The weather gods were in our favour. We finally have proper photos of the Mahy shawl. I'll write about the inspiration behind the shawl in the next blog post, but first I wanted to talk yarn. Mahy was knitted using roughly 770 yards of Shetland Organics 1ply.
Gulp, doesn't 1ply mean that this is cobweb, sewing-thread thin and ethereal? Oh, Karie!
In this context it simply means that the yarn consists of a single strand rather than several thinner plies twisted together. The yarn is registered on Ravelry as a cobweb and I find that grossly misleading.
Shetland Organics 1ply is a heavy laceweight. I used the light grey shade which runs 700 yrds per 100 g. The shawl is knitted on 5mm needles which results in a lightweight, yet substantial fabric.
This is not an ethereal, dainty shawl. Mahy is delightfully light on my shoulders, but it is also warm and practical.
The yarn was given to me by Louise Scollay who understands my taste in yarns. In many ways, this yarn is reminiscent of Garthenor 1ply (which I used for my Ronaes) and also of my beloved Snældan 1ply (which I used for Hoxne and Storegga): it is a heavy laceweight which has a lot of body despite appearances, blooms beautifully after blocking, and has a great deal of character whilst you work with it. I recommend both the Garthenor and the Snældan as good substitutes. Any excuse to use Snældan, really..
But what if you don't share my passion for crunchy, rustic and woolly laceweights? Well, here's another photo of Mahy and then we'll talk yarn subs.
Susan Crawford's Fenella 2ply would make a really lovely shawl. The yarn is a smidgen heavier, but it looks beautiful worked up in garter stitch. The colours are all subtle and beautiful - and the yarn is very well-sourced (if you care about such things - I find I increasingly do).
Mahy is a true hap shawl using traditional Shetland techniques - and if you want a traditional feel and also want colour, Jamieson's Ultra is a natural choice. Note that the balls are 25g balls, so you'll need to order accordingly. I find the Ultra slightly more frail during blocking than other similar yarns, so take care.
As for handdyed yarns, why not think outside the box and go for slightly heavier yarns? Dublin Dye Co. Plush Lace runs 600 yrds/100g (you'd need two hanks). MoonlightYarns does an amazing gradient set which would look stunning with Mahy. You can use finer yarns, but make sure to swatch (i.e. simply work up enough of the central triangle!) to check you like the fabric you are getting. You may also want to consider using handdyed sock/4ply/fingering yarn - it would make for a bigger shawl and you'd definitely need to watch your yardage - but I love that idea. Due to the stitch patterns used, Mahy can take a fair amount of colour shifts, actually.
- I used roughly 770 yards of a heavy laceweight (700yrds/100g)
- 1ply does not automatically mean cobweb etherealness!
- Think about yardage/weight if substituting yarn.
- Choose a yarn that looks lovely in garter stitch on 5mm needles.
(One day I shall convert you all to squishy, crunchy, oatmealy, rustic, woolly goodness.)
Mahy will become available as soon as my technical editor gives me the thumbs up. As for now, it's wrapped around my shoulders.