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Knitted Lace Baby Shawl


Way back in June I was contacted by a childhood friend whom I haven’t seen for thirty years and asked if I would consider knitting a shawl for her upcoming first grandchild. 

I don’t normally take commissions for something like this, but she asked so nicely and was so obviously a fan of my work that I decided to make an exception and agreed on the basis that this would be my evening project. You know, the kind that you pick up for a couple of hours every evening so your fingers have something to do whilst watching TV.

The baby was due in early October, which meant I would have to get cracking as three months is not very long in shawl-knitting terms, and I estimated that about 60 hours of handknitting would be required. I had no problem choosing the perfect yarn – the softness of Alpaca combined with the smooth quality of silk made this the obvious choice.

A laceweight yarn, the silk adds a subtle sheen and would make an incredibly light and delicate shawl.

I ordered 4 skeins in “Wedding White” as the gender of the baby was to remain a surprise, and off white would be ideal. Each 50g skein contains 439 yards of yarn so, although I hadn’t yet decided on a pattern, figured that 1700 yards should be plenty.

Look how fine the yarn is!

It all got off to a bit of a false start because I wasn’t happy with the first pattern I chose and had to unravel it and start again from scratch.

A bit more research resulted in the purchase of this lovely pattern by Sirdar – the circular design, rather than the square one.

And so the lengthy process began!

It soon became apparent that I had VASTLY underestimated the time and quantity of yarn that this beast would consume!

After 60 hours over 2 months, I was about two-thirds of the way through the main body of the shawl, and it took both boys to hold it up for me to take a photograph.

I just love how gossamer-fine it is and how you can see right through.

I also had to order another 2 skeins of yarn which took another 2 weeks to arrive before I could continue.

With the body of the shawl finished, I moved on to the pretty bit – the show-stopping lacy border, which was an absolute joy to knit after all those rounds of stockinette.

You can see the pattern beginning to develop here.

Despite being over a week overdue, the baby had now arrived…..but I still hadn’t finished the border. 

It was a baby girl!

Eventually, all the actual knitting was complete and ‘all’ I had to do was to join these two piles of knitting together.

It ended up being several evenings worth of work, starting with pegging the border evenly to the centre section and then sewing ithem together.

Wet blocking was the next step in the process, whereby all 120 points had to be pinned out to their final shape.

I commandeered The Boy’s bedroom and banished them for two days while it dried, pinned to a combination of three towels and the carpet!

When it was completely dry, I took it downstairs to try and photograph it as the contrast against the oak floor showed up the pattern more clearly.

There wasn’t enough spare floor space!

Here’s a close up of the edging after blocking – such lovely lacy detail.

By screwing it up in the middle, I managed to take a photo of the whole shawl – it really is massive!

It looks lovely here, draped over the arm of the sofa.

Off it went in the post and I waited a nerve-wracking few days before hearing that it had reached its destination safely – what a relief!

Very soon, some photos were sent to me of the shawl in use, and I have permission to share them with you on the blog.

Do you want to have the final stats of this mammoth project?

Here goes…….

– 2760 yards of yarn

– 137 hours of knitting

– 161,852 stitches

Would I do it again?

In a heartbeat – only next time it will have to be for MY grandchild because it was so hard to part with after all that effort!

Author: sewchet

Sewing, Crochet and other loveliness!

44 thoughts on “Knitted Lace Baby Shawl

  1. Gasp!!!!! What love has gone into that shawl – an heirloom. Utterly beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m amazed! What a beauty!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hope she was your very, very bestest friend in the whole wide world at school. What a project! Amazing! Having embarked upon lace knitting for a scarf I can tell you now I will never be knitting a lace shawl.
    BTW, I hope you don’t mind me saying but I’m not keen on the hat you made her to go with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very funny! We grew up in the same street so played together lots as young children, but drifted apart as we got older, as you do. I will give myself more time if I do another one. Maybe I’ll start now and it might be ready in time for when I have another grandchild – whenever that might be:)


  4. OMGOODNESS it’s sheer perfection, and a heirloom to boot ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is beautiful! I knitted a lacy shawl for my first child – I actually found it the other day when clearing out the last of my stored stuff – a little yellowed but still very pretty. I remembered the hours and hours of work and angst that went in as a young and still relatively inexperienced knitter and it was probably a third of the size of your effort! I think the yarn you chose is a real winner too – it looks like it knitted up so nicely. I’m sure your old friend was thrilled to receive it and here’s hoping it enfolds many new babies down through the years. โค

    Liked by 2 people

    • A shawl is such a special thing to make, I think, and something you can’t buy any more due to the time it takes to make one. It’s good to know that the one you made is still around – a quick clean and onto another generation perhaps?


  6. Bless her and bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful ,wonderful work

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my word! Sheila that is absolutely stunning. You did such an awesome job on it. It is so precious, feminine and fragile! I know the new mom is thrilled with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Just stunning – what an incredibly special item. I’m sure it will be treasured.!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So Beautiful Shelia …and…over a mile and a half of lovely yarn, that’s some knitting ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure it will be treasured through the generations!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow! You have amazing patience! :O

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a stunning shawl! That is a true heirloom for the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Absolutely stunning your friend must be over the moon. You should be very proud of the finished result & the patience you must of had to finish it. I still have a shawl used for my children & a blanket my nan knitted when I was born, things like that are treasured forever๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I am pleased with it and my friend loves it, so it was worth the time and effort. It’s good to hear that you still have the shawls from when you were a baby and your childrens’, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What a gorgeous piece, Sheila. I’m gobsmacked at the hours it took to create it. What an incredible gift. It looks soft and warm, too. What a darling photo of the baby all wrapped up in her new snugly. I would have had a hard time parting with it, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Alys, it took more than twice as long as I thought it would, even though I’m a fast knitter! The feel of a shawl is more important than the way it looks, so the yarn was chosen before the pattern for that reason. I wanted to keep it!


      • Sheila, you are so knowledgeable about these things. I wouldn’t have know that. You seem to create an impressive array of knitting, sewing, crafting along with teaching and caring for young boys. I’m so impressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. That’s just such a beautiful shawl. I agree that another would need to be for your own grandchild though!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It turned out absolutely stunning. An absolute labour of love. I would have a really hard time parting with it. But the little one looks so happy and content all warm and cozy and snuggled in it, it makes up for it over and over. Gorgeous. Well done.
    Indeed, the next one would have to be a keeper!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Joey, I wanted to keep it but am happy that it is treasured by the new parents. The mother still has her shawl from when she was a baby, so I know that this one will become an heirloom, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. That’s nuts! And it’s enormous. No wonder it took all those hours. It must be a relief to see it finished and so well loved.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh my! It’s absolutely beautiful! If I’m to make something like that for if ever I’m a Nan then I should start now and give myself at least 10 years to make it! ๐Ÿ˜

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Truly beautiful. I would be afraid to try and keep a record of how long a job like that would take – but as a commission that is information you need (if only for another occasion should you be asked for another!). Be proud of what you created ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was easy really – just record how long one pattern repeat takes and multiply that by 120!! Seriously though, I was interested for myself to know how long it took, and I included all the facts and figures in with the shawl so that it could be passed down with it. I’m not sure anyone but a knitter would have any idea how much work goes into creating something like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Strewth, what a lot of work! I’m amazed that you managed to give it away- I certainly couldn’t! Not that I’m going to have kids, but still!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. It really is a most beautiful heirloom. I am afraid to say we were given one nearly as lovely when my first child was born and it eventually got oil on it from the pram wheels and it shrank in the wash. Terrible. I feel awful about it.


  22. Breath takingly stunning you clever stick. Truly spectacular


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