A long time coming


It only took 2.5 years, but Halligarth is finished!


Pattern: Halligarth, by Gudrun Johnston • Yarn: GBF Hennessy Lace in “Bala Cranberry”

I have loved this shawl since it was published, ordered yarn for it almost immediately, and cast on for it in June 2014. I can’t remember how far I got, but at some point that summer I put it down without any notes, in the middle of a repeat. When I picked it up again in the winter of 2015 (I think), it took me a while to get back in to the groove with the pattern and, after working a couple of repeats, I put it down again.

In the years that this has languished unfinished in my WIP basket, I wished many times that my past self had been more disciplined about buckling down and finishing it. Without being too glitzy, Halligarth is an excellent fancy-occasion shawl, and we have been to weddings and parties where having it as a wrap would have been ideal. But, apparently, not so ideal that I was actually inspired to pull it out again.

Until now. The week after Christmas — the day, in fact, that I cast on for Oda — I decided to see where I was with Halligarth. It turned out I was in a pretty good place. The last time I knit on it, I did myself the service of finishing the repeat, so starting back in was pretty straightforward, and then it turned out that the lace pattern was much, much more intuitive than I had remembered (my skills have improved a lot since I started it, I suppose).


After blocking, it measures about 75 inches across and 35 down the centre spine. 

Halligarth is written for two sizes, and when I hit the point where I would start the edging for the smaller size, I weighed my yarn to see how things were looking. Back in 2014, I decided to knit this in laceweight, and bought a gorgeous skein of BLF laceweight from the then-newly opened Georgian Bay Fibre Co. They no longer sell laceweight, though, so I knew I had no way to get more yarn if I ran out. Still, when I hit the small-size stitch count, I had 51 g left. I wanted a big shawl, and it seemed like I’d have enough to knit the big size, so I added a lifeline and kept going.

I won’t lie, I came close to putting it down again. The last few repeats are looooong. And, in laceweight, it takes a while to really see progress. For a while, I really thought I might never finish (or that my yardage would fall short), but I made it with 7 g to spare.

And you know what, it was totally worth it. I love this shawl. It is incredibly light (less than 100 g), nice and big, and elegant without being too fancy to wear with jeans if I want to. And that colour… The yarn in general is an absolute delight and if it were still available, I would definitely buy more. As it is, I am considering order a sweater’s worth of one of the heavier bases before the shop goes wholesale-only. BFL is such a lovely fibre to work with and wear, and it’s hard to come by.


Anyway. I think it’s hilarious that the first thing I finished this year was started in 2014, but I also think it bodes well. If this is a year about action, what better way to kick it off than by finally finishing the shawl I’ve been wishing was in my closet for years?

16 thoughts on “A long time coming

  1. lawlady1

    Lovely! I’ve hesitated to start laceweight projects that are large, for the reasons you said (particularly the never-ending rows as you get toward the end) – you might have inspired me!

  2. Audry

    Good on you for finishing up this knit. I’ve eyed that pattern as well and it is wonderful to see a finished version. Of course now I’m going to have to go check out Georgian Bay Fiber Co…

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Thank you!

      I love this yarn so much. I’m working on a sweater right now, and my “reward” for sticking to it will be that if, by mid-February, it’s more than half done I can buy a sweater’s worth (or two) of GBF yarn before they go wholesale-only. I already have my colours picked out!

  3. Alison

    It’s beautiful. May I ask a question?! I just can’t get my head around the instructions for increasing versus the chart! You start with two stitches. Then Row 1 you are making a stitch with the loop over and knitting two but when you are doing yarn over into the first stitch, you are removing that stitch and putting it on the right hand needle which leaves one left on the left needle but the chart shows you have to knit two more.
    I feel a complete knitting numpty because I am confused!

    1. Angela Hickman Post author

      Hi Alison!

      My apologies for the delayed reply. I think it’s just the way the pattern is worded: The yarn-over is placing the yarn over the needle, then you knit two (the first one completes the yarn over). Does that make sense? If you imagine the having five stitches on your needle, and the instructions “K3, YO, K2” then it is less confusing to see how it works. You are definitely not a numpty! Starting rows with yarn-overs takes some getting used to 🙂

  4. ecologenna

    Hi there-

    This is beautiful! I am currently working on this project and have been stuck. I finished rows 1-46, and then the pattern says to repeat rows 27-46. I am so confused on how to repeat row 27- two repeats of the row don’t fit perfectly inside “row 47.” i’m so frustrated!

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