Lace wedding shawl

Joanna has been working with Daisey’s fleece to create a wedding shawl for a very good friend. This is the Quarff Triangular Stole and its pattern may be found in A Legacy of Shetland Lace. This stole was designed by Pearl Johnson as an experiment to see how a traditional pattern would fit a non-traditional shape. It is a shawl which is suitable as a shoulder shawl especially for evening wear. Pearl named this triangular stole after the village of Quarff (in the Shetland Islands) where she grew up. I’m not sure how Joanna parts with such things. She births the lamb; raises the ewe; shears, cleans, spins and plies the fleece into yarn; and then knits for weeks to produce an heirloom-quality garment. This Quarff Stole was light as a feather and weighed just 3.8 ounces. My wife knows little rest. She is now working on another shawl, this one is called Filmy Fern which appears in Margaret Stove’s Wrapped in Lace, Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World.




32 thoughts on “Lace wedding shawl

  1. Breathtaking … the patience of a saint indeed …she is on her way to some kind of knitter’s enlightenment! This is some of her most impressive work yet, I think.

    • I will pass along your approbation. You have been busy this evening with a large number of observations … thanks very much. I especially understand the desire to see a caprine cavort … alas, perhaps some day! Thanks for the attention. D

  2. This is very beautiful, and reminds me of my sons christening shawl … however to have birthed and raised the sheep from whom the wool came adds a unique personal layer. Such an intimate object given from one heart to another, from one set of hands to another. I always feel that handmade anything is imbibed with the essence of the maker 🙂

    • Yes. Joanna’s view, absolutely. I replied to Maurice, in response to a comment he made about this post, by questioning what it is one calls that part of themselves which is added to a work such as this? Certainly Joanna’s thoughts and her hard work show in the final product … but how do you refer to that intangible investment which is obviously there but cannot be touched or measured? Is it love? I do not know. Can one distinguish a garment made with love from one which was not? Perhaps. What are your thoughts? D

      • I think that I fall in love with a garment whose history I know, much like the places I visit. Knowing about a things creation, in a personal way, deepens my fondness and appreciation. I weave meaning into the story I know, and my affection for the maker is kindled and remembered each time I touch or see it.
        My mother in law knits beautiful shawls, but she doesn’t raise the sheep, so the story stops with her…..

  3. I am in awe! Such beautiful, soulful work on Joanna’s part and such an appreciative description on David’s!

    • Hi there Lynn … it was a pleasant surprise to see your name pop-up among recent comments – thanks for taking the time. As I write, Joanna is hard at work on the Filmy Fern mentioned in the post. I too have always been in awe. I like to think that we all have our very particular hypertrophied skill. Did you ever read the Xanth series of books (Piers Anthony)? Anyway, Xanth is a magical world in which all of its inhabitants have a magical talent. The particular talent of one character (Bink) for example, is that he cannot be harmed by the magical talent of others. Anyway, it’s pretty clear what Joanna’s talent is … but, you know, I’ve always wondered what mine is! For the life-of-me, I cannot say. D

    • It’s funny you should mention that … one of the daughters of two very good friends of ours is at Purdue University where she is majoring in Mathematics. She is an avid knitter. When her mother was visiting last week she was telling us how her daughter was attending a meeting (of engineer-types, I believe) at another University and struck up an animated and serious discussion with a faculty in Mathematics who was also an avid knitter. Apparently the topic of discussion was the mathematics of knitting! I’m not sure about the details … but it sounds quite interesting. D

  4. First off, be sure and pass along my admiration for such a wonderful piece of work. Second, I am left with the comment “I am not sure how J. parts …” as it is of singular importance here. It is my essential belief that the greatest gifts have as their essence a portion of the giver embedded within them. That is, true gifts are a “gift of self.” With that in mind then the shawls embody, therefore, the greatest possible kindness one can bestow on another; as such they are truly priceless.

