>BACKSTORY: Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl

>This is the design from which sprang the concept for the book Amazing Crochet Lace. Although I had been making exploded crochet thingies for a while, I couldn’t just steal a published doily design, bump up the gauge and call it my own round shawl. No-no. So I borrowed bits of doilies that worked particularly well and cobbled them together for the Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl, shown on the cover of Amazing Crochet Lace. For yourself you can experiment with exploding any doily patterns you like.

The center part worked best in a super-open mesh stitch. This creates less fabric and bulk around the neck, where the shawl is folded and likely to bunch up when worn. The middle leaves, emanating like spokes from the open mesh center, have enough of a solid outline to offer contrast; something on which the eye can focus and the brain can interpret as petals. The groups of clusters and the last round of single crochet combine for a pretty finish. In addition, those heavier stitches give the outside edge some weight and contribute to the general swingy-ness of the shawl.

I am showing you the prototype, crocheted in stuff I had languishing in the stash: white acrylic baby yarn present in a great enough quantity. The same cannot be said of much of my eclectic yarn collection (a little bit of everything, a great deal of none). No matter how loosely I worked, the fiber was so resilient and “bouncy” that the blocked shawl kept snapping back. I could not get the piece to un-ruffle and hold the intended size without killing the acrylic. As is, it would have worked well enough as a frilly shoulderette at 36” diameter, but I wanted something less girly that covered more than one shoulder without having to CRUSH and BURN!


Enter Classic Elite Premier. I LOVE this stuff. Honestly, this Pima Cotton/Tencel blend is so softly spun that it does shred after some normal wear and abuse. But that’s the trade off for this stunningly beautiful sheen, drape and silky hand. I promise your project will hold up long enough to elicit plenty of oooos and aaaahs.

Made in a yarn that would not only hold shape at the exploded gauge, but also thrive there, the design sample took shape. I was very pleased that it was chosen for the book cover. So many crocheters are drawn to this design, as fascinated as I am by the interplay of stitches and open space, and consequently so many Chrysanthemum Tea Shawls are showing up on bodies and in displays. It’s gotten so I can spot one coming from across a crowded room and it’s always a delightful surprise to see what yarns and colors are being used.

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5 thoughts on “>BACKSTORY: Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl

  1. >i love your site! and i have to say that i really appreciate this post. it’s so cool to see the same item made in a good draping yarn and a bad draping yarn. helps me understand the whole drape thing better. :o)

  2. >I just finished my shawl and I agree about the Premier yarn. It’s lovely! I used a soft lavender shade and it’s gorgeous. I just love your patterns!

  3. >Hi Doris,I – like so many others – was drawn to Amazing Crochet Lace thanks to the Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl 🙂 I have recently completed my own version which is slightly modified here.I look forward to trying out many more patterns in the book (and whatever else you may publish).– Michelle

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