Alderaan Shawl

It's here, the final installment of the TanisKnits Star Wars trilogy of patterns, the Alderaan Shawl! shawl1 copy

I've really enjoyed coming up with ideas, stitch patterns and colors that remind me of my favorite original film trilogy - Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and the Return of the Jedi. Star Wars is a universally loved series and when I was a kid living in a town where I felt like I didn't quite fit in, I could let my imagination take me to a place far, far away where being different was cool. I never imagined being a princess or a droid - in my mind I was always a Jedi, fighting for the good side, waving a lightsaber and hurtling through the galaxies at warp speed.

This final pattern is my favorite of the three. A lace shawl knit in a stunning blue as gorgeous as the night sky, what I like most about it is the shimmering silver beads tucked into the lace meant to mimic the stars.

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Starting with the lace border, it's knit back and forth with lace on both sides and the beads added as you go. Knitting with beads is easier than you think! Never pre-string your beads... This can cause trouble later on if you happen upon a knot in your yarn. It can also stretch out your yarn with the constant pushing down of the beads on the strand of yarn and before you know it, you may have completed changed your yarn weight from a DK to a sport completely by accident! I've included helpful links in the pattern for adding beads as you go with a small crochet hook. This method is significantly faster than pre-stringing, it's easy and it's kinder to your yarn. Once the border is complete, stitches along the straight edge are picked up and worked back and forth across using German Short Rows to create the body of the shawl.

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Knitting this shawl reminded me of many of my favorite "star moments." When I was a kid, we'd drive out to the field on Pine Street and watch the meteor showers or stars, seeing neighbors and friends - often in our pajamas. Sometimes my mom and I would drive up to New Hampshire after school on a Friday when the sky was already dark at 5pm. We'd see more and more stars the further north we drove, away from Boston. Once we even saw hints of the Northern Lights! Sometimes we'd bundle ourselves up and walk down the road in the middle of the night, staring up at the amazing display above, needing no words, just company in the dark. I spent a lot of time on the docks at Squam, late at night when everyone else was asleep, staring at the stars, the likes of which I'd never seen because I've been living in a city for so long. A lot of wonderful memories of mine take place in the dark, looking up at the sky and this shawl brought all of them to mind. I never wanted to be an astronaut, but the stars have long been a fascination of mine.

Worked on US 7 needles in the glorious Dream in Color Everlasting DK in the aptly named Nebula, this shawl takes just 3 skeins and is a hand dyed superwash Australian merino wool. I used sparkly silver beads, but you can choose a different color or opt out of the beads entirely. I've used this yarn before to knit my son a sweater and I love the crisp feel of it. Dream in Color has some of the most beautiful color ways and I've always been a fan!

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Named for the planet Princess Leia was raised on after being adopted by Senator Bail and Queen Breha Organa after her mother died giving birth to her and her twin brother Luke Skywalker, I liked the idea that Alderaan was a peaceful planet - a planet with no weapons. Renowned galaxy-wide for their planet's unspoiled beauty, refined culture, and commitment to peace, Alderaanians worked with and around the land to preserve as much of the natural surroundings as they could. Sounds like a pretty great place, no?

Download the Alderaan Shawl here, and be sure to check out the other two patterns of this trilogy if you missed them, the Nerfherder Cowl and The Force Cowl.

May the Force be with you, always.