Stitch of the Week: Feather and Fan

A few days of warmer weather (followed rapidly by cooler, rainy days) has me in the mood for spring, and for some reason spring knitting means lace to me.

I’m not the kind of girl who’s going to spend months of my life and tons of concentration on an intricate lace shawl, but I do like the look of eyelets and openwork from time to time.

feather and fan knitting patternsIf you’re new to lace knitting or just want to try a stitch that is quick, relatively easy and not too fussy to knit or to wear, check out Feather and Fan, also known as Old Shale.

This pattern uses increases and decreases that are bunched together in the row rather than having an increase right next to its decrease. This causes the edge of the work to ripple in a pretty way (but that rippling means if you’re knitting something like a scarf you need to knit it in halves so that both ends of the scarf match).

I’ve used Feather and Fan in my Feather and Fan stole, which is really just a wide scarf worked in three colors, and on a washcloth.

This is such a popular pattern that just searching for free patterns with a photo on Ravelry you get just over 200 results, so I can’t possibly highlight them all, but here are couple of pretties you might want to check out:

  • I adore this Feather and Fan hat designed by Betty P. Balcomb for Cascade Yarns and their Baby Alpaca Chunky Yarn (scroll down the page to find the PDF download link).
  • Jean Miller’s Feather and Fan cowl, available for free download on Ravelry, is a great one-skein beginning lace project.
  • This short scarf by Kelly Faller is another beauty that would make a great gift. It’s kind of wide as written, but if you know that the stitch pattern is a multiple of 18 stitches, you can make a narrower and thus longer scarf with no problem.
  • Wendy D. Johnson used Feather and Fan to great effect on the leg of a pair of toe-up socks (search for feather and fan socks on this page to find the download link).
  • And then there’s the giant stash-busting Feather and Fan comfort shawl, worked from the tip out as wide as you want it to be. There are some really lovely examples in the pattern’s Flickr group.

Have you ever used Feather and Fan? I’d love to hear how you used it.


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