29 November 2013

Project: Regency Lace Shawl

Since my last big knitting project, my Amy Pond-style red lace scarf, took over a year to complete, I thought I'd give myself plenty of time for my next project and choose something that would work well for spring and summer. Luckily I had received a beautiful collection of Jane Austen-inspired summer knitting patterns from my mother last Christmas, so I went through the patterns and picked out the Margaret Dashwood Lace Shawl. Since it's as long as the red lace scarf I made, I thought it would take me as long to knit--but I actually finished up this project in less than a month!

The pattern called for a lightweight yarn, so I chose Bernat Baby in a versatile bright white. It knitted up beautifully, and is wonderfully smooth and soft. The pattern itself turned out lovely as well, with a pointed lace edging and decorative slip stitch border.

The shawl was designed either to be worn wrap style on a young teen (around the age of Margaret Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility) or across the shoulders of a grown woman. The model in the pattern collection was an adult but wore the shawl wrap style anyway, and I definitely wanted the wrap look as well--I've been coveting a wrap shawl ever since I saw the character of Amy Dorrit sporting one on the 2008 Little Dorrit miniseries! The shawl would have fit me wrap style in the length called for by the pattern, but I wanted some extra length to make tying it in the back easier and so added an extra ten repeats of the pattern in the middle section of the shawl.

I love the result, and can't wait to wear this shawl with my vintage-style sundresses on cool summer nights. Shawls are inherently old-fashioned, but I think the wrap style has a modern sensibility. I also think that this pattern balances simplicity of style with little Regency-era touches like the pointed lace just perfectly.

By the by, the Regency doll I used in these photos was a Christmas gift from my mother a couple of years ago, and came from Up All Night Studio. Artist Sandra Earles handcrafts these dolls in a style authentic to the Regency era, and they're just lovely. You can purchase your own Regency doll from Up All Night Studio's website or via Etsy.

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