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Elegance when matching the right pattern with the right yarn

by Cindy O'Malley

This week, I’m knitting with Universal Yarn Penna which is a feathery light blend of baby suri alpaca, fine merino wool, and nylon that exudes a lovely halo.

Yesterday, I made a raspberry beret that combined Penna with Wool Pop and topped it off with a raspberry shank button. It’s just one example of the limitless possibilities that can be achieved by combining two different yarns together.

Today, I’m going back to single strand knitting by making an elegant stole. I originally planned on making a lace shawl but learned from the swatch on Day 2 this week, that the feathery halo of Penna muted the stitch detail. You can have a beautiful pattern, and beautiful yarn, but if they just don’t work together, you end up with something less than beautiful. Both yarn and time is expensive; and we don’t want to waste either one. I decided that the lace pattern needed to be simple so I went back to basics. What’s more basic than a feather and fan motif, and when you think about the yarn translation, nothing could be more appropriate.

My color choice for this project is Bordeaux, and since one of my favorite beverages is wine, I was smitten.

 Penna in Bordeaux will be used to make an elegant feather and fan stole.

Bordeaux is my color choice for this project.

Feather and fan is an easy pattern to knit, but also easy to adjust in size. You can make it bigger or smaller by adding or subtracting multiples of 12 stitches. What surprised me when knitting this project (actually, all 3 projects) is how far a single ball went. If you recall from Day 1, a 25g ball of Penna contains 186 yds [170m]. It doesn’t seem like a lot, yet it is. By using larger needles and creating an open and airy fabric, the yarn extends beyond that of “gauge knitting”.

For this project, I used:




  • US 8 [5mm] knitting needles
  • tapestry needle to sew in ends

finished measurements: 16 ½” x 62” after blocking


K knit

K2tog knit two stitches together

P purl

Sl slip

St(s) stitch or stitches

Yo yarn over

Feather and Fan Stole

Cast on 78 sts.

Row 1 – 5: Sl1, knit to end of row.

Row 6: Sl1, purl to last 3 sts, k3.

The Pattern

Row 1: Sl1, k2, k2tog 3 times, *(yo, k1) 6 times, k2tog 6 times, repeat from * twice more, (yo, k1) 6 times, k2tog 3 times, k3.

Row 2: Sl1, k2, Purl to last sts, k3.

Row 3: Sl1, k to end of row.

Row 4: Sl1, k2, p to last sts, k3.

Work rows 1 – 4 until work measures 59½” or desired length, ending with either row 1 or 3.

With wrong side facing, work 4 knit rows remembering to slip the first stitch on every row.

Cast off.

The Penna feather and fan stole needs to be blocked to open up the lace.

Lace knitting doesn’t reveal its true beauty until blocked.

When knitting a lace motif, blocking is an important element in finishing your project. Lace work doesn’t reveal its true beauty until blocked, and sometimes this requires “hard blocking”. Hard blocking means to use blocking wires, (if you have them) and pins to hold the fabric open while drying.

Blocking wires and pins are used to hold the lace open while drying on blocking mats.

Hard blocking requires wires and pins to hold the fabric open while drying.

The fabric must be soaked, not just sprayed with water. After soaking in a non-rinse solution, Soak or Eucalan, I roll it in a towel and squeeze out as much water as I can. Then spread it out on blocking mats, and insert blocking wires down each side, and pins to hold everything in place. Blocking mats can be purchased from your local yarn store, but mine came from a garage sale. These are children’s play mats, but they’re the same thing. It’s a dense foam mat that you can piece together for size, and insert pins as needed. It only took a couple of hours to dry given the lightness of the fabric, and the fact that the furnace is running now, but I left it for a day before unpinning. The result is beautiful.

The simplicity of the feather and fan motif highlights the rich feathery halo of Penna.

Completed stole made with Penna in Bordeaux. The rich feathery halo highlights the feather and fan motif.

I had intended to embellish it with beads while knitting, but the beads that I had were not the right color. I purchased clear beads with a silver interior with the intention of sewing them on later and thought to myself – perfect; wine in a crystal glass. Sewing them on later turned out to be a pain, so I went without. Next time, I’ll get the right beads in advance and knit them into it as I go. However, I’m quite pleased with the result.

The feather and fan motif is perfect for Penna. The feathery soft halo of the yarn doesn’t fight with the pattern. They compliment each other very nicely. This is a beautiful yarn and a beautiful pattern, and the results are beautiful. I see myself getting all dressed up for New Year’s Eve, wearing my Bordeaux stole, and sipping a glass of wine while watching the 2020 countdown from the comfort of my living room sofa!

The ensemble for the week features an elegant Feather and Fan stole, the feathery light Plume cowl, and a Raspberry Beret that combines Penna with Wool Pop.

The ensemble for the week features an elegant Feather and Fan stole, the feathery light Plume cowl, and a Raspberry Beret that combines Penna with Wool Pop.

I hope this week’s posts have inspired ideas on using lace weight yarns, either singly, doubled up, or in combination with other yarns. It has mine. I have quite a stash of lace weight yarn, and now I can’t wait to get started on another project that can make good use of them – not just good – beautiful use of them.

I’ve really enjoyed working with Universal Yarn Penna this week. It’s opened up possibilities for me and I love the results that I achieved with both Penna and Wool Pop.

Christmas will be very different this year. The family won’t be crowded around the dinner table, but we still want to keep the spirit afloat. I hope you all have a safe and Merry Christmas, and let’s hope for better things to come in the New Year.

Stay safe, be healthy, and carry on knitting!

This is part 5 of 5 in this series

Go back to part 4: Combining Penna with another yarn makes for endless possibilities


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