I have several shawls that I love and wear often because of the beauty of the lace. However, they don’t bend around my neck and shoulders very well. To make them fall over my shoulders to the front I have to gather them into folds at the back of my neck. Though this does provide extra warmth for my neck, I wanted to create a shawl that would fall over my shoulders without having to be gathered into folds. How can that be done? My answer resulted in Wessenden, a dainty wrap knitted in Rowan Kidsilk Haze:
It is named after one of the beautiful wild moors near my home in the high Pennine hills of Yorkshire. Wessenden Moor surrounds a remote reservoir to which my sister and I used to walk every year as teenagers. Hundreds of people gathered each summer to follow the Huddersfield canal to Marsden and then climb to the reservoir, thereby raising money for poor families in Peru. It was invariably a great day, blessed with lots of sunshine and lots of sunny people.
The Huddersfield canal follows the Colne Valley, home to vast numbers of Yorkshire’s woollen mills, from which narrowboats used to carry bolts of cloth to Manchester and beyond. It had a key role in Yorkshire’s wool story during the Industrial Revolution, springing from the woolly heritage which we will explore in my Yorkshire Knitting Tour next summer.
The Wessenden shawl sits perfectly around the neck and over the shoulders because the top edge of the shawl turns through a 270° angle at the back of the neck. Instead of being a triangle, the shawl is 3/4 of a square, with one corner of the square forming the point at the bottom of the back:
It is a seamless knit worked outwards from the neck, where it begins with Judys Magic Cast-On. The pattern includes a tutorial for this as well as for making ‘nupps’, the dense bobble-like stitches that feature abundantly in the shawl’s border.
I originally published the Wessenden pattern in my book Lace Knits. However, in the next few days I will release it for individual download, and will be offering a deep discount for the pattern to my newsletter subscribers. My newsletter is a free monthly publication which always includes an exclusive offer for subscribers. To get it sign up using the form at the bottom of this site.