can still be draped around the shoulders. Look forward to seeing it finished here and in the meantime, Palmyre has gone into my queue.

  27. What elizabeyta says. I live in Houston, where it is usually hotter than hell, yet I use a lot of wool wraps. They feel good, they’re wonderful to create because the right wool is just so pleasant to work with and, well, silk is lovely and has great drape, but wool has such bounce! Mad Tosh or my beloved Malabrigo. You can’t go wrong. . .

  28. Heichi is a lovely yarn and come in gorgeous colors, but it is not going to give you the drape you want for a shawl. I know because I’ve tried.

  29. I love all three, but I just queued Marin. I love knitting end to end because you can plan ahead and use all your yarn-really important for those super special skeins. Plus it’s gorgeous and reversible. I can’t wait to knit it! If I ever finish my current WIP. My knit blog reading habit really interferes with actual knitting time.

  30. Currently knitting Farmhouse by Cabin Four. I love the simpleness of it and the fringe too!
    Terra is another favorite but seems to be used by my boyfriend more… He likes to wrap it around his shoulders in our cold living room. He says he needs a “man shawl”!

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  32. Love all of them. I actually started Marin (frogged due to bad yarn choice) but it’s true that it really is more of a scarf than a shawl. So out of the two remaining I would choose Palmyre – that Art Deco lace is stunning and the crescent shape stays on shoulders perfectly. I guess the Heichi will make the choice for you in the end?

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