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Needlework Technique of Tessellation: Craft a Tessellating Pinecone Shawl

I first became aware of the tessellation system while doing research on the art of mosaics. Tessellating shapes are repetitions of a motif, fitting together like an interlocking puzzle. The surface has no breaks or spaces between the shapes. The entire face is covered in the design. I have always been a fan of artist M.C. Escher. His most famous drawing, The Stairs, is an infinity loop of steps going up and down, but never going anywhere. Escher also designed tessellations with nature as his muse. Seeking inspiration from ancient times, the motif I chose to tessellate is the pinecone.

Close up views of shawl
Maria Merlino copyright 2014
Tessellating Pinecones Shawl
Maria Merlino Copyright 2014

Known to be a symbol of fertility and regeneration, Egyptologists recognize the pinecone as a symbol for the solar god, Osirus. You have seen pinecone decorated Christmas wreaths every season and the largest pinecone in the world is in Vatican City, at The Court of the Pinecone.

I've framed my pinecones with undulating shell stitches and offset them at each repetition. Your material list is simple enough. I'm using easily available yarn, but the beauty of the tessellating pinecones, is that you may use any yarn or hook. The loveliness is in the stitch.

Stitches

Treble =tr =(yarn over twice around hook , insert hook in indicated st, *yarn over, through 2 loops on hook, rep from* 2 more times. )

Materials: Worsted weight yarn, of your choice. This is the #4 weight in yarn standards,

- 11 ounces in color of choice. I used Bernat Super Value in the color Pale Antique Rose. It comes in 7 ounce skeins.

- Aluminum hook size G/4.25mm

The size is 66 inches wide and 37 1/2 inches in length.

Gauge: As long as the yarn and hook are compatible, you will get a nice design.

Instructions:

Row 1: Ch 5, 2 tr in 5th st from hook, work (ch 2, 3 tr in same st as last tr) twice. Ch 1, turn

Row 2: , Sl st in each of first 3 tr of previous row, a sl st in ch-2 loop, ch 4-counts as first tr, , (2 tr, ch 2 and 3 tr) in same ch loop as last sl st,---beginning shell made, ch 5, work a shell of (3 tr, ch 2 and 3 tr) in next ch-2 loop. Ch 1, turn.

ROW 3: Ch 1, turn, work a shell in first shell as follows: a sl st in each of first 3 tr, a sl st in ch-2 loop, ch 4, (2 tr, ch 2 and 3 tr) in same ch loop as last sl st, ch 3, 6 tr in center ch of next ch-5 loop, ch 3, always working shells in ch-2 loop of shells below, work a shell in next shell.

ROW 4: Ch 1, turn, a shell in first shell, ch 6, skip next ch loop, 1 sc in next tr, work (ch 4 and 1 sc) in each of next 5 tr, ch 6, skip next ch loop, a shell in next shell.

Row 5: Beg shell, ch 6, skip next ch loop, 1 sc in next ch loop,(ch 4, sc)in each of next 4 ch loops, ch 6, a shell in shell. Ch 1, turn.

Row 6: Double Shell row. (shell over shell, ch 2, 3 tr in same shell)---double shell made, ch 6, skip next ch loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 3 ch loops, ch 6, double shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn.

Row 7: Beg shell in first ch-2 loop, ch 5, shell in next ch-2 loops, ch 6, skip next ch loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 2 ch loops, ch 6, skip, skip ch-6 loop, shell in next ch-2 loop, ch 5, shell in next ch-2 loop. Ch 1, turn.

Row 8: Beg shell in first shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of the ch-5 loop, ch 3, shell over shell, ch 6, skip a ch-6 loop. sc in next ch loop, ch 4, sc in next ch loop, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of next ch loop, ch 3, a shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn,

Row 9: Beg shell in first shell, ch 6, skip ch loop, sc in next tr, (ch 4,sc) in ech of next 5 tr, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 6, sc in ch-4loop, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 6, skip ch loop, sc in next tr, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 5 tr, ch 6, shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn.

Row 10: Beg shell in first shell , ch 6, skip a ch loop, 1 sc in next ch loop,
(ch 4, sc) in each of next 4 ch loops, ch 6, shell over shell, skip 2 ch lops, shell over shell, ch 6, skip a ch loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 4 ch loops, ch 6, shell over last shell. Ch1, turn.

Row 11: Double Shell row. Beg shell in first shell, ch 2, 3 tr in same shell ,--double shell made, ch 6, skip next ch loop, sc in next ch loop,(ch 4, sc)in 3 ch loops, ch 6, a shell in each of next 2 shells; continue to work in pattern st across row, end with ch 6, ending with a double shell in last shell. Ch1, turn.

Row 12: Beg shell in first ch-2 loop, *ch 5, shell in next ch-2 loops, loop, ch 6, skip next ch loop, sc in next ch loop,(ch 4, sc) in each of next 2 ch loops, ch 6, shell over shell; repeat from.* once (or across row), end with ch 5, a shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn.

13TH ROW: This row is the same as the 8th row but you will continue to work in pattern st across row. Beg shell in first ch-2 loop, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of ch-5 loop, ch 3, shell over shell, ch 6, skip a ch-6 loop. sc in next ch-4 loop, ch 4, sc in next ch loop, ch 6, a shell in next shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of next ch loop, ch 3,---continue in this pattern across ending with a a shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn.

Row 14: Beg shell in first shell, ch 6, skip ch-3 loop, sc in next tr, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 5 tr, *ch 6, a shell in shell, ch 6, sc in ch-4 loop, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 6, skip ch loop, sc in next tr, ( ch 4, sc) in each of next 5 tr, ch 6, Rep from * across, shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn

Row 15: Beg shell over first shell, *ch 6, skip a ch-6 loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 4, sc) in each of next 4 ch loops, ch 6, shell over shell, skip the 2 ch-6 loops, shell over shell, ch 6, Rep from * across, ending with shell over last shell. Ch 1, turn

Row 16: [This is a double shell row] Beg double shell in first shell, *ch 6, skip next ch-6 loop, sc in next ch loop,(ch 4, sc)in each of next 3 ch loops, ch 6, a shell in each of next 2 shells. Rep from * across; ending with a ch 6, double shell in last shell. Ch 1, turn.

Row17: Beg shell in first ch-2 loop, ch 5, a shell in next ch-2 loop, *ch 6, skip next ch-6 loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 4, sc )in ech of next 2 ch loops, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 5, shell over shell, repeat from * across row, ending with ch 6, shell in first ch-2 loop, ch 5, shell in last ch-2 loop. Ch 1, turn.

Row 18: Beg shell over shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of ch-5 loop, ch 3, shell over shell, *ch 6, sc in next ch loop, ch 4, sc in next ch loop, ch 6, shell over shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of next ch loop, shell over shell, Rep from *across, ending with ch 6, shell over shell, ch 3, 6 tr in center st of ch-5 loop, ch 3, shell over last shell. You will have 3 pineapples made and four 6-tr pinecone bases.

19-23 rep rows 14-18 At the end of row 23, you will have four pinecones and five 6-tr bases.

Continue in this manner repeating rows 14-18 until you get the number of pineapples across that you want. I made 7 pineapples and stopped at row 38

Next 2 rows: Rep row 14 an 15

For me these two rows were 39 and 40, but you may have more or less rows depending on your yarn and gauge.

Edging:

Next row: Beg shell over shell, *ch 3, skip next ch-6 loop, sc in next ch loop, (ch 3 and sc) in each of next 3 ch-loops, ch 3, shell over each of next 2 shells. Rep from * across ending with a ch 3, shell over last shell. This row evens out the edge.

Last row: This row is all shells and no chs. Shell over shell, skip, ch-3 , *shell in first ch-3 of pineapple, skip next ch-3 of pineapple, shell in last ch-3 of pineapple, shell in each of next 2 shells, rep from * across ending with a shell in last shell. NOTE: This is how I complete my last shell: (3 dc, ch 2, 2 dc, ch 3, sl st in same sp). I like this ending better because the yarn tail can be woven in a lot easier when it is below the shell.

Fasten off. Weave in yarn all yarn tails.