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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Art Deco Style Shawl Pattern

I'm making a shawl like an early 1930s vintage one that I saw online; and I have no photos to post, so I present this little diagram to show the general conformation of the pattern that I developed for it:

The semi-circular, half-moon shaped body of the shawl with eight spokes is done in a close double-crochet mesh -- chain-1s are made only six times on the second row and once at each of the six V-stitch pattern (1 dc, ch-1, 1 dc) increases on those six central 'spokes'.  An increase is also made at both edges of every row, but without the added ch-1.  The ch-1s in the pattern at the six central increases are what form the pretty shape of the shawl.

After the main body of the shawl is complete, a round of single crochets is made around the entire garment, then a deep ruffle is formed at the lower rounded edge, with three fan-shaped scallops in between each spoke, for a total of 21 scallops, each one comprised of eight rows fanning out and finishing with a more open, lacier seventh row and a final row of dainty picots.

Depending on the gauge, yarns and hook sizes used for the work, this design could be done in either treble or double crochet (my prototype is in double crochet stitch).  Apparently, with a Bulky weight yarn and treble crochets, one would only need to make about 21 rows for the main body of the shawl.  But I wanted a slightly closer mesh, so used double crochet for my wool shawl (size "I" hook, with a light worsted / aran / dk weight mothproof Tapestry yarn).  I'd probably go with a more open mesh for a Summer shawl, and use cotton, silk, or bamboo fibers.

My yarns for this project are Brunswick Needlepoint Tapestry yarn, a hand-dyed 100% virgin wool product made in Pickens, South Carolina; and Bernat Tapestria 100% virgin wool from Uxbridge, Massachusetts.  I don't know whether or not these yarns are still available currently, since I found them in a Thrift shop.

To begin (Row 1):  Chain 3, join to form a circle; then chain 3 and make 8 more dcs in the circle just formed (9 dcs total, counting the beginning ch-3)... turn your work at the end of every row.

Edited Row 2:  Chain 3 (counts as the first dc of the row) * 1 dc in next stitch, ch-1 * repeat across, six times; ending with 1 dc in the next-to-last stitch plus 1 dc in the top of the beginning ch-3 of first row.  (9 dcs total, counting the beginning ch-3).

Now you should have six (ch-1) spaces on that row:  the six central spaces where you will begin forming vertical lines of (dc, ch-1, dc) V-stitch pattern increases.

(You will also work an increase at the beginning and end of every row, by placing 1 dc in between the two 1-dc stitches positioned side-by-side there, and another dc right next to it at the very edge, into the very first and last stitches of each row -- but omitting the ch-1s there, in order to maintain the correctly semi-circular shape.)

NOTE:  For the rest of the main body of the shawl (i.e. not for the scalloped lace edging), you will work the pattern stitches only into the spaces of the previous rows -- not into the stitches as was done in Row 2 (except, as already mentioned above, for the very first and last 1-dcs of each row, which are worked into the very first and last 1-dc stitches of the previous rows).

Row 3:  Chain 3 (always counts as the first dc of every row), 1 dc in first space, * 1 dc, ch-1, 1 dc (increase) in next ch-1 space * repeat six times across that row, ending with 1 dc in between the last two dcs plus 1 dc in the last stitch of the row.  Turn.

(Or alternatively for the last two dcs of every row, you can make them together in the last space of each row -- that's actually how I do it, because it works just as well for shaping and it's a bit faster and easier besides).

Row 4:  Chain 3, 1 dc in first space between stitches of previous row, * 1 dc in next space between stitches of previous row, 1 dc, ch-1, 1 dc (V-stitch pattern increase) in the next ch-1 space of the previous row * repeat six times; end by working 1 dc into each of the next two spaces between stitches of previous row, and then 1 dc into the last stitch of the row.

To complete the main body of the shawl, simply repeat Row 4, making additional 1-dc stitches into the extra spaces between stitches as they naturally form in between the six V-stitch increases of every row.  Most experienced crocheters can understand what I mean, with a little help from the diagram above.

The mesh is formed more closely than most mesh patterns, because you aren't making ch-1s in between every dc (only at the six central spokes, for shaping).  And you aren't working directly into the stitches of the previous rows either, as with typical Filet crochet meshwork (except for the very first and last stitch of every row, of course) -- instead, for this pattern you are working mostly in between the stitches of previous rows.
(This graphic has been edited since first posting; edited 7/26/2013)

My admittedly crude diagram for the first five rows.  The Pink lines indicate proper placement of the ch-1 spaces, otherwise it's all dcs.  I didn't bother trying to show where the ch-3 beginning dcs go, since they're always at the beginning of rows anyway (besides, I'm left-handed so crochet in reverse, and that might be too confusing for everyone concerned).

This pattern produces a fabric that gently ruffles and curves ever-so-slightly toward the front, for a perfectly feminine cape.

I will add instructions later, for the Scalloped Lace ruffle (haven't gotten that far yet, just wanted to get this much down before I forget -- I'm excited about this pattern, because Art Deco fashion style is one of my many creative passions).  I plan to find (or produce myself) some auxiliary information for this project, hopefully with pictures and diagrams for the basic stitch patterns, too.

Until then:  au revoir, mes amis qui aiment faire du crochet :)

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