    • I came home from work this afternoon and as I passed through the door, the first thing Joanna said to me was, “Did you read Maurice’s comment? He gets it.” I hadn’t checked the blog recently so did not see this comment … but now that I have, I see that Joanna is correct, you clearly do ‘get it.’ I understand that a very small bit of her is embodied in each creation and that the physical entity includes this. What can we call that which is intangible which she incorporates into the work? It is the knowledge, on the part of the one to whom the piece has been gifted, of Joanna’s hard work that goes along. Again, I am lost for a word to describe that non-physical thing … that thought … the knowledge. Perhaps we can coin a word for this particular application. Any suggestions? D

      • I have been mulling over this for around three days now and am not much further ahead than when I started. I started with the notion that it’s clearly an act of love and, it seems, there I remain. So that’s it, I suppose. BTW, read the post on Hank etc. last night and am now lost in thought of the many trusted companions with whom I have shared parts of my life – not exactly where you went at the end of the post I know but that’s where you put me. I love the written word 🙂 Oh, as you may have been noticed my blog’s been silent for a while. All’s well, just caught up in a particularly busy time on all fronts – I love it that way!

        • Thanks Maurice. Regarding the explanation of your recent absence … I was wondering if the GB-thing had finally needed to be dealt with. I’m glad that it’s been nothing like that in you’ve simply been taking-care-of-business … one of my all-time-favorite (seriously) things to do. Next week will by my last semester and then it’ll be just final examinations and then, at long last, I’ll have some real time with the camera. Looking forward to it. D PS: I’ll pass your thoughts along to Joanna regarding the shawl.

    • I have not much to add to Maurice’s great comment. The shawl reflects so many thing on so many different levels – and all are expressed with such beauty. The light weight also preserves what is special about the efficiency of the fur of animals – provide maximum protection at minimum weight. But actually, Maurice, you got me thinking if creating such a piece could be ever turned into a business (the usual reaction). I guess, not, or not without losing the essence.

      • Joanna has always thought about the possibility of creating these for sale. She and I just thought about it for a minute and decided that it takes 50-75 hours to create one … dirty fleece to finished shawl. So, the question has always been … what’s her time really worth and what are folks willing to pay. At $20 per hour, which I don’t think is too much to ask, that’s $1000 and, between you and me, how many could she sell at that price, per year? No, Joanna creates these because she loves doing so and feels the putting a dollar value on the product lessens its value … to her, in any case. Having folks pay for these would defeat her purpose for creating them. She and I will, I suppose, find ourselves in the poor-house with such and attitude, which we both share. D

    • Indeed. These projects begin the day she births the lamb and end the day she makes that last stich. In between she raises the lamb, shears the ewe, washes, combs, spins, plys, plans, designs, and then knits and knits and knits. It is a wonderful process to see happening here at the farm and one that Joanna takes great pride in. Thanks for noticing and for commenting … we BOTH appreciate it. D

  5. This is such beautiful intricate work. If we are very lucky here in the UK, we might be given something similar as a christening gift, to wrap around the baby. It then becomes a family heirloom.

    • Hey there Jenny. Joanna has always been in awe of the patterns and work that have come out of your ‘part’ of the world. There’s something about the UK that produces simply wonderful, an quite intricate, work. Although she does all sorts of spinning and weaving, she really sees herself as a producer of the fine sorts of lace produced from the wool of the Shetland animals that we have raised for nearly 25 years. The kind of work that she does requires all sorts of patience … of which I have NONE … I don’t know how she does it. We both agree that our brains are wired VERY differently indeed. D

  6. She has the patience of a saint! I usually find 1 or 2 patterns and make them over and over again! So impressive. Truly an heirloom quality gift!

  7. So beautiful. Your wife must have lots of patience and focus. I’ve seen people doing these at medieval fairs, with pins everywhere. Totally amazing, and makes you wonder how people first came upon the idea to do such intricate handicrafts.

    • Hey Tree Girl. Thanks for your appreciative comment. I’ll be sure to let Joanna know that you approve. Yes, she has infinite patience. I am the sort that has difficulty tying my shoe, let alone creating something as complicated as this. It has always struck me how different our personalities are in this regard; she can knit, patiently, for hours on end while I find it difficult sitting in one place for very long. I’m always thinking about other things I should be doing … she manages to filter those thoughts out. I envy her. D

Respond to this post if you'd like.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: