30 juli 2015


April 16:

Someone in my friends list on Ravelry send me a message that there is a mention of a lace shawl in the Jamieson & Smith group. They are trying to find out which shawl it is and if it is possible to recreate it.

April 16:
I read the thread and am instantly interested. I wrote:

I’ve seen a similar lace shawl in the movie A Royal Affair. Couldn’t make it out either. After watching the credits I tried to find pictures of the costume designers collection, but it wasn’t there.
This was my first step into a very large and interesting project. I didn't know if any of my experience would be needed, but I stuck my nose in anyway.

After some searching we could make out the centre pattern and did some 'cut & paste' to get something going.
In the meantime I tried to find out more about the show. "Outlander". Low and behold, it was on the tv in Belgium, Friday evening.

April 19:
Watching the show. I see a LOT of tweed. It's gorgeous. Sorry to say the story is quite 'slow'. I haven't read the book(s), but I do love the surroundings and scenes shot in Scotland.
First swatch is made:

April 21:
Together with Laura and DominiqueBe we look at swatches and compare them with the screen shot.

Pretty close, right?  Second swatch made: 

April 29: 
Now what? Am I diving in head first and make an entire (new) shawl? Or do I help with developing?
Ordered some yarn, Mohair- merino and thought that if I started with the centre pattern, the rest would come later..

May 3: 
Searching the Shetland Museum and Archives website, I find a shawl that has a similar centre pattern:

Because we couldn't find a good screenshot of the entire shawl, when the camera zooms out, the lace gets 'lost'... , this was all we had to go on.

Laura tried to get a better view of the shawl. The episode didn't air in Belgium, due to the summer break.
A friend, Belinda, helped out too with vidcaps. They tried to freeze the frame and save that image. But it was only enough to see a pointy edge.

May 6: 
Made another swatch. It didn't go well in the end, but it looked better already.
I thought it was a bit tight. The birdseyes in the top were NOT like in the screenshot.

May 10: 
The yarn came in and I started right away. Calculations were close enough to get things going.

You can see by the size of my hand, this wasn't "Delicate" lace at all. I put it aside and took some grey yarn with a finer gauge and started over.
I was a bit hesitant. Should I get involved in such a big project?

May 22: 

I got as far as with the mohair.. This was much finer, but I wasn't happy with the colour... I thought that a Shetland shawl should be made in Shetland yarn.

June 10: 
Belinda has a better screen shot. Now I can see the size of the shawl. She's wearing it double and it still is sheer.

KathyMary suggests (as others have in other threads) to make contact with the costume department.
I'm hesitant, someone else has tried it. And didn't hear back.
June 19:
Another vidcap by Belinda reveals after close inspection there is a faint zigzag in the border. I stop knitting on the grey shawl...

Also June 19:
Tweeted Terry Dresbach (the costume designer for the Outlander Series) and asked about the shawl.
The first tweet got lost but the second: 
(2/2) Can you tell us anything of a source/knitter/pattern? It's so rare to see #finelace in a costume series. Thank you 
Terry replied!
it's an antique piece I found.
Then me:
may I be as bold and ask you if you still have it?  we, a knitting group on Ravelry, are trying to recreate it. 
we do. Seriously? That's mad. I can give you a pic of the lace but not right away [...]
that would be brilliant! thank you. No rush #relief.

Oh my! It is happening!

June 24:

here you go!

Oh no!!! This is SOOOO unexpected. It's GORGEOUS! Look at those stars... The arches..
This is a whole other ball game!
I thanked Terry and told her this was all we needed.
All doubts melted away. This was an awesome chance to get some Serious Lace done. I'm in!

So... Swatching began AGAIN. Making whole new charts. Calculations.. This is big.
I even found a picture of some ladies posing with a similar shawl. The border is much wider, but the stars are the same. And you have a good indication of size too.

Conclusion 1: the shawl is an antique. That means it is handspun. That means that I will have to use very fine yarn. Gossamer at least to make the size similar. I can spin, but not as fine as the Shetland ladies back in the days.
Conclusion 2: Not everyone will make a shawl this size! I will have to make alterations in the pattern so one can choose to knit a rectangle shawl with the same patterns / parts. This way, it's available for more people.

June 25:
Ella Gordon from the Jamieson & Smith Woolbrokers informed us about the ladies in the picture being the "Sutherlands". And came up with a photo from later in life:

Later that day, Dominique send me some pictures from the Museum of a shawl with stars she saw on display. The coin dropped and I viewed back my archive and yes: I've seen the same shawl.
There are similar components, but spacing is different. But it never hurts to have a good close up.

July 6:
Charting is an ongoing process. Even when swatching I made minor adjustments.
But... it looked pretty close to the original.

 First: the edge. A little tweek here and there.

The star. It needed just a bit more room. And the upside down flower needed some more work.

I had decided earlier that (especially) an antique shawl from Shetland, should be recreated with original Shetland yarn. The only option was: 1/16NM Gossamer (1ply) Natural Jamieson & Smith yarn.
I'm working with 2mm needles (US0). I mentioned before that the original is handspun, so this is as close as I can get.
Calculations give me for the squared version over 500.000 stitches. The rectangle will have approx. 210.000 stitches. I can't tell you how large it will be, but my prediction will be around 6+ feet square.

July 8:
Casted on with the gossamer 1ply and worked the first border. My dear test knitter Sue is working on the rectangle version. She's getting rid of all bugs and makes a perfect example for you to decide whether or not to knit the square or the rectangle.
 The yarn came in on 2 cones. It's approx. 20 balls of yarn. That should be plenty.

I don't know when the pattern will be available. But somewhere later this year is the goal. Think November or December. It will be a paid pattern (not free). Credit will be given, where credit is due. (As I've done here, please notify me if I have forgotten something/someone)

And you will be able to find it under a new name: The Shetland Star Shawl.
The ORIGINAL shawl has been purchased by Terry and is not specifically designed for the Outlander series.
(copyright and other stuff...)

Ready for a cut and paste preview???

So... if you don't hear from me for a while: I'm busy...