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Gawain's Shield: a shawl collection

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The six knitting projects in this collection are based on the enchanting medieval story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Five stunning crescent-shaped shawls represent the five knightly virtues symbolized on Gawain's shield, with an additional sixth project based upon the magical belt that replaces Gawain's shield later in the story. Included along with the patterns is a summary of the text as well as a discussion of the role of Gawain's shield and the Green Girdle in both the story itself as well as in the patterns.


Generosity covers more than just giving money, and in many ways it can be thought of as giving a helping hand. The lace border resembles fingers, providing that helping hand on this shawl.


Because fellowship refers to how knights interact with one another, I chose this yarn for the name: Lancelot is a knight whose fellowship is well-known. Also, the worsted weight yarn gives this shawl more solidity, as does the wider border, which emphasizes the positive relationship between knights.


Although chastity did not mean knights could not have sex at all, Galahad was the embodiment of chastity and was one of the only truly pure knights (and thus one of the very few able to achieve the quest of the Holy Grail).


Courtesy was the way knights treated other people, trying not to be offensive or do harm. Of all of these five virtues, it was perhaps the most important, which is why the Camelot yarn base, the seat of Arthur’s court, was chosen for this shawl. The spiral-like design on the border is also reflective of the knot Gawain gets himself into by trying so hard not to be discourteous to Lady Bertilak that he ultimately breaks his word to his host.


Piety involves a knight’s religious ideals, and Avalon—although often seen as a pagan place—can also represent the religious Christianity of knighthood. Indeed, a small church once stood on Glastonbury Tor, thought to be the location of Avalon. The stitch pattern on the border is fairly simple and not flashy, allowing the beauty of the merino/silk yarn to be the star of this shawl.

Green Girdle

Although we think of a girdle as something else today, the girdle described in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight would have been worn as a belt. This pattern uses the i-cord technique and a simple cable stitch to create a narrow, textured belt.

Electronic Version

Your purchase of the print copy of this book includes a coupon code so you can add the electronic version of the book to your Ravelry library. That way if you ever lose the print copy, the pattern will still be available to you. If you just want the electronic version of the pattern, you can purchase it on Ravelry here.

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