Knitting-designer-genius comes in different guises. Martina Behm's Nissolia shawl, that I'm revealing today, embodies her signature simple but clever approach. Martina is definitely a knitting-designer-genius.
Last Monday I wrote about Lucy Hague's cabling genius – which has an inherent complexity in its beauty – and yet one of the many, many things I love about knitting is how both approaches are just so clever. It means that no matter what knitting mood you are in, there is always a pattern out there to satisfy you.
Nissolia starts with a striped garter stitch centre. The rows lengthen as you work part 1 where simple short-row shaping creates the shawl's shape. There follows part 2, a second striped section where the row length being knitted each time stays the same, and finishes the centre. To complete the shawl, a Leaf Lace edging is then knitted on to the live body stitches.
As is often the case with Martina's beautiful designs, the majority of the knitting is soothing garter stitch, with some simple shaping to keep you interested. It's inherently great knit night or travel knitting, or indeed perfect for slumping on the sofa with after a long day at work (indeed that's my plan for later!).
Once the body of the shawl is complete, then you are ready to dive in to the lace! The main course! And what you came here to work on...
The Leaf Lace edging uses many of the techniques covered in the tutorials in Something New to Learn About Lace. There are yarn overs, lace charts (but also written instructions), and options to try out things like adding a lifeline to your work. Lifelines are a great way to back-up your work, and help you to get back on track if you get in a tangle with your knitting.
There are a number of tutorials in chapter two that cover fixing mistakes in your lace knitting. Hopefully you won't need any of them as you work on Nissolia, but just in case, there are stepwise photo tutorials on picking up missed yarn overs, tinking your stitches and ripping back to a lifeline.
Whilst the knitting of Nissolia is fun and satisfying, and just the right amount of interesting, what makes Martina such a great designer is how beautifully wearable her finished designs are. I have had to work VERY hard not to swipe the sample from the drawer and wear it all the time! I'm absolutely not allowed to wear the design samples, as we need them to be pristine for shows, so there's only one thing for it – I need to cast on my own version. One that I can wear to my heart's content.
If you would like to make your own Nissolia shawl, you'll need a copy of Something New to Learn About Lace (£14.00 plus shipping) and four skeins of Something to Knit With 4ply. The shawl uses three skeins of main colour with one skein of contrast, and we've put together some Nissolia shawl yarn kit colour combinations over in our online shop (£30.00 plus shipping), or of course you can choose your own. Kits come with all the yarn you need and a Something New to Learn project bag.
Are you planning to cast on for Nissolia? Here is the Ravelry pattern page so that you can add it to your queue or favourites:
Nissolia shawl by Martina Behm
We will be releasing video tutorials to accompany some of the techniques showcased in the book over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the blog and our YouTube channel so that you don't miss them. The Something New to Learn About Lace knitalong will run through July and August in our Ravelry group, so choose your pattern (any pattern with lace is fine!) and come and join us.
We will be back on Wednesday with the first of the lace video tutorials, so to be sure of not missing the blog post, why not subscribe to receive it directly in your email inbox? Sign up by clicking the button below, and never miss a post.
All of the images in this post are © Jesse Wild. Many thanks are always due to him for making photo shots so fun.