Wealhtheow Wrap knitting pattern
This rhomboid shawl contains a rectangular center that can be customized to your desired size with each end narrowing to a point. You can wear this as a wrap around your shoulders or as a scarf around your neck. The print version of the pattern contains charts only; however, the electronic version (which is included with purchase) includes the fully written instructions as well.
Round Table Yarns Guenevere (100% superwash Merino, 425 yds/389 m per 100 g); 2 skeins; sample uses colorway Dindrane
or approximately 850 yds/778 m of another fingering weight yarn
US 6 (4.0 mm) 32" (80 cm) circular needle, or size needed to obtain gauge
2 stitch markers
28 stitches and 32 rows over 4" (10 cm) in stockinette, blocked
86" (218.4 cm) on long edge; 31" (78.7 cm) on short edge; 13" (33 cm) wide
The pattern has been professionally printed on 80# cover stock and uses a half-fold binding (created by folding a single sheet that is twice the size of the finished product in half, creating a 4-page publication). The middle pages of the pattern are printed front and back and inserted into the 4-page folded section. The pattern is 6 pages long. The size of the pattern is letter size (8 1/2" x 11").
Electronic PDF Version Included
On the print copy of the pattern, you'll find a sticker with a coupon code. Enter that coupon code on Ravelry and a PDF version of the pattern will be added to your Ravelry library. That way if you ever lose the print copy, the pattern will still be available to you. Also, the electronic version includes written instructions for the sections that are charted. If you just want the electronic version of the pattern, you can purchase it on Ravelry here.
The Story Behind the Pattern Name
In the Old English story of Beowulf, the Danish king Hrothgar’s hall has been terrorized by Grendel, who comes at night to kill Hrothgar’s men. Wealhtheow is Hrothgar’s wife and queen. Although she is not a major character in the poem, her importance is reflected in what goes on behind the scenes and between the lines of the poem.
One of the main themes and occurrences in Old English literature that shows up in this poem is the feud: various groups fight amongst one another, with the fight going on across generations. Often, a fragile peace can be created for a time by a marriage between two feuding clans, and the women who are sent in marriage are referred to as “peaceweavers.” Based upon Wealhtheow’s background, she serves as a peaceweaver between the Danes and her original clan, the Helmings.
Wealhtheow’s name also solidifies this connection as a peaceweaver. Many of the names in Beowulf are kennings, which is like a mini riddle. The kenning is usually made of two words, and the trick is to figure out what it really means. For example, a well-known Old English kenning is the “whale road”—or the sea (the road whales travel upon). Beowulf’s name is a kenning: a bee wolf is a bear. For Wealhtheow, the first part of her name, wealh, is the word for foreigner; the second part of her name, theow, means servant or slave. So Wealhtheow is a foreign servant/slave (slave is not quite the same sense that we think of it today): someone who has come from another land to function as a subservient. (Theow is also used in Beowulf’s father’s name, Edgtheow. Edg means sword, so Edgtheow is a servant to the sword, or a warrior.)
As queen, Wealhtheow’s role is as a hostess, and we see her in this function when she welcomes Beowulf and his men by passing around a cup for them to drink from. Even between two groups of men who are friendly toward one another, Wealhtheow serves as a peaceweaver, joining the two groups in this greeting ritual.
Photos courtesy of Anne Podlesak and pattern layout by Elizabeth Green, both of Stitch Definition.