Lace Stoles

My friend Emily was asking about rectangular stoles the other day and then Norma mentioned she’d rather rectangles than triangles and someone commented that they didn’t know of many patterns. So here are my recommendations from what I’ve found in my recent hunt for interesting lace patterns.

The current issue of Vogue Knitting has a section with a few shawls in it. Some of these are rectangular stoles.

The Summer 2004 issue of Interweave Knits has Madli’s Shawl designed by Nancy Bush based on Estonian lace traditions. Stephannie is knitting it and so is Cassie. I know I have seen another rectangular one in a different issue of IK with a leaf pattern done in linen (and described as ideal for after yoga) but the pixies seem to have hidden it somewhere.

I have recently purchased a Fiber Trends pattern from Elann for an Estonian Garden Wrap and Scarf. They also have another one called the Baltic Sea Stole. Scroll down that side bar. There may be something else you like.

Fiddlesticks also has a couple of rectangular stoles.

Of the books I’ve got lying around, Best of Knitters Shawls and Scarves has a section on rectangular stoles. Sometimes you have to imagine how they would look without the bad ’80s hair and makeup but definitely worth a look.

Folk Shawls also has several rectangular ones.

I recently bought A Gathering of Lace (gathered by Meg Swanson; published by XRX books) and I’ve had a look through. There are a few nice rectangular shawls in there and lots of other ideas for knitting lace (so it it were lace you wanted to knit there are several options other than shawls of any shape in here).

Edited 12 Sept to add: The Knitting Curmudgeon reliably informs that early editions of A Gathering of Lace had lots of errors. Corrections on the publisher’s website where you can also find corrections for Best of Knitters Shawls and Scarves.

Adapting triangular shawl patterns for a rectangular stole would depend on the nature of the lace pattern. You can just do the central repeat section in a fixed number of repeats across with a border (either knit as you go in say garter stitch or seed stitch; or a fancy lace one added afterwards). This is fine except that many triangular shawls (FBS included) have offset patterns These work well with a triangle because the edge increases to incorporate whole repeats. In a rectangle you’d either have half motifs running down the edges or have to come up with a stitch pattern to fill in the space where the half motif would be. It might work though. Again, I’d work from the central repeat section of the chart ignoring the side bit where all the triangle shaping is happening.

Another option, if you are adapting things, is to expand a scarf pattern into something big enough for a stole. Heartstrings has a bunch of nice patterns for this purpose.

Depending on the pattern, I’d probably use a combination of extra repeats across to make it wider (and obviously go on for longer) and a heavier weight yarn on larger needles. To get the right needle size swatch the main pattern until you are happy with the way the solid bits look. You should probably wash and block your swatch just to be sure, but if you are trying a few, you can get a good sense of it by stretching it out a bit on your lap.

Hope that gives folks lots of ideas. There do seem to be quite a few options out there if you look.


One thought on “Lace Stoles

  1. Thanks Jo! I’ll be following all those bits of advice…. and trying to do the essay too, but so much less appealing. River is going fine as a lace trial, I don’t find KSH too bad, it unknits pretty well bit by bit (I know cos I used it for a jumper and did lots of both frogging and tinking), but SO FAR I haven’t had to….how long will that last?


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