Victoria Lace Shawl…From Fleece to Finish!

One of my favorite things to do is knitting with the yarns Kevin and I have developed from the backs of the sheep we raise. I have long been a fan of Northern Shorttail sheep, one of the reasons we raise Shetlands. One notable member of that group is the Gotland Sheep. So about 3 years ago, we introduced a Gotland ram to our flock. There are several interesting factors about Gotland sheep. They are an ancient breed from the island of Gotland off the coast of Sweden. They have not been imported into the US, but have been developed by upbreeding using Gotland semen first imported in 2003. So using similar breeds like Border Leister and others, the Gotland Sheep was recreated here. Only recently, have there existed a 100% Gotland sheep in this country. Kendrick, our ram is 89%. What I love about the Gotland fleece, is the shimmer silver and the curls. And I absolutely love the result from crossing Shetland with Gotland. Shetland adds softness to the shimmer as well as different colors.

Kendrick getting sheared in April 2021

So in developing a Hilltop Gotland worsted, we blended several of Kendrick’s fleeces with some of his Shetland/Gotland cross lambs and yearlings fleeces that were silver. And to help in the spinning process, added just a bit of merino. The result is stunning! A lofty silver worsted weight yarn that has the shimmer qualities of Gotland and the softness of Shetland. I wanted a 1st project to be enjoyable to knit but not too complicated so you can enjoy the bliss of knitting with this yarn.

Hilltop Gotland Worsted

Ok..on to the pattern! This is a relatively quick knit using 2 skeins of the Hilltop Gotland. This Victoria Shawl pattern is designed by Ceecee Crafts in Northern Ireland and the link to the free pattern is HERE.

Beginning using size 8 16 inch circular needles, casting on using the 2 needle method. I usually use a 1 needle method, but here is quick video explaining the 2 needle cast on method HERE. Casting on the 20 stitches. This will begin the lace lower edge portion of the shawl. After knitting 1 row, you will follow the 12 row Edge pattern. The pattern here is pretty straight forward. However, on row 8, where you cast of the 3 extra stitches you have added during previous rows to create that scalloped point, the stretchy cast off is a bit confusing as explained. So here is a nice explanation with a video that should help HERE.

Edge Pattern

Continue knitting until you have 24 repeats of the Edge pattern. (Or until you have 24 points.) Then continue with the 1st 7 rows of the edge pattern, then cast off in stretchy stitch leaving the last stitch on the right hand needle. At this point, you will be picking up stitches to begin the shawl top. So without turning your work, pick up 171 stitches in the ladder between each garter row. I ended up with about 10 stitches less. The patterns indicates if this happens, to increase that number of stitches on the next row, which is a knit row.

Following the directions for the shawl top is pretty straight forward. It is just knit rows with yarn over/knit 2 together rows thrown in. And after the 1st 7 rows, you will have your 1st decrease row. 7 more rows of the shawl top pattern and another decrease row. 7 more and another decrease row. The you knit 14 rows.

Shawl top in progress while knitting the 1st 14 rows.

So as I work towards completion…I will post additional progress. If you would like to begin your Victoria Shawl, here is a link to where you can purchase your own Hilltop Gotland, in natural silver and 2 hand dyed colors.

The Victoria Shawl is Complete!

The next steps involve adding another decrease row, then another 14 rows knitted. Once the Shawl Top is completed, the last step is to pick up along both lace edges and shawl body for a total of 165 stitches. Two rows are knitted, then on the wrong side of work, do a eyelet row of k2, yfwd , repeating across whole row. Four more rows are knitted before casting off in a modified picot stitch. I actually have not blocked this yet, but I recommend blocking to even out the stitch tension. I love how this turned out, and photographing it on a day with a pending storm brings out the stormy color. The drape is just right, that it hugs your shoulders and stays put. One could add a shawl pin, bit it does not need one to sit nice. I hope you give it a try! It is a fun, quick and useful project.

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