Sunday, 26 July 2020

Hinnywaar Shawl and Grafting


I have been knitting the Hinnywaar Shawl, a pattern by Hazel Laurenson from Unst Heritage Centre. I bought this from the Heritage Centre  in 2018 I think. I knitted it in Jamieson and Smith Cobweb yarn using 2.5mm needles. I used 2 balls. I knitted it using a knitting belt. Blocked size is 155cm x 30 cm Mass is 43g (1.5oz). The pattern suggests Jamieson and Smith Shetland  Supreme but I used that for my last shawl and fancied a change. (Also I had this yarn already.) 


I have enjoyed knitting it a lot, especially as it reminds me of Unst and knitting and spinning with the ladies there, many of whom I have seen each year we have visited. 



I very much like how the corners ‘work’ 



It is constructed by knitting the bottom lace, picking up the stitches turning the two corners and then knitting up to the end of the first border. Each row has a different lace edging row ! This is left on a needle and then the above is repeated and the centre worked.  Then the two pieces are grafted. 


As I came towards the end thoughts turned to grafting. The middle section would be grated in garter stitch and other than doing a trial run to check I could still make a good job of this, that seemed fine. But grafting each edging was a different matter. There was the edging lace on each side and also lace faggoting with interlocking stitches. The  grafting I knew would not make these merge seamlessly and so would not be invisible. 

The graft is to go at the equivalent horizontal narrowest part of the lace shown in this image. 


The pattern just said join by grafting. 

Grafting was on my mind last Sept and I made a particular point of looking for grafting  wherever it was. I then studied the grafting of all the pieces of lace I saw during Shetland Wool Week. But the shawl I was knitting was at an early stage then and so I hadn’t really thought about grafting that. I was more interested then in the relative advantages and disadvantages of grafting mitred shawl edgings by knitting up or sewing and had discussions about this sort of grafting. 

I have become increasingly aware, having now completed the knitting of the Hinnywaar  Shawl of grafting across oblong shawls. It is good to see this in completed shawls in my different online lace knitting groups and also interesting to hear people say they are unhappy with their grafting or show their fine handiwork without the grafting showing. Clearly I am not the only fine lace knitter who would like to confidently graft a shawl that didn’t have the edging ‘interrupted ‘ by grafting and hence in my mind ‘draw my eye to it’. 

I have spent many hours/ days on this now trying to get my head round grafting this. (I am in the middle of a study of this and will post more about it as I continue to learn A LOT more! ) I changed where I ended the two pieces of the Hinnywaar Shawl and then realised as I adjusted the shawl to get the garter stitch correct for the grafting, the two edge pieces ended differently and hence I was on my own in unknown territory. 


So being a practical person I knitted two samples in similar yarn and set about doing my best with a different colour yarn to see what the grafting  looked like. I changed to the same colour for the garter stitch and then did the left hand edge in this yarn too. 

Right edge in contrasting yarn 




Left edge in identical yarn to knitting, improving 



I learnt a lot from this and worked out what I would do to work for me with this. As I learned more about grafting I realised I could have altered the pattern slightly before I started knitting any of it! (1)


I got the shawl ready for blocking and am really pleased with the whole shawl. Can you spot where I grafted it in the photo of me wearing it?I am pleased with  what I did but I know that this is not absolutely perfect. To me the join does not shout out however. 

Being very brave here and posting a close up of the actual graft




Still not perfect, but I know what the problem is with grafting the faggoting.


So I have achieved my aim but as this took me a whole day with a large magnifying lens in a stand and my strong reading glasses I cannot say I look forward to doing it again. I know it was my best effort but it is not perfect. It cannot be what other fine lace shawl knitters do! 

After I had done this I had another thought, and am surprised it didn’t occur to me before. I would look in ‘A Legacy of Shetland Lace’ by  Shetland Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. It is a wonderful book from real experts in the field. I hope you have the book to see the variety of grafting and  non grafting methods used in those shawls. Non of them has told me exactly what I wanted to know however. 


I am still on my grafting journey, learning more each day and will post more when my brain had processed it.  I just need to find a few hours to sit down and get  to the right stage in another knitted trial and do the grafting again. I will then do another more technical post. 


What are your thoughts and experiences of this type of grafting ? 


  1. I do a lot of knitting and sewing  and my advice to myself is: ‘know how you are going to finish an item before you start’....why did I not follow that advice here! 


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