Shale Baby Blanket
The next pattern up on the docket took a dose of inspiration from a recent experience I had with a vintage family heirloom. When I was home visiting my mother last summer she revealed a family treasure that I had never seen before: her very own lace baby shawl. A stunning yet simple piece of lace that had been lovingly knitted for her by my great aunt in a dusty pink Shetland-like wool. The shawl featured a delicate Old Shale lace motif and had been carefully preserved. Weeks later I hadn't been able to shake the image of it from my mind and soon found myself binging on Internet images of similar styles before deciding to do up a version of my own.
I love the look of baby items in gender-neutral palettes (it certainly makes pre-emptive baby knitting easier!) and even more so when those palettes include sheep-colors. After all, what could be more lovely than a new babe swaddled in grey heathered wool? (Will my love of grey ever diminish?)
While most of the images of vintage baby shawls that I encountered featured Old Shale lace patterns on a stockinette ground, I wanted to play with a bit more texture and depth. The stitch pattern featured here is an obvious cousin to all of those beautiful Feather-and-Fan motifs we know and love, but with slightly more dimension. Worked over a purl background, the feather columns take on a relief-like quality due to the use of Knit-4-togethers and Slip-Slip-Slip-Slip-Knits (yes, they do exist!). These hungry decreases cause the feathers of lace to "ridge-up" as they span the length of the blanket while being separated by pretty eyelet columns. Simple and sweet.
I chose to omit a more traditional fringe (often added to the top and bottom of blankets in this style), letting the gently undulating edges be the focus. That said, I think a fringed version would look wonderful as well. (With knitting, there are simply too many possibilities)
The finished dimensions measure approximately 32 x 40 inches. The pattern, however, is easily modified to add or subtract width or height in case you'd like a different proportion, or have less/more yarn. Shown here in Sweatshirt (one of my personal favorites from the Shelter palette), I think it creates a comforting addition to the nursery.