Feather and Fan Stitch or Old Shale

This famous old Shetland pattern, with its deep scallops, is probably familiar to every knitter in one or another of its innumerable forms. Because it is so extremely simple, it can be varied in dozens of ways. The number of stitches to a repeat can be greater or smaller; the bands of purl across the pattern can be spaced differently, or placed on another row, or broader, or not there at all; the row count can vary, and so on. It is said that in the Shetland Islands no two families of knitters work the pattern alike. But the basic principle of the pattern row is always the same: half decreases, grouped together, and half increases, likewise grouped together.

Sometimes the pattern is called Shell or Old Shell. It is believed that the name "Old Shale" came from a resemblance to the undulating print of waves upon shale sands.

The uses of Feather and Fan Stitch are many. Its scalloped edge makes a very nice finish for sleeves, necklines, and hems, even when the garment itself is knitted in some other pattern. It makes beautiful baby clothes and dressy skirts. In its home territory, it is often used in the renowned Shetland shawls.

Multiple of 18 sts.

Row 3—* (K2 tog) 3 times, (yo, kl) 6 times, (k2 tog) 3 times;

Repeat Rows 1-4.

Old Shale Stitch
Feather and Fan Stitch, or Old Shale
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