Craigh na Dun
“Some say the hill is enchanted, others say it is cursed. Both are right.”
- Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
Like countless others, I fell in love with Jamie and Claire when I started reading the Outlander series and watching the TV version a few years ago. I mean, let’s be real here; how could anyone resist James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser?
So, a few years ago, when I saw Lorna’s Laces had a special Outlander-themed colorway of yarn, I snatched it up immediately. It is a stunning, highly variegated colorway that made me think of misty stone circles and forget-me-nots – fitting for a yarn named Craigh na Dun, the ancient stone circle in Scotland that initiates the Outlander storyline. After staring at my two lovely skeins for about three years (I’m not kidding), I finally hit on an idea that would let me weave both the Outlander storyline and the beauty of the yarn itself into a new design.
The tale focuses around Claire Beacham Randall crossing through the mystical stone circle at Craigh na Dun into the past. In the design, Claire’s journey through the stones is expressed by the Indian cross stitch used in the border. These elongated stitches not only let the variegated yarn shine but also call to mind the enchantment (or curse, as some would have it) of Craigh na Dun. To further show off the highly variegated colorway and to call to mind the rugged splendor of Scotland, I decided on simple garter stitch with an i-cord border for the body of the shawl. This design is also reversible to represent the duality of Claire’s two lives – one in the 1700s and one in the 1900s.
While knitting up this shawl, I came across another incredibly lovely Outlander-themed skein from Honey Girl Farms at a yarn convention. I had an immediate desire to cast on another iteration of this design with this new yarn – but I only had one skein. The beauty of the Honey Girl Farms yarn convinced me that this shawl design should be scalable for any amount of yardage. So, as you read through this pattern, you will see notes on how to modify this design to fit the yardage you have on hand.
Do you have an enchanting (and/or cursed) skein or two of variegated yarn in your stash that you just can’t seem to find a pattern for? Give this simple shawl design a try. The stitch repeat is easy to memorize and knit up – making this design a perfect companion for an Outlander reading or watching session! Even better, your finished work will always remind you of the magic of a good story.
Yarn Used in Samples:
Shawlette: Honey Girl Farms Silky Baby (Fingering; 70% alpaca, 30% bombyx silk; 437 yd 400 m per 100 g skein), Brianna MacKenzie; 1 skein
Shawl: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (Fingering; 80% wool, 20% nylon; 435 yd 398 m per 100 g skein), Craigh na Dun; 2 skeins
US 4 / 3.5 mm needles for working flat – straight or short circular as you prefer, or needle size needed to obtain gauge
Yarn scale, 2 stitch markers, yarn needle
Yardage Estimates from Sample:
Shawlette: 435 yd (398 m), 99 g
Shawl: 861 yd (787 m), 198 g
Shawlette: L: 63.5” (161 cm); W: 9” (23 cm)
Shawl: L: 87” (221 cm); W: 12” (30 cm)
This pattern has been tech edited and test knit.