Is this one of the most beautiful shawls you’ve ever seen or no? I feel like the answer must be yes because just look at this!
So I have gushed about this pattern before, first in real time on my Instagram while I was knitting it. Then later when I started knitting the second one, which I think that alone shows how amazing this pattern is, that I knit it twice, and then I talked about it again and again in a couple of my knitting podcasts since I finished the second one.
Designed by Soohyun Nam, it’s called Heloise, named after a 12th century French scholar slash philosopher slash nun – what – to, in Soo’s words, celebrates the life of a bold and free minded woman ahead of her time.
Ok so the pattern. It’s a semi circular shawl, and in the description in the pattern itself, it’s described as a ‘skill builder’ and a ‘gentle introduction to slipped stitches’ and let me tell you, this pattern is magic. I’ve been knitting for a long time and I’ve done all kinds of different things, but this pattern, this pattern makes it look like I am knitting something far more complicated than I actually am.
I mean you see the finished product, so clearly I am capable of knitting all of this because I did – twice remember – one of my teenage daughters loved this one so much she was ‘borrowing’ it a little too frequently so I cast on one for her to have as her own. So yeah I knit it, but to me anyway, it looks like a lot of these stitches are far more difficult to do than they were in reality.
As for skill level, I think Soo says it’s for the adventurous beginner, so it’s not like it’s so simple you could just pick it up as a first project – however, the attention to detail she’s given in choosing each of these stitches and the way they all work together is really an achievement in helping you, as the knitter, have a completed project you can feel really good about showing off.
There are some tricky stitches here, I’m not going to gloss over that, there were some stitches that I had to watch and rewatch videos for to make sure I was doing them right, but the really neat thing about it, and maybe where the concept of this pattern being a ‘skill builder’ came from is that once you get the hang of the stitch at the beginning of the row, that’s all you’re doing for the whole row. So you do the first few stitches of every row really gently and slowly to make sure you’re doing it exactly right, and then you get into a groove and you’re doing this stitch and after doing it literally 100 times, it’s actually really fun and engaging and before you know it you’re at the end of the row.
All the colorwork here is produced with slipped stitches so you’re never actually knitting with two colours, you’re not catching floats because there’s no stranded colourwork. So you’re just knitting with a single colour the entire time and because of the slipped stitches you end up with both colours on some rows and there are times when you’re working with stitches from different rows – it’s so neat. Really a skill builder.
And the lace!
The lace is beautiful and on my second Heloise, I added an extra lace section and I love the look of that too. Stitch markers are your friend in this section! I would not even try to do this section without placing a marker before every repeat. With the stitch markers, it’s not an issue, so just use them.
It always amazes me how yarn overs are so simple and so transformative at the same time and this section is such a perfect finish to this shawl.
This little part right here is my favourite, I love the way it looks but especially that it’s one of those things that happens over the course of more than one row so you see it coming together based off other stitches. The first time I made this, and I saw some of this come together it was magic.