If you visit Linda Marveng’s pattern page, you will see that she designed this shawl to be worn variously as a scarf, shawl, wrap or shrug. I’m not yet used to the colder weather here (cold at least compared to San Francisco!), so my (current) favorite way is to wrap the Milanese Shawl twice around my neck and then tie it in front. (Very cosy.)
Of course, perhaps part of that is vanity; I have been told that the color closely matches my eyes. 🙂
The Milanese Shawl beautifully showcases Marveng’s skills in designing knitwear. First, in choosing to use the Milanese lace stitch, Marveng selected an interesting true lace stitch (i.e., each row contains a lace pattern). The Milanese lace pattern is a stitch pattern that is both asymmetrical and undulating and results in material that is palpably three dimensional.
The color variations in a hand-dyed yarn contribute to the undulating effect. In fact, several times while knitting it in my favorite San Francisco espresso shop, ladies who stopped by my table to admire the shawl told me it reminded them of the San Francisco Bay. The “watery” nature of it is, I believe, a combination of the stitch pattern, the yarn and the yarn color.
I knit it out of one of the yarns Marveng recommended – Cloud by Azula. Cloud (80% washable Merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon) is laceweight; a 100 gram skein contains 525m/575y. The hand of this beautiful yarn combined with the stitch pattern chosen by Marveng created a garment that feels lush yet retains its three-dimensionality. Do not block this lace shawl as you would most lace patterns. Marveng recommends a light steaming; I concur.
Note that the shawl is edged with ruffles. This adds an additional elegant element to the shawl and makes it stand out. (I now think I’ve been lazy choosing to end scarves with nothing more than a basic scallop or picot edging!)
The written aspects of the pattern were also excellent. Unlike some translated knitting patterns, Marveng’s English version is clear and contains both graph and row-by-row stitch instructions. Her pattern instructions also provide website addresses for recommended yarn and buttons, a clear key to the abbreviations used, and the American and British versions of key knitting phrases.
In a time where too many people with not much more than basic knitting skills and a computer post patterns for their projects, the Milanese Shawl evidences its creator’s design knowledge and skills. Kudos to Linda Marveng